PROJECT 5.2: Understanding climate variability and change – past, present and future
Australia has a variable climate which is affected by large-scale features in the global climate system, including the El Nino-Southern Oscillation, Indian Ocean Dipole and the Southern Annular Mode. These drivers impact our climate by affecting rainfall patterns, drought, bushfire weather and floods. Reliable and accessible information on the role of natural variability and the human influence on our climate is therefore important to manage the country’s infrastructure, agriculture and natural resource sectors under a changing climate.
We’re utilising the latest available observations and model outputs (as well as our own model simulations) to better understand the drivers of Australia’s large-scale variability, their impacts on Australia’s climate and how these impacts may change in the future. This increased understanding of how climate drivers vary and interact, as well as more accurate simulations of these drivers in climate models, will provide reliable and relevant information for input into climate projections and planning and management activities.
We’re also developing and applying methods to better distinguish the influence and contribution of climate change on extreme weather events such as heatwaves and drought. This will allow important information on the role of climate change in extreme events to be provided to governments, industries and businesses to assist them to better manage their current and future climate risks.
For more information
Christine Chung, Bureau of Meteorology
This project is contributing to the following climate challenges:
Modelling improvements developed in this project will enhance the quality of climate projections that are available to water managers and planners.
Agricultural and environmental managers will be able to use information developed in this project to make more effective management decisions.
Research undertaken in this project will allow for better simulation of extreme events in climate projections, making them a more useful tool agencies responsible for preparing for and managing natural disasters.
Publications and papers
- Cai W, Ng B, Geng T, Wu L, Santoso A, McPhaden MJ. 2020. Butterfly effect and a self-modulating El Niño response to global warming, Nature, 585, 68-73, doi: 10.1038/s41586-020-2641-x | Abstract
- Cai W, Yang K, Wu L, Huang G, Santoso A, Ng B, Wang G, Yamagata T. 2020. Opposite response of strong and moderate positive Indian Ocean Dipole to global warming. Nature Climate Change, doi: 10.1038/s41558-020-00943-1 | Full paper
- Delage FPD and Power SB. 2020. The impact of global warming and the El Niño-Southern Oscillation on seasonal precipitation extremes in Australia. Climate Dynamics, doi:10.1007/s00382-020-05235-0 | Full paper
- Du Y, Zhang Y, Zhang LY, Tozuka T, Ng B, Cai W. 2020. Thermocline warming induced extreme Indian Ocean dipole in 2019. Geophysical Research Letters. 47(18), doi:10.1029/2020GL090079 | Full paper
- Freund MB, Brown JR, Henley BJ, Karoly DJ, Brown JN. 2020. Warming patterns affect El Niño diversity in CMIP5 and CMIP6 models, Journal of Climate, doi: 10.1175/JCLI-D-19-0890.1 | Abstract
- Grose MR, Black MT, Wang G, King AD, Hope P, Karoly DJ. 2020. The warm and extremely dry spring in 2015 in Tasmania contained the fingerprint of human influence on the climate. J. South. Hemisph. Earth Syst. Sci. doi:10.22499/3.6901.011 | Full paper
- Lim EP, Hendon HH, Hope P, Chung C, McPhaden M. Continuation of tropical Pacific Ocean temperature trend will weaken linkage of Southern Annular Mode and extreme El Niño, Scientific Reports, 9, doi:10.1038/s441598-019-53371-3 | Full paper
- McKenna S, Santoso A, Sen Gupta A, Taschetto A, Cai W. 2020. Indian Ocean Dipole in CMIP5 and CMIP6: Characteristics, biases, and links to ENSO. Scientific Reports, 10 (11500), doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-68268-9 | Full paper
- Ng, B. et al. 2020. Impacts of low-frequency internal climate variability and greenhouse warming on the El Niño-Southern Oscillation. Journal of Climate. doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-20-0232.1 | Abstract
- Wang GJ and Cai WJ. 2020. Two-year consecutive concurrences of positive Indian Ocean Dipole and Central Pacific El Nino preconditioned the 2019/2020 Australian “black summer” bushfires. Geoscience Letters, 7(19), doi:10.1186/s40562-020-00168-2 | Full paper
- Wang GJ, Cai WJ, Yang K, Santoso A, Yamagata T. 2020. A unique feature of the 2019 extreme positive Indian Ocean Dipole event. Geophysical Research Letters, 47(18), 1-9, doi:10.1029/2020GL088615 | Full paper
- Yang K, Cai W, Huang G, Wang G, Ng B, Li S. 2020. Oceanic processes in ocean temperature products key to a realistic presentation of positive Indian Ocean Dipole nonlinearity. Geophysical Research Letters, 46(16), doi:10.1029/2020GL089396 | Full paper