Understanding how Australia’s climate is changing is critical for many policy decisions. Our new collaborative study, Grose et al. (in Earth’s Future), between CSIRO, the Bureau of Meteorology and CLEX authors assessed the ability of recently released climate models to simulate the climate of Australia and their new scenarios of 21st Century change.

These models, which are developed by scientists around the world, contributed to Phase 6 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP6) and represent the state-of-the-art in climate modelling. They show small improvements over the previous generation (CMIP5; developed in ~2012), including better reproduction of land and marine heatwaves and sea-level rise as well as improved relationships between Australia’s climate drivers and rainfall.

Projections for future change over Australia are similar to those from CMIP5 at least up until the mid-21st Century, with continued warming irrespective of the scenario. However, the CMIP6 projections include some models that are more sensitive to greenhouse gas emissions and have larger warming by the end of the 21st Century than was seen over Australia in previous projections. Scientists are currently working hard to understand the reason for these differences but it may indicate we need further reductions in emissions than previously thought.

  • Paper: Grose, M. R., Narsey, S., Delage, F. P., Dowdy, A. J., Bador, M., Boschat, G., et al. ( 2020). Insights from CMIP6 for Australia’s future climate. Earth’s Future, 8, e2019EF001469. https://doi.org/10.1029/2019EF001469