Australian National University

    REPORT CARD ON THE HEALTH OF AUSTRALIA’S ENVIRONMENT: “Last year was neither an outlier nor the ‘new normal’ – it will get worse,” says Albert Van Dijk, Professor of Water and Landscape Dynamics, Australian National University

    “From the long list of environmental indicators we report on, we use seven to calculate an Environmental Condition Score (ECS) for each region, as well as nationally. These seven indicators – high temperatures, river flows, wetlands, soil health, vegetation condition, growth conditions and tree cover – are chosen because they allow a comparison against previous years. In Australia’s dry environment, they tend to move up and down together, which gives the score more robustness,” stated Albert Van Dijk.

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    WHAT WE CAN LEARN FROM SEA LEVELS 125,000 YEARS IN THE PAST: “Our research reveals that ice melt in the last interglacial period caused global seas to rise about 10 metres above the present level. The ice melted first in Antarctica, then a few thousand years later in Greenland,” stated Dr. Fiona Hibbert, Australian National University

    “What is striking about the last interglacial record is how high and quickly sea level rose above present levels. Temperatures during the last interglacial were similar to those projected for the near future, which means melting polar ice sheets will likely affect future sea levels far more dramatically than anticipated to date,” stated Fiona Hibbert. “This means that if climate change continues unabated, Earth’s past dramatic sea level rise could be a small taste of what’s to come.”

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