A RESEARCH project commissioned by the British Government reveals regional temperature increases from global warming could be much higher on land surfaces than the overall global average.
The British weather bureau's Hadley Centre has produced a map charting the different temperature increases around the world, if average global temperatures rise by four degrees because of unchecked warming.
The map shows increases will vary significantly across different regions, but that, on average, land surfaces would be 5.5 degrees warmer as early as 2050, if the global average temperature rises by the four-degree mark overall.
The 5.5-degree land average is offset by lesser temperature rises in the oceans. Significant warming on land threatens agriculture, drinking water and glacier melts, the research finds.
Most of the warming in Australia is close to the average land surface temperature rise of 5.5 degrees, with the populated eastern seaboard facing temperatures three degrees above pre-industrial levels.
Central Australia would face five-degree temperature increases, while western NSW, western Queensland and central Western Australia could suffer an average rise of six degrees.
Mapping research suggests temperatures on that scale would move eastern and southern Australia into a ''high'' bushfire danger category with more frequent and severe fires.
Significantly, most of the extreme temperature increases would be in the ice-heavy Arctic, Greenland and northern America. According to the modelling, the Arctic would have temperature rises of up to 16 degrees, accelerating ice melt.
The map was created by running weather and atmospheric models created by the British Met office.
The map follows work by the Met Office last month, which revealed global temperatures could rise by an average of four degrees in most people's lifetimes - 2050 - if carbon emissions were not significantly reduced.
Kirsty Lewis from the Hadley Centre said the map showed what would happen if a global agreement on climate change is not reached in Copenhagen.
International talks are aiming to limit global temperature rises to an average of two degrees, which UN scientists say would give the world a 50 per cent chance of avoiding the worst effects of climate change.