Australian and International research bodies have been building a comprehensive evidence base to understand how our climate is already changing. Each of the last three decades has been successively warmer than any preceding decade since 1850. The period from 1983 to 2012 was likely the warmest 30 year period of the last 1400 years in the Northern Hemisphere. Changes in many extreme weather and climate events have been observed since 1950. Some of these changes have been linked to human influences, including a decrease in cold temperature extremes, an increase in warm temperature extremes, an increase in extreme high sea levels and an increase in the number of intense rainfall events in a number of regions (IPCC Fifth Assessment Synthesis Report 2014 ).
Observed global climate change
Organisations like the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Climate.gov website has a dashboard with global climate information. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), formed by the World Meteorological Organisation and the United Nations Environment Programme, reviews the scientific evidence for climate change and summarises the findings in regular assessment reports. For more information see: Observed global climate change.
Observed climate change in Australia and NSW
In Australia we are also observing these changes. CSIRO and Australian Bureau of Meteorology produce a range of reports including the State of the Climate which provides a summary of observations of Australia’s climate and analysis of the factors that influence it. For more information see: Observed Australian climate change.
Closer to home we have been observing these changes in NSW as well as their impacts. In 2010 OEH released a report on the observed effects of climate change. See: Observed NSW climate change.
To improve our understanding of key climate systems that impact NSW, we are also investing in research. The Eastern Seaboard Climate Change Initiative is led by OEH and has partnered with researchers and the Bureau of Meteorology to improve our understanding of East Coast Lows. For more information see: Eastern seaboard climate change initiative.