Icy antarctic icebergs in antarctic winter scene.

Climate science is complex, involving physical, biological and chemical processes of the oceans, atmosphere and polar and glacial regions.

CSIRO scientists and climate change knowledge

CSIRO scientists are substantial contributors to the growing body of knowledge about climate change globally and in the Australian region.

  • 26 July 2010 | Updated 14 October 2011

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

They are among more than 2000 scientists who contributed to global understanding of climate change impacts and adaptation, risk, and opportunities for mitigation collated in 2007 by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

CSIRO scientists are among 36 Australian authors who will contribute to the IPCC Fifth Assessment report, expected to be released in 2014.


CSIRO authors include:

  • oceanographer, Dr Steve Rintoul
  • oceanographer, Dr John Church
  • carbon modeller, Dr Pep Canadell
  • atmospheric scientist, Dr Leon Rotstayn 
  • hydrologist, Dr Francis Chiew
  • agricultural scientist, Dr Mark Howden
  • marine scientist, Nathan Bindoff (University of Tasmania and CSIRO)
  • climate scientist, Dr Penny Whetton.


The IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report in 2007 confirmed that human activity has increased concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, including carbon dioxide – in 2007 at its highest level for 650 000 years.

The presence of such high concentrations of greenhouse gases is altering the Earth’s climate, raising temperatures and impacting on the landscape.

The science is complex, involving physical and chemical processes of the oceans, atmosphere and polar and glacial regions.

Researchers use satellites, ships, buoys and robots to observe these processes; and model the processes to look back at past changes. 

CSIRO's role

CSIRO scientists in a range of fields of research have been engaged with colleagues at other climate and environmental research centres in Australia and internationally.

They use CSIRO computer-modelling expertise to project forward to understand future climate change.

This research informs decision-makers and the community about changes occurring in regional climate, and increases understanding of the way shifts in future climate will impact on Australia.

These scientists progress the global understanding of climate change through the peer-review process, a system in which all scientists anonymously review and test research prior to its acceptance for publication in recognised science journals.

These peer-reviewed journals, include Nature, Science, and Geophysical Research Letters.

CSIRO scientists welcome open and serious debate, discussion and questioning of their science through the peer-review process. They also stand by the results of their research. 

CSIRO unequivocally stands by its scientists.

Find out more about our work in Understanding Climate Change.