When researchers at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes discovered that rapid rain bursts in Sydney had intensified by 40 percent in two decades, it caught the attention of the prestigious journal Science.
With Science’s publication impending, the Centre’s Engagement and Impact team snapped into action, working with the researchers to do as follows:
- Brainstorm ways to simplify the scientific concepts for public audiences, such as defining the term “rapid rain bursts” for easier public understanding
- Produce video and photographic content to explain the research and its implications for media and social media use
- Write an opinion piece for The Conversation
- Collaborate with the Australian Science Media Centre
- Produce a briefing for politicians and policymakers in local, state and federal governments explaining the implications of the research
- Practice and conduct media training on presenting the research
- Create two targeted media releases – one explaining the research for international audiences and the other for Sydney audiences.
The rapid rain bursts media story received over 370 media mentions from Australian and international media, reaching a potential audience of more than 13 million people.
The importance of the research was recognised by the Hon Steph Cooke, New South Wales Minister for Emergency Services, who said:
The research was also highlighted at the 2022 annual lecture of the Peter Cullen Trust, a foundation which works with scientists, policymakers and political leaders to bridge science, people and the environment via funding and facilitating programs that contribute to improved rural and urban water management in Australia. The lecture was given by Rachel Connell, Division Head, Water Reform Taskforce, federal Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water.
The researchers are now encouraging other researchers around the world to adopt their pioneering technique using weather radar data to help their communities plan for the future.