This report argues that climate change is likely making drought worse in the southeast and southwest of Australia, which are some of our most populous regions.
Drought has deeply affected Australia throughout its history. The Millennium Drought from 1996-2010 serves as a recent reminder of the wide-reaching impacts that drought can have on Australia’s people and environment.
Australia is the driest inhabited continent on Earth and drought is an important feature of Australia’s climate. Whilst Australians have always lived with drought and its consequences, it is likely that climate change is making drought worse in the southeast and southwest, some of our most populous regions.
We begin this report by describing what a drought is, before considering its consequences for health, the economy, ecosystems and urban water supplies. We then outline the changing drought conditions and increasing drying trends in Australia and explore recent dry conditions in various parts of the country. We conclude by exploring how climate change is influencing drought conditions in the southeast and southwest of the continent as well as drying trends globally.