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Climate change research

Climate change is a global phenomenon but the impacts will be felt locally and regionally. New South Wales (NSW) has a very variable climate and a diversity of habitats.

The organisation undertakes research and monitoring to better understand the impacts of a changing climate on natural systems and processes in NSW. This research will enable us to better understand the effects of climate change on biodiversity, and to develop appropriate adaptation responses. This may include managing our system of protected areas to be more resilient and minimising the effect of climate change on natural assets in NSW.

All sectors and industries will be exposed to the impacts of climate change. Information about future changes to the natural environment will be important for sectors to assess and prioritise their climate change risks, identify vulnerability and develop adaptation response strategies.

Recognising the growing need for new and expanded climate change information, OEH established the NSW Climate Change Science Research Network. The Network provides independent technical advice to help target our climate change research and determine future priorities. Members of the Network include leading academic researchers from a range of disciplines from NSW universities as well as the Bureau of Meteorology and representatives from OEH. By collaborating with the NSW research community, OEH is helping ensure that climate change research is timely and relevant to decision-makers.

In partnership with the Climate Change Research Centre at the University of NSW, the organisation has developed information about projected changes to temperature, rainfall and evaporation across the NSW 2012 regions. The information was assessed for its impacts on physical processes such as fire, flooding, and coastal hazards, and the subsequent effects on NSW ecosystems, soils and hydrology. The final report, called the NSW Climate Impact Profile, was published in 2010.

OEH is also developing new, fine-scale climate projections for NSW and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) using a regional climate model called the NSW and ACT Regional Climate Model or NARCliM. NARCliM will improve our ability to predict changes in temperature, wind and rainfall in the state which, in turn, will provide critical information to manage the impacts of climate change on health, settlements, agriculture, weather extremes and services, such as water and energy supplies. For more information, see improving regional climate change projections.

A strong climate change research base will help us develop more effective policies to adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change for NSW.

Projects

More information

Page last updated: 19 March 2013