New research to look at frequency of catastrophic bushfires in Tasmanian World Heritage Area

04 August 2016

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Australia   Large swathes of the wilderness area were burnt in bushfires across Tasmania last summer.

A $95,000 research project to better map extreme weather patterns will be done by the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre (ACE CRC).

Tony Worby from the ACE CRC said the new funding would be targeted at the Wilderness World Heritage Area.

"We're very interested in understanding whether the synoptic conditions that caused the particularly dry conditions over that area of Tasmania are going to be more or less likely under future climate change scenarios," he said.

"We've got quite a lot of work to do. We use a range of climate models to make those determinations."

The new research will build on other data collected by the ACE CRC, including a finding last year that predicted Tasmania's fire danger risk would double by the end of the century if the current rate of carbon emissions continued at current rates.

"The Tasmanian World Heritage Area is a different landscape, therefore we use different fire indices. We're doing new calculations to understand what future fire will mean," said climate scientist Nathan Bindoff.

"We're not only looking at the future fire danger in terms of the moorlands themselves but also the future risk of dry lightening - a key element of the fires in 2013 and 2015/16.

"It could go either way, it could be more frequent or less frequent."