Canberra, March 28 (IANS) High rainfall driven by the La Nina weather phenomenon in the Pacific provided Australia’s environment reprieve in 2022 from ongoing climate threats, a report published on Tuesday revealed.
Researchers from the Australian National University (ANU) and Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network (TERN) published their annual environmental report card, which calculates 15 environmental indicators using satellite and field data, reports Xinhua news agency.
For 2022, the national environmental score is 8.7 out of 10, the highest since 2011.
Albert Van Dijk, the leader of the project from ANU, attributed the high score to improvements in water availability, vegetation growth and soil conditions but warned that climate change, invasive species and habitat loss remain significant ongoing threats.
According to the Bureau of Meteorology’s data, nationally-averaged rainfall for 2022 was 587.8 mm, making it the ninth-wettest year on record for Australia.
“Overall, it appears the nation’s environmental conditions made a comeback in 2022,” Van Dijk said in a media release.
“It was a great year for our wetlands, the best in decades. It was also a bumper year for many farmers, with growth in dryland cropping a huge 49 per cent better than the 20-year average.”
He said Australia’s environment is in much better shape than it would have been without the last three wetter years.
The national average temperature in 2022 was the lowest since 2012 but still 0.5 degrees Celsius warmer than the 1961-1990 average.
“The ocean around Australia was warmer than ever. So while the environment is in a relatively good place, the impacts of climate change are apparent and poised to have catastrophic impacts,” Van Dijk said.
There were 30 species added to the Threatened Species List in 2022, many of which were heavily impacted by the 2019/20 Black Summer bushfires.