Australian news, and some related international items

Australian Academy of Science warns on our shortage of climate scientists

Shortage of climate scientists ‘significant risk’ to Australia: Academy of Science, Australia’s ability to maintain world-class climate science research is being jeopardised by under-resourcing and a lack of staff, according to a new report by the Australian Academy of Science, SBS, By Marese O’Sullivan, 3 Aug 17, 

The report by the Australian Academy of Science investigates the current arrangements for the country’s climate science workforce, assesses Australia’s capability to respond to new developments in the field in the future, and analyses how findings are communicated.

The study of climate science aims to understand atmospheric conditions and processes over an extended period of time, in a broader way than climate change science, and the country’s ability to assess climate science findings directly affects how the world can respond to climate change.

Around 420 full-time staff are employed to work on four areas of climate science in Australia: climate observation; climate understanding; climate modelling; and climate services. Fifteen of those are based at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) Climate Centre in Tasmania. But the Academy says a staged increase of at least 77 full-time staff is necessary across those four fields, with 27 required immediately.

“These capability requirements are brought into sharper focus when you consider that our country is potentially more exposed to the impacts of climate change than most developed nations,” said Professor Trevor McDougall, who led the review.

Australia’s location in the southern hemisphere is crucial in terms of how its climate and weather is determined. However, according to the report, there are “weaknesses” in coordination and resourcing that “create avoidable inefficiency”.

It states that financing arrangements are “overly complex” and place an “unnecessarily large administrative burden on operational scientists” to get funds from multiple sources.

It also outlines the under-resourcing in particular areas that present “moderate to significant risks” to Australia’s ability to continue to provide crucial weather information.

Climate modelling, which simulates how the earth’s elements – like the oceans, ice and living things – can impact climate through mathematical equations, has been noted as one of those most under-resourced fields.

The report indicates that around 30 new climate modellers and scientists in that area would be required in Australia in the next four years to even attempt matching the quality of research on an international scale.

“Our location means that key factors that influence the climate in our region are not well represented in climate models developed by other countries,” said Professor McDougall.

“It is in our national interest to ensure our national climate science capability, built up over the past 50 years, is maintained. This will also mean Australia maintains its custodianship of many aspects of climate science research in the southern hemisphere.”…..



August 4, 2017 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming

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