Science

Report: UNSW scientist leads major climate science review

Scientia Professor Trevor McDougall
Thursday, 3 August, 2017
UNSW Maths

Scientia Professor Trevor McDougall has led a comprehensive Australian Academy of Science review into Australia's Climate Science Capability which recommends an urgent increase in the number of climate scientists.

The report's release follows a lengthy period of liaison with government Ministers, their offices and Departments, and consideration of the review by the National Climate Science Advisory Committe.

The review surveyed all of Australia’s climate research agencies and centres, including the Bureau of Meteorology, the CSIRO, the Australian Antarctic Division and universities to identify how many Australian researchers are working across the various disciplines and sub-disciplines of climate science, and how well these different areas are performing.

The Academy instigated the review to assess how well Australia’s climate science sector is positioned to meet current and future demands for weather and climate knowledge, in the context of increasingly powerful and sophisticated tools and methodologies.

The report recommends that government consider mechanisms to ensure better coordination of climate research across Australia’s universities and climate agencies. It also recommends increasing climate science capability in a number of critical areas.

Professor McDougall said that under-resourcing in specific areas detracts from Australia’s ability to deliver necessary climate and weather information to domestic end users and national and international organisations.

“Australia’s climate research sector is a fraction of the size of those in America or Europe, but we cover most of the Southern Hemisphere in terms of climate modelling and understanding,” Professor McDougall said.

The report's release on Thursday dominated the morning news cycle, prompting reports across the mainstream media, including in the SMH, The Guardian, ABC News, The Australian, MSN News, The Conversation, and a range of Fairfax publications.