Australia needs more climate scientists

By Akanksha Singh

With 100 of 140 climate scientists made redundant by CSIRO after budget cuts, and more CSIRO and NCCARF funds axed under the 2017 federal budget, it seems Australia’s climate scientists are in hot water (pun fully intended).

The 2017 Australian Climate Science Capability Review by the Australian Academy of Science concluded that “over the next four years, 77 additional [full-time equivalent] staff numbers should be added to the current levels of climate science investment.” And suggested that 27 full-time positions be implemented in 2017 itself, with 10 such positions in climate modelling.

The review also noted that, over the past five years, due to changes in government policy, “Australia’s involvement in climate and weather research has changed significantly” and “[the] overall climate science effort has reduced.”

Here’s what’s important to note: the review reiterates a clear distinction between climate science and climate change science— two phrases often used synonymously with one another.

The Australian Academy of Science outlines climate change science as “the study of the natural and human-caused long-term changes to the climate, including those changes that result from the addition of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.” Climate science, on the other hand, is more broad: like the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO), a natural climate driver, which is responsible for floods and tropical cyclones (La Niña) and droughts (El Niño). Since ENSO has no clear link to climate change at present, it’s place under the climate science umbrella is still one of importance— regardless of climate change or not.

Moreover, the report notes, “without a fundamental understanding of the climate, it is not possible to detect or understand climate change.”

[TK— quote from anyone who replies from http://www.gci.uq.edu.au/researchers]

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