State of climate extremes
research in NSW

Climate extremes

The climate of NSW is changing. Across NSW and Australia, extreme weather events are projected to worsen as the climate warms further and becomes more energetic. The impacts of climate change will be felt most acutely in this way, through extreme climate events.

Climate events are described as extreme when conditions exceed boundary thresholds and stretch beyond what we have typically seen before. Changes in climate extremes are already being observed across NSW, becoming more frequent and intense.

Combining observations of these recent and past extreme events with projections of future climate changes, the climate research community has developed a solid understanding of extreme climate events which are, have and will impact Australia.

Understanding the long-term future changes to climate means NSW will be better prepared to adapt to likely scenarios.

The state of climate extremes research for NSW

In 2017, the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) led the delivery of a project to assess the current state of science research describing climate extremes that affect NSW.

The NSW Climate Extremes Baseline Assessment is a review of the available scientific literature, databases and tools relating to extreme climate events that affect NSW.

Subject matter experts in the climate research community from the CSIRO, Bureau of Meteorology and several Australian universities were consulted as part of the assessment and seven types of extreme climate events were reviewed:

  • Rainfall, including extreme rainfall, floods, snow and drought
  • Temperature extremes, including heatwaves and extreme cold
  • Storm events, including dust storms, thunderstorms, hail and lightning
  • Wind gusts, storm surges and coastal inundation
  • Extreme East Coast Lows (ECLs)
  • Bushfires and fire weather
  • Compounding or coincident extreme climate events

By reviewing the current state of research, the assessment identifies gaps in our collective knowledge of extreme events to prioritise future research efforts to understand climate extremes. The project will ensure the climate research community is on track to provide the right climate information, data and tools needed to investigate, in greater detail, how climate extremes will impact NSW, now and in the future.

Download information

Biodiversity Technical Report
Biodiversity Technical Report

More information

For more information on the research programs led by the DPIE Climate Research Team, please contact: climate.research@environment.nsw.gov.au