Climate extremes are high impact events that seriously affect natural and human systems.

Climate change is already affecting the magnitude, frequency and duration of some extreme events. Our understanding of the processes and how they interact is limited, and the global climate models used to simulate future climate have not been designed to simulate many climate extremes.

The ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes improves Australia’s capability to predict these extremes, and informs strategies to reduce our national vulnerability.

We have three research goals:

  • To understand the multi-scale processes that cause climate extremes via a transdisciplinary approach that integrates atmosphere, land and ocean sciences;
  • To translate this understanding into a new Australian climate prediction system at extremely high spatial resolution;
  • To use this new prediction system to examine the past, present and future behaviour of climate extremes.

Our research programs are:

Weather and climate interactions

The Weather and Climate Research Program investigates the physical mechanisms responsible for weather extremes in the tropics and extra-tropics and the effect of a warming world on these mechanisms.

Attribution and risk

Attributing the cause of these changes and assessing their future risk is key to reducing the vulnerability of our natural and economic systems to these events.


To determine the processes controlling the frequency, intensity and duration of drought in Australia in the past, present and future.

Ocean extremes

Marine heatwaves impact ocean physics in the form of warmer temperatures, mixing and the creation of eddies and fronts. These processes in turn impact plant and animal physiology and nutrient availability, with consequences at all levels of the ocean food chain.

Underpinned by: Modelling

This program improves Australia’s ACCESS climate model for the benefit of research and prediction across our Centre and across the nation.