In Australia and across the globe, the impacts of climate change are becoming more frequent and intense. Many natural systems such as our precious Great Barrier Reef are struggling to adapt to the rate at which climate is changing.
We are already seeing several climate change-related impacts in the Wollongong region, and there are others we expect to see in future. Some of these effects of climate change are described below.
Climate change is causing an increase in average temperatures, with more hot days and fewer cold nights, and an increase in the occurrence of heatwaves.
Heatwaves have caused a greater amount of human deaths than any other natural disaster.
Increasing the amount of vegetation such as trees, will help to cool the city. Through our Adaptation Plan Council will consider a range of measures that could reduce the worst effects of heat on our community.
For more information visit the Adapt NSW's Heat page.
Extreme storms can lead to intense rainfall events and flooding, which can damage property and infrastructure, disrupt services, and impact human health.
Intense rainfall events can cause flash flooding, which can lead to soil erosion, affect water quality and impact the ability of stormwater infrastructure to work properly.
For more information see our Floods and Stormwater page and AdaptNSW’s Floods and Storms page.
It is predicted that we will experience an increase in bush fire frequency and intensity as average temperatures increase and water availability decreases.
There are a number of factors that affect the frequency and intensity of bush fires, such as the availability and dryness of vegetation, weather conditions, and ignition sources such as lightning, which can all be affected by climate change.
Reducing the risk to infrastructure and people is extremely important as we experience increased extreme weather events and heightened bush fire risk.
We are continuing to work with the Rural Fire Service to implement the Fiready and Asset Protection Zone program, which is essential to protecting life and property in our city.
For more information see our Bush Fires page, and AdaptNSW's Bushfires page.
It is predicted that we will see an increase in East Coast Lows along the east coast of Australia. These are intense low-pressure systems which bring with them damaging winds and extreme rainfall. This can cause coastal erosion, affecting the useability and health of our coastal zones that are highly valued by both the local community and visitors.
Sea level rise will also impact on the quality of our beaches, causing inundation and erosion. As average temperatures increase, snow and ice will melt, and higher temperatures will also cause thermal expansion of the oceans, both causing sea level rise.
For more information visit AdaptNSW's pages on East Coast Lows and Coasts and Sea Level Rise.
Increased temperatures and more extreme weather events such as storms, droughts and bush fires will impact on infrastructure and assets, affecting their life expectancy and useability.
Council owns and manages a variety of infrastructure and natural areas that will be impacted by climate change. This includes stormwater infrastructure, buildings, parks, pathways and sports fields.
For more information visit AdaptNSW's Infrastructure page.
Climate change affects temperatures and rainfall patterns. Together with an increase in human consumption, this is impacting on the availability of water.
A reduction in water availability will affect things like human health, food production, water quality and biodiversity.
For more information visit AdaptNSW's Water Resources page.
An increase in extreme weather and climate conditions like heat and storms can impact human health, causing illness and potential loss of life.
Vulnerable communities such as the elderly, people with disability, those with poor health, and people experiencing poverty or socioeconomic disadvantage may be at greater risk.
Climate change will also affect the availability of resources that we rely on such as food and water.
For more information visit AdaptNSW's Human Health page.
Climate change is putting increased pressures on animals and plants, as our fast-changing and modified landscapes make it harder for organisms to naturally adapt.
Many species are suited to specific climates and temperature ranges, such as alpine regions, and are not able to move into other habitat areas.
An increase in habitat loss, invasive pests and weeds, and reduced resources like water and food are causing a great biodiversity loss.
For more information visit AdaptNSW’s Biodiversity page.
Climate change can seem overwhelming but there are some simple steps you can take to reduce your emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change.
It's easier to concentrate on one area at a time as you build more sustainable habits.
Our Sustainable Living pages have information to help you reduce your energy and water use, eat and travel sustainably, and reduce your waste.
Stay in the loop on sustainable events and activities by signing up for the Sustainable Wollongong e-newsletter below. You can also read our archive of recent e-news.
Find out more
Check out these websites to learn more about climate change:
Council has a number of plans that support Wollongong becoming a sustainable and low carbon city. These include (but are not limited to):
- Our Wollongong Our Future Community Strategic Plan
- Sustainable Wollongong 2030: A Climate Healthy City PDF, 21002.46 KB
- Climate Change Mitigation Plan 2020-2022 PDF, 4379.41 KB
- Urban Greening Strategy 2017-2037 PDF, 8846.48 KB
- Wollongong Waste and Resource Recovery Strategy 2022 PDF, 8320.64 KB
- Wollongong Cycling Strategy 2030 PDF, 2706.16 KB
- Single Use Plastics Policy PDF, 52.19 KB
For more information on climate change projections in our region, read AdaptNSW's Illawarra Climate Change Snapshot.
You can also visit the CSIRO’s Australian Climate Trends page and AdaptNSW for more information on climate change predictions across Australia and NSW.
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