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
- 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
- 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