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Monitoring the Earth system

CSIRO provides research and observation facilities through national research infrastructure programs.

Cape Grim, a joint responsibility of the Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO, was established in 1976 to monitor and study global atmospheric composition. Cape Grim data are more valuable than ever in understanding how our atmosphere is changing. All data are made available to interested parties, such as Australian government agencies, industry, the public and international agencies.

CSIRO maintains an archive of air collected at Cape Grim to preserve a record of atmospheric composition for future analyses.

CSIRO also operates a Northern Territory Baseline Air Pollution Station at Gunn Point, approximately 40 km northeast of Darwin. The site has been operating since 2010 and measures greenhouse gases, aerosols and reactive gases, as well as meteorology and radon.

CSIRO owns and operates the Marine National Facility (MNF), including the research vessel, RV Investigator, on behalf of the nation. Funded by the Australian Government, the MNF provides a blue‑water research capability to the Australian research community and their international collaborators. It supports biological, oceanographic, geological and atmospheric research, as well as marine education and training.

CSIRO is a Principle Participant of the Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS), which records and analyses changes in the marine environment at ocean-basin and regional scales covering physical, chemical and biological variables.

Modelling the climate

Temperature projections for a single climate model.

Climate models are based on the laws of physics and are run on supercomputers.

They use mathematical representations to simulate the complex interactions of the Earth's climate system, including atmospheric, oceanic, hydrological and terrestrial processes and atmospheric chemistry.

The models are validated by simulating climate in previous decades and then comparing the results of the model with recorded measurements of temperature, rainfall and other climatic variables.

There are over 40 climate models developed by groups from around the world. Some simulate the past climate better than others, especially at the sub-continental scale, so it is important to derive regional projections from models that perform well.

Australia's climate model is the Australian Community Climate and Earth System Simulator (ACCESS).

ACCESS produces the Bureau of Meteorology's Australian weather forecasts, which you see on the evening news.

This is one of the models that CSIRO researchers are using to project climate in the coming century, building on more than 20 years of research into developing climate projections for Australia.

CSIRO uses simulations of the Earth system to deliver climate projections on timescales from seasons to millennia, to inform effective and efficient strategies for climate adaptation and mitigation.

Partnerships to plan for the future

CSIRO, working with collaborators in Australia and overseas, undertakes research in marine and atmospheric sciences as well as climate adaptation to support private- and public-sector planning, decision making and investment.

The CSIRO Climate Science Centre is a research program that brings together CSIRO's capability in climate modelling and observations of the atmosphere and ocean.

Collaboratively with the Bureau of Meteorology, CSIRO contributes to work that delivers critical research underpinning the health, security and prosperity of Australia.

This includes areas such as weather and ocean prediction, hazard prediction and warnings, ocean prediction, climate variability and climate change, responses to weather and climate related health hazards, water supply and management, and adaptation to climate impacts.

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