Protect our climate & air
Great Barrier Reef declared World Heritage Area
Air is essential for life. It stores, transports and provides oxygen and other gases. It also removes, dilutes, transforms and deposits dust and chemicals from natural and human sources.
Climate is the atmospheric processes that provide a range and pattern of temperature and rainfall that enable people and ecosystems to exist. The evolution of ecosystems, and landforms, reflects the region’s historical and current climate. Similarly, the location and lifestyle of our communities, and the nature of business enterprises, are strongly influenced by climate. Climate is also an intrinsic component of cultural values and practices, and ‘sense of place’.
The Climate and air fact sheet gives an overview of the current state and trends of this regional asset.
Mapping the key values and identifying areas that are at risk is an important tool for managing these assets effectively. The mapping tool below allows stakeholders to access specific data that can be used as a basis for sound decision making. If you are using an iPad or iPhone to access the CQSS:2030 website, please click on the mapping application button below to access it.
For more complete and detailed geographical data, or if you are using an iPad or iPhone, please visit the detailed map application by clicking the link below. You will be taken from the CQSS:2030 website to a powerful mapping application that draws on a richer data set.
In central Queensland
Central Queensland has a tropical to subtropical climate; sub-humid on the coast and semi-arid inland. Highly variable rainfall is a characteristic of the region. Average annual rainfall ranges from 1,000 mm on the coastal ranges to less than 700 mm in the west. There are two seasons: a hot, wet summer period from November to April; and a drier, cooler winter period from May to October. Prolonged periods of drought and flood events are features of the regional climate.
Air quality across the region is generally good, but can be affected by natural events such as dust storms or fires, as well as dust and emissions from industrial activities and mining. A range of air quality parameters are monitored and reported for Gladstone. Mining and industrial operations also undertake air quality monitoring.
Greenhouse gas emissions and land use changes have released greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. These create an enhanced ‘greenhouse effect’ where the Earth’s atmosphere traps energy from the sun and the temperature rises. Increased temperatures have complex flow-on effects on climate – through changes to climate patterns, rainfall, extreme weather events, sea level rise and sea water composition. Average temperature has increased 0.5˚C since 1911 and the sea level has been rising 3 mm per year over the past 20 years.
CSIRO and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology have modelled climate change scenarios to provide updated regional projections. Multiple models have been used to simulate climate responses to different emissions scenarios. The results below are for the East Coast Natural Resource Management Region, which extends from Fitzroy South to Sydney. For more information on climate change projections and modelling, please see the Climate Change in Australia website.
CQ climate projections at a glance:
Average temperature 0.4 to 1.3˚C hotter
Heavy rain events will be more intense
Extreme sea levels will be more frequent
Little change in solar radiation
Hot days will be hotter
Rainfall will change
Evaporation rates will increase
Sea levels will rise by 10 to 20 cm
Fewer but more intense cyclones
Fewer frosty days
Humidity will decrease
Soil moisture will decrease
Changes in run-off
Less wind in winter
Source: Climate Change in Australia website, CSIRO and Australian Bureau of Meteorology.
Hourly air quality monitoring in Gladstone and other sites is reported online by the Queensland Government
The Gladstone Industry Leadership Group has been formed by five companies to address areas of community concern.
The IPCC is a body established to provide independent scientific assessments of climate change and its impacts. The IPPC’s fifth assessment reports are available online.
CSIRO and BOM have been updating regional scale climate change projections, and other research projects have been looking at the potential impacts of these.
The Queensland Herbarium has developed a mapping tool and information products that support the estimation of carbon sequestration potential and biodiversity benefits of tree plantings.
GBRMPA have also released a Climate Change Action Plan for the reef.