Sunday, 04 Dec 2022

CSIRO abruptly scraps globally recognised climate forecast program

CSIRO abruptly scraps globally recognised climate forecast program


CSIRO abruptly scraps globally recognised climate forecast program

Launched in 2016 with $37m in funding over 10 years by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, the Decadal Climate Forecasting Project was meant to help industries from agriculture to dam operators and emergency services to better cope with climate variability and extremes.

However, without fanfare and after having spent what one insider said was about $15m, CSIRO managers halted funding after June 2021.

CSIRO was a pioneer in researching links between rising greenhouse gases and global heating. That work, though, has endured pressure over the years and efforts to slash job numbers in 2016.

One concern is the recent identification of a $4m-plus hole in expected revenue. Ocean and atmospheric monitoring might face cuts, one insider said.

Research by Mann and others showed modelling remained challenging because it involves forecasting how complex ocean-atmospheric processes work in tandem. (For instance, how ocean gyres and the North Atlantic overturning circulation interact and affect wind patterns remains uncertain, he said.)

Guardian Australia approached the science minister, Ed Husic, for comment. CSIRO and the government will likely face questions on the cuts at Senate estimates, which begin in late October.

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