The year 2021 saw a wide range of extreme weather and climate events impacting Australia. These included heatwaves, both on land and in the ocean, in Western Australia, and cold extremes, with Sydney experiencing its coldest day in 37 years in June. However, many of 2021’s extremes related to storms and rainfall. Australia experienced its greatest annual number of low-pressure systems since 1964. Perth had its wettest July on record, with 18 consecutive days of rain, and there was extreme rainfall and flooding in eastern and central Australia in March.
Extremes such as these are the subject of research by the Australian Research Council’s Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes (CLEX), a $40million consortium of UNSW, Monash University, the University of Melbourne, the University of Tasmania and the Australian National University. CLEX aims to transform the understanding and modelling of climate extremes and works with business and government to reduce Australia’s vulnerability to them.