The Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO play an important role in monitoring, analysing and communicating observed and future changes in Australia’s climate.
This fifth, biennial State of the Climate report draws on the latest monitoring, science and projection information to describe variability and changes in Australia’s climate. Observations and climate modelling paint a consistent picture of ongoing, long‑term climate change interacting with underlying natural variability.
These changes affect many Australians, particularly the changes associated with increases in the frequency or intensity of heat events, fire weather and drought. Australia will need to plan for and adapt to some level of climate change. This report is a synthesis of the science informing our understanding of climate in Australia and includes new information about Australia’s climate of the past, present and future. The science underpinning this report will help inform a range of economic, environmental and social decision‑making and local vulnerability assessments, by government, industry and communities.Report at a glance
Energy comes from the Sun. To maintain stable temperatures at the Earth’s surface this incoming energy must be balanced in the longer‑term by an equal amount of heat radiated back to space. Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, such as carbon dioxide and methane, make it harder for the Earth to radiate this heat, so increase the temperature of the Earth’s surface, ocean and atmosphere. This is called the greenhouse effect.
Without any greenhouse gases, the Earth’s surface would be much colder, with an average temperature of about –18 °C. For centuries prior to industrialisation the incoming sunlight and outgoing heat were balanced, and global average temperatures were relatively steady, at a little under 15 °C. Now, mostly because of the burning of fossil fuels and changes in land use, the concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are rising and causing surface temperatures to increase, leading to an ‘enhanced’ greenhouse effect.
There is now an energy imbalance at the Earth’s surface of around 0.7–0.8 Wm–2 (averaged globally). The atmosphere and oceans will continue to warm until enough extra heat can escape to space to allow the Earth to return to balance. Because increased levels of carbon dioxide persist in the atmosphere for hundreds of years, further warming and sea level rise is inevitable.Future climate
The biennial CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology State of the Climate report draws on the latest monitoring, science and projection information to describe variability and changes in Australia’s climate, and how it is likely to change in the future. These changes affect many Australians, particularly changes associated with increases in the frequency or intensity of heat events, fire weather and drought.The State of the Climate 2018 video
This fifth report by the Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO draws on the latest climate monitoring, science and projection information to describe changes and long-term trends in Australia’s climate.State of the Climate 2018 CSIRO BOM Dec2018
Australia’s weather and climate continues to change in response to a warming global climate system. Australia has warmed by just over 1 °C since 1910, with most warming since 1950. This warming has seen an increase in the frequency of extreme heat events and increased the severity of drought conditions during periods of below‑average rainfall. Eight of Australia’s top ten warmest years on record have occurred since 2005.Australia’s changing climate
Australian rainfall is highly variable and is strongly influenced by phenomena such as El Niño, La Niña, and the Indian Ocean Dipole. Despite this large natural variability, underlying long‑term trends are evident in some regions. There has been a shift towards drier conditions across southwestern and southeastern Australia during April to October. Northern Australia has been wetter across all seasons, but especially in the northwest during the tropical wet season.Australia’s changing climate
The ocean surface around Australia has warmed over recent decades at a similar rate to the air temperature. Sea surface temperature in the Australian region has warmed by around 1 °C since 1910, with eight of the ten warmest years on record occurring since 2010. Part of the East Australian Current now extends further south, creating an area of more rapid warming in the Tasman Sea. This extension is having numerous impacts on marine ecosystems, including many marine species extending their habitat range further south.Oceans
Australia’s national climate projections at www.climatechangeinaustralia.gov.au indicate that over coming decades Australia will experience:
General climate information and links.References and data sources
Read the State of the Climate Report published in 2016 by CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology.
Read the State of the Climate Report published in 2014 by CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology.
Read the State of the Climate Report published in 2012 by CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology.
Read the State of the Climate Report published in 2010 by CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology.