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Environmental change

Climate Change

Australia's climate is changing with a prediction from very high to medium confidence of warmer temperatures, reduced precipitation, and increased risk of drought, a greater frequency of extreme temperature and rainfall events, more frequent and intense fires, and susceptibility to sea-level rise.

Understanding past climate variability puts modern trends into context and helps improve the accuracy and certainty of future predictions to ensure Australia's future environmental, economic, and social prosperity. 

Environmental researchers can reconstruct variability in past climates,  such as changes in precipitation, temperature and the Southern hemisphere Westerly winds, concentrations of greenhouse gases, glacial cycles in Antarctica, solar variability from key sites in the Southern Hemisphere. 

A diverse range of archives, corals, ice cores, lake sedimentary deposits, rivers, dunes and glacial valleys, speleothems, and tree rings,  capture different time scales.

International collaborations with global networks, such as the Past Global Changes Initiative,  provide an opportunity to study key sites in the Northern Hemisphere. 

Techniques used to reconstruct climate are based on the measurements of naturally occurring radionuclides, isotopic, geochemical and biological indicators.