7 December 2016
On 30 November, the Australian Climate Change Science Programme (ACCSP), Australia’s longest running climate science programme, officially wrapped up.
In the process of delivering policy-relevant climate science for Australia for 27 years, the ACCSP built the national climate science capability, supported the increasing international reach of Australian climate science, and expanded our understanding of the climate system, both global and regional. Its legacy will be long-lasting, testament to the experience and commitment of all who have been involved in the programme over the years.
About the programme
The ACCSP ran from 1989 until 2016, and was a partnership between two national research agencies, CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology, and the Australian Government, through the Department of the Environment and Energy (and predecessors).
Like the Australian Government departments that administered it, the programme had a number of name changes over its 27 years—from the Climate Change Research Programme to the National Greenhouse Science Programme to the Australian Greenhouse Science Programme to the Australian Climate Change Science Programme. One thing that didn’t change was the commitment to advancing our understanding of the climate system and providing the information needed to understand and plan for the impacts of climate, climate variability and climate change in Australia.
Science delivered through the ACCSP:
- provided information on changes to greenhouse gas emissions and concentrations, and how these affect our environment
- improved our understanding of the global and regional carbon cycles
- improved our understanding of terrestrial and atmospheric climate processes, and how they may change in a changing climate
- resulted in substantial progress in understanding the behaviour of the oceans surrounding our continent and their role in the climate system
- transformed our understanding of the drivers of Australian climate variability and their causes, and how they may change in a changing climate.
More broadly, the programme:
- supported the improvement of Australia’s climate models, culminating in the development of the Australian Community Climate and Earth System Simulator (ACCESS), our national climate model
- invested in science to develop climate projections, that are now used by governments, industry and communities to plan for and adapt to our changing climate
- helped build the climate research community and paved the way for climate change science outside of the programme
- funded and supported critical climate research infrastructure
- enabled Australian researchers to be active participants and leaders in the international climate science community
- enhanced the global reputation of Australian science and scientists
- leveraged international research for Australia’s benefit.
(For a more detailed account of ACCSP science highlights, please refer to the ACCSP annual reports, available on the ACCSP legacy website.)
The Earth Systems and Climate Change Hub now plays a significant role in delivering climate science for Australia.
The ESCC Hub is building on the ACCSP’s rich legacy of science and collaboration to continue to improve our understanding of Australia’s past, present and future climate. This understanding is critical if we are to address the major challenges that our changing climate poses.
The ACCSP is a hard act to follow, but the ESCC Hub is committed to ensuring that Australia’s policies and management decisions are effectively informed by Earth systems and climate change science, now and into the future.
Resources developed through the ACCSP are available on the ACCSP legacy website.