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. Global warming could make Australia's outback tougher: study

by Staff Writers
Sydney (AFP) Jan 10, 2008
Life in Australia's rugged outback could get even tougher when the effects of global warming bite, with extreme weather and outbreaks of exotic diseases in unexpected places, a new study suggests.

The world's driest inhabited continent is predicted to be among the regions worst hit by climate change and is already grappling with a long-running drought thought by some researchers to be linked to global warming.

As well as droughts, the study, says the outback can expect to face floods and cyclones as temperatures rise.

Altered weather patterns may affect the distribution of mosquitoes and other animal vectors for human disease, bringing outbreaks of exotic diseases to unexpected places.

There could also be variations in daily mortality and hospitalisation rates, said the study by the University of Adelaide in partnership with Charles Sturt University, published in the Australian Journal of Rural Health.

Australia's Aborigines could be among those worst affected since most of them live in remote areas and often have only limited access to health care.

"Studying the effects of climate change in Australian rural and remote regions is extremely important because of the unequal access to health care systems by those who live there," study author Peng Bi wrote.

"Australian society, especially rural regions, is becoming more vulnerable to natural disasters, at least in terms of economic costs, and these disasters are primarily climate-related."

The study points out remote Australia's importance to the country in terms of agriculture and biodiversity.

"Such responses might include changes in physical structure of resource management systems like reservoirs, changes in the operation of these systems, a range of socio-economic actions such as pricing and marketing mechanisms, community education and health promotion campaigns."

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Japan temperatures could rise five degrees by 2100: panel
Tokyo (AFP) Jan 9, 2008
Global warming could cause temperatures in Japan to rise an average of 4.7 degrees Celsius (8.5 Fahrenheit) above normal by the last three decades of the century, an environment ministry panel has warned.

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