Hot Christmas Day predicted as long range forecasts point to major climate changes

LOOKING AHEAD: The long-range weather predictions for Orange have revealed the city will be hotter all year round. Photo: NATHAN SIMPSON
LOOKING AHEAD: The long-range weather predictions for Orange have revealed the city will be hotter all year round. Photo: NATHAN SIMPSON

A warm and cloudy Christmas Day with the temperature reaching 28 degrees has been forecast for Orange, as longer range forecasts point to major changes in the weather.

Online weather forecaster accuweather.com.au has predicted another dry month for Orange in December with a week of sunny days leading up to Christmas.

The forecast comes as long range predictions, up to 2039, suggest Orange will have up to 20 less freezing cold nights every year, an increase in maximum temperatures of up to one degree on average, and an increase in minimum temperatures of about 0.5 degrees.

The projections by the joint-government NSW and ACT Regional Climate Modelling project [NARCLIM] appear on the ADAPT NSW website.

Projected changes for the Central West and Orana areas, including Orange, also point to far more rain in autumn and far less in spring.

“Cold nights are projected to decrease across the region by an average of eight nights per year by 2030,” it found.

OUR CRAZY YEAR OF WEATHER

THE WARM AND DRY PATTERN OF 2017:

  • 413 millimetres rainfall this year
  • 1150.2 mm same period last year
  • Wettest day this year March 22, 41.6 mm

“The greatest decreases are seen around Orange and Bathurst which are projected to experience 10-20 fewer cold nights per year.

“Changes in cold nights

  • Hottest day this year February 11, 40.1 degrees
  • Coldest minimum this year July 1, minus 7.0 degrees
  • November rainfall so far, 7 mm
  • Average November rainfall, 83.7 mm
  • Driest November on record, 2012, 16.6 mm.

can have considerable impacts of native ecosystems and agricultural crops reliant on cold winters.”

The study found the situation would increase even further long term with 20-30 fewer cold nights on average by 2060-79.

Less spring rain is set to become the norm in Orange the further this century goes on.

“Spring is projecting a decrease across the region with the greatest decreases near Orange.”

The report has also predicted higher fire dangers.

“Severe fire weather is projected to increase across the region by 2030 during summer and spring,” it said.