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State of the Climate

The State of the Climate series is a biennial joint publication between Australia’s two leading climate science agencies — CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology. 

The series draws on the latest climate research, encompassing observations, analyses and projections to describe year-to-year variability and longer-term changes in Australia’s climate. The 2020 report is a synthesis of our current understanding of climate in Australia and includes new information about Australia’s climate of the past, present and future. 

Download State of the Climate 2020. PDF (4 MB)

[A map outline of Australia with an illustration of a parent and child standing on a hill looking over the Australian landscape.]

Our climate shapes the lives of all Australians.

[The map expands revealing more of the scene with the text reading State of the Climate 2020]

So how is our climate changing and why?

Despite some slowdown during COVID-19,

[The scene changes to a graph displaying the carbon emissions rates labelled CO2 parts per million and dating back to 800,000 years ago. Text on the left-hand side of the screen reads Global CO2 concentrations are now higher than any time in the last 2 million years]

global carbon dioxide concentrations are now higher than any time in the last 2 million years.

[The graph shifts to one side and a magnifying glass comes onto the screen magnifying the sharp increase in emissions since 1500 AD]

The enhanced greenhouse effect is a major driver of our changing climate.

[Text on screen reads The enhanced greenhouse effect is a major drive of our changing climate]

[The screen shifts to a graph showing temperature changes over time, text on the right-hand reading Australia's temperatures continue to rise with a graph illustrating an upward trend since 1900]

Australia's temperatures continue to rise, with more frequent and intense heatwaves. These trends are projected to continue.

[An illustration of a tropical forest with the text increased dangerous fire weather days comes on screen]

The number of dangerous fire weather days is increasing,

[Animated fire comes on screen]

with longer fire seasons for the east and south of the country.

[The camera pans across onto animated plains showing the grasslands burning]

Over time, long-term rainfall patterns have shifted.

[Text comes on the bottom of the screen overlaid into the animation reading the southern half of Australia is becoming drier]

The southern half of Australia is becoming drier during the cooler months,

[The grass in the animation wilts and falls away]

and combined with warming temperatures, there will be more time spent in severe drought.

[The scene shifts to an overview of the animated rainforest with rain pouring down and text reading Wet season rainfall over central and northern parts has increased]

In contrast, wet season rainfall over central and northern parts has increased.

[The scene changes to an animated ocean with arrows darting into the water]

[Text comes on screen reading our oceans are acidifying with multiple down arrows next to PH to symbolize the increased acidity of the oceans]

The oceans are absorbing some of the additional carbon emitted by humans.

As this happens they are acidifying.

Ocean temperatures continue to increase,

[The animation shows us a view over a clear ocean with the text ocean temperatures continue to increase]

and marine heatwaves are becoming more frequent and severe.

[An animation of fish swimming in the depths of the ocean with the text beside it reading Marine heatwaves are becoming more frequent and severe]

As a result of the warming oceans, sea levels are rising and the rate of increase is accelerating.

[An animated graph shows the rising sea levels since 1880 and the text above reads sea levels are rising]

Looking ahead, all these trends are projected to continue, though reducing global emissions

[An animated man and woman stand on a hillside locking across to a city in the distance]

will lead to less warming and impacts.

[The scene shrinks being the image within an outline of the map of Australia]

With better science than ever before, State of the Climate can help Australians better plan and adapt for our changing climate.

[Text on screen State of the Climate 2020 above the Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology logo, and to the right the CSIRO logo,]

State of the Climate 2020


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