Victoria's future climate

Victoria’s climate in the decades ahead will be different from what it was in the past.

We can expect changes in:

You may need to modify your farming practices to manage the risks presented by the change in climate.

General threats to agriculture across southern Australia include:

  • decline in productivity due to increased drought and bushfires
  • crop yields benefiting from warmer conditions and higher carbon dioxide levels, but vulnerable to reduced rainfall
  • greater exposure of stock and crops to heat-related stress and disease
  • earlier ripening and reduced grape quality
  • less winter chilling for fruit and nuts
  • southern migration of some pests
  • potential increase in the distribution and abundance of some exotic weeds

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Temperature

Temperature projections for Victoria are for continued warming over the coming decades.

The projected temperature increases for 2030 and 2070 in Victoria, relative to 1990 climate are given in the table below.

YearMinimum increase in temperature
2030 0.6°C
2070 1.0°C (low greenhouse gas emission scenario)
2.5°C (high greenhouse gas emission scenario)

Less warming is expected along the coast than in the rest of Victoria.

Projected warming for spring and autumn is similar to the annual increase, but slightly greater for summer and slightly less for winter.

Scientists have more confidence in the projections for mean temperature than in those for rainfall.

They have more confidence in the projections for 2030 than in those for 2070.

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Extreme temperatures

We can expect more very hot days and nights. By 2070, under a high greenhouse gas emission scenario, the number of days per year above 35°C is likely to double.

We can expect less frosts and less very cold days and nights.

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Sunshine

In winter and spring we can expect more sunshine.

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Humidity

Small decreases in relative humidity are likely.

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Wind speed

In winter small increases in wind speed are likely.

In autumn decreases are likely.

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Rainfall

Rainfall projections for Victoria are more mixed than the projections for temperature.

Most projections indicate a drying trend, particularly during winter and spring.

Changes in summer and autumn rainfall are less certain.

Projected annual rainfall decreases for 2030 and 2070 in Victoria, relative to 1990 climate, are given in the table below.

YearDecrease in annual rainfall
2030 5%
2070 5-10% (low greenhouse gas emission scenario)
10-20% (high greenhouse gas emission scenario)

Scientists have more confidence in the projections for temperature than in those for rainfall.

They have more confidence in the projections for 2030 than in those for 2070.

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Runoff and streamflow

The combination of projected warming and less rainfall has serious implications for runoff and water storage.

By 2030, streamflow into Victorian dams is projected to decline by 7–35% relative to historical average flows.

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Drought and extreme rainfall

Potential evapotranspiration is expected to increase over Victoria. Evapotranspiration is the combination of evaporation from soil and water surfaces, and transpiration from vegetation.

When these changes are combined with the projected declines in rainfall, an increase in aridity and drought occurrence is likely.

Projections show an increase in daily precipitation intensity and an increase in the number of dry days. This suggests that Victoria’s rainfall patterns will have longer dry spells interrupted by heavier rainfall events.

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Severe weather

Vulnerability to changes in severe weather varies regionally. Potential changes that may impact agriculture in Victoria include:

  • higher bushfire risk
  • fewer cool season tornadoes
  • increased hail risk in the far east of Victoria

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