Climate variability and change across seasons and decades has profound consequences for primary industries, coastal and water infrastructure, the generation and delivery of energy, and transport systems in Australia and throughout the world. To the extent that this variability and change is unanticipated and unplanned for, the net impact across sectors will be detrimental. However, research that improves our ability to understand and make projections of climate variability and change has the potential to reduce climate-related impacts and capitalise on potential opportunities associated with these changes. In this way, the impact of climate and weather research in Australia is felt in every corner of society.
This report characterises Australia’s current climate science capability and identifies how well the climate science sector is positioned to meet current and future demands for weather and climate knowledge. The report was developed by an expert committee chaired by Professor Trevor McDougall FAA FRS, in consultation with climate scientists, relevant government agencies including CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology, and other organisations involved in climate and weather research and services in Australia. It makes a number of recommendations to guide investment in Australian climate science, to preserve our ability to observe, model, and understand Australian climate systems and to safeguard Australia’s future.