Preparing for emerging climate extremes

Extreme events such as heatwaves, heavy rainfall, droughts and bushfires have serious consequences for Australia’s communities, ecosystems and economy. Many extremes have already increased in frequency and/or intensity, with further changes projected to continue with rising global temperatures. Information on the causes and likely impacts of extreme events can help Australian decision-makers plan for and respond to extreme events.

The Climate Systems Hub is undertaking fundamental and applied research to better understand current and future climate extremes in Australia. To do this, we’re working with stakeholders and researchers across federal, state and territory organisations and initiatives, to develop and deliver relevant, accessible and useable information that meets their needs.

Using the outcomes of this co-design process, we’ll investigate the research priorities identified by our stakeholders, which may include topics such as extreme rainfall, flash drought (droughts that begin suddenly and then rapidly become more intense), heatwaves and compound extreme events. Drought is likely to be a particular focus of the project, as it has significant impact on many Australian water-dependent sectors such as agriculture, water resource and supply, and ecosystems management.

This project will identify priorities for the Hub’s climate extremes research. It will develop a range of products to capture and share the outcomes of our research with Australian decision-makers, the Climate Adaptation Initiative, the Australian Climate Services and the Climate Services for Agriculture. For example, drought projections will be delivered to the Australian Government’s Drought Resilience Self-Assessment Tool Project, which will provide farmers with improved climate information to prepare for future droughts.

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