Australia is a climate exposed country with many industries dependent on favourable climatic conditions to ensure profitability. Our climate exposure is exacerbated by the combined influences of large internal variability coupled with increasingly intense extreme events like drought, floods and bush fires driven by anthropogenic forcing. Many primary producers and government entities (at the local, state and federal levels) are increasingly including climate information in their 1 to 10-years business planning tools and assessments.
These factors have contributed to increasingly strong commercial and government interest in accessing climate forecasts that extend existing seasonal forecasts to the multi-year and decadal timescales. The ability to predict significant variations in the future climate and identify periods of increased profitability or risk on these timescales would be invaluable for industry to better consider climate in their mid to longer term business revenue and risk assessment planning tools.
Recognising the huge potential benefit of a decadal forecasting system to the Australian economy, the Australian Federal Government has directed CSIRO to prioritise this research effort as part of the Climate Science Centre (as given in the Government’s Statement of Expectation for CSIRO). CSIRO will invest $37 Million over 10 years into the decadal climate forecasting effort within the Climate Science Centre. Under the direction of its Minister, CSIRO was directed to fund a 10 year effort into decadal climate forecasting.