Victoria's Changing Climate
Victoria is already experiencing the impacts of climate change, becoming warmer and drier. The climate of Victoria is projected to continue to change into the future.
Climate change projections of Australia’s future climate are delivered at a national level through the Climate Change in Australia website. In addition, state-based climate projections for Victoria are delivered by the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) through the Victorian Climate Projections 2019
project (VCP19). These state-based projections are provided at a higher resolution than the national projections, provide local-scale information and may better represent regional climate, particularly in coastal and mountain regions. While the methodologies for producing the national and state-based projections differ, the resulting information about the changing climate is broadly consistent, with some regional differences.
For more information and data on Victorian regional climate projections, please visit the Victorian Climate Projections 2019
pages on Climate Change in Australia.
The climate statements below are largely based on the national projections data provided through the Climate Change in Australia website, and on past observational data from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. Projections are focused on mid-century (2040-2059) relative to 1986-2005 (unless otherwise stated), in line with baselines used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fifth Assessment Report (IPCC AR5). Projections are based on a high emissions scenario (RCP8.5), and averages refer to the average of projected changes across the whole State.
Victoria is already experiencing the impacts of climate change:
- All of Victoria has warmed since 1910. Average annual temperature has increased by 1.2 °C since 1910.
- Over the past 30 years, Victoria’s cool season rainfall has declined compared to last century1.
- The number of days with dangerous weather conditions for bushfires has increased across the region.
The climate of Victoria is projected to continue to change over the coming decades. By mid- century, the following changes are projected:
- Victoria will continue to get hotter into the future.
- Under a high emissions scenario (RCP8.5), global climate models project warming of 1.3 to 2.0 °C (central estimate of 1.6 °C). Regional modelling for VCP19 shows a plausible higher end to this range (1.4 to 2.4 °C), with enhanced warming under the driest future.
- Large and sustained reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions (RCP2.6) reduce the projected warming to around 0.6-1.2 °C (central estimate of 0.9 °C).
- The number of very hot days2 (>40 °C) will increase from 0.83 to 2.7 days per year in Melbourne, and from 7.8 to 17 days per year in Mildura.
- By mid-century under a high emissions scenario3:
- The climate of Melbourne is projected to be more like the current climate of Wodonga;
- The climate of Warrnambool is projected to be more like the current climate of Benalla; and
- The climate of Lakes Entrance is projected to be more like the current climate of Stanthorpe, Qld.
- Victoria can expect longer fire seasons, with around 40% more very high fire danger days4.
- Sea levels are projected to rise by around 24 cm along the Victorian coast5.
- Extreme rain events in Victoria are projected to become more intense.
- Projected change in annual or seasonal rainfall for Victorian is less certain than for temperature and sea level:
- Approximately three quarters of climate models project decreased rainfall.
- The projected decrease in rainfall is greatest in winter and spring, with greater changes likely under the higher emission scenarios.
- Notable differences across the state are plausible, including enhanced drying on the slopes of the Alps in autumn through to spring.
- In the future, east coast lows are projected to decrease by up to 20% under a high emissions scenario, primarily due to a reduction in winter.
- In Alpine regions a decline in snowfall, especially at low altitudes, is projected along with an increase in snowmelt.
Further reading and resources:
- Victorian Water and Climate Initiative (VicWaCI) Synthesis Report
- Victorian Climate Science Report 2019
- Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning climate change website
- Earth Systems and Climate Change Hub
- Bureau of Meteorology, Climate change – trends and extremes
- State of the Climate (CSIRO & BoM)
- IPCC Fifth Assessment Report, The Physical Science Basis
2 Compares 2036-2065 with 1981-2010. For more information, access the Climate Change in Australia Thresholds Calculator
3 Climate Change in Australia Climate Analogues
5 Average of Victorian coastal council values from CoastAdapt
Page last updated 14th March 2021