Climate change modelling to inform decision-making (NESP 5.1)

By October 29th, 2021

Australia’s climate has already changed and is expected to continue to change over the coming century. As a result, decision-makers from across Australian sectors, industries, businesses and communities need the best available scientific information on climate change to better understand their current and future climate risks.

The ESCC Hub undertook research to understand the sources of some of the prominent model biases in ACCESS, with a focus on tropical rainfall and convection. Hub researchers have helped to reduce these biases through refinements of the model’s existing convection scheme, as well as designing a new convection scheme. This has resulted in an improved version of ACCESS with better representation of tropical rainfall and convection processes in the model simulations. This enhances confidence in Australian rainfall simulations in current and future climates.

The published model outputs of ACCESS adhere to strict best-practice CMIP protocols. This provides decision-makers in Australia with the confidence that ACCESS is following global best-practice for the production of climate change information and data to inform decision-making and management activities. ACCESS outputs have been continually used in national climate assessment reports, such as the State of the Climate reports co-produced by the BoM and CSIRO, and the CSIRO Report on Climate and Disaster Resilience. Simulations from ACCESS also featured recently in CSIRO’s presentation to the Bushfire Royal Commission and are likely to be utilised as critical input to future downscaled projections through current initiatives, such as the Australian Climate Service. ACCESS is the only Australian climate modelling system to have such wide-spread national and international impacts.

ACCESS is a critical tool for climate researchers in understanding past and current climates. In addition, climate change simulations and data produced by ACCESS provides critical information on how our climate may change into the future with increasing greenhouse gas emissions. The development of ACCESS has also transformed Australia’s modelling capability and trained a generation of climate science experts. The ESCC Hub has been instrumental in the development and improvement of ACCESS to ensure the resulting information about our climate is as accurate as possible. This information is already informing national and international climate assessments which are used by governments and decision-makers as sources of credible, robust and accurate information to inform current and future climate smart decisions. Climate information and data produced by ACCESS will continue to contribute climate change information and data to inform policy development and decision-making outcomes for Australian stakeholders.

Additional details on the application and evaluation of ACCESS are available from the ESCC Hub website; and the NESP5.1 Synthesis Report, which outlines the improvements to, benefits of and applications of Australia’s national climate model, ACCESS.