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Analysis and Comment (17)

Australia’s weather is influenced by warm water movements in the Pacific. Australia’s weather is influenced by warm water movements in the Pacific. Flickr/Shayan USA

Explainer: El Niño and La Niña

We wait in anticipation of droughts and floods when El Niño and La Niña are forecast but what are these climatic events? The simplest way to understand El Niño and La Niña is through the sloshing around…
Incredibly cold and very pretty, but not that enlightening when it comes to climate change. Incredibly cold and very pretty, but not that enlightening when it comes to climate change. EPA/RICK WARNE

US cold wave implies nothing about global warming

The central and eastern US has just been in the midst of a major cold wave, with large regions dropping below zero F (-17.7C) and wind chills reaching below -30F (-34C). That is fact. The problem is that…
Women: first to mobilise, last to be considered. Women: first to mobilise, last to be considered. Simminch

Women worse off when it comes to natural disasters

The Philippines. Pakistan. New Orleans. Sri Lanka. All have suffered catastrophic disasters in recent times. And the emergence of “climate refugees” – populations displaced by extreme weather events…
Australia’s very hot January was followed by a very warm September and a worldwide record for November. Australia’s very hot January was followed by a very warm September and a worldwide record for November. BaboMike/Flickr

2013 was Australia’s hottest year, warm for much of the world

The Bureau of Meteorology has confirmed 2013 as Australia’s hottest year since records began in 1910. Average temperatures over the continent have been 1.2C above the 1961-1990 average, breaking the previous…
Drought is part of life in Australia. Drought is part of life in Australia. Flickr/Schilling 2

Drought conditions return to Australia’s eastern states

While much of Australia has received average to above average rainfall over recent months, parts of Australia such as western Queensland are in the middle of a drought. Drought has been a feature of the…
What is the relationship between carbon dioxide and temperature rise? What is the relationship between carbon dioxide and temperature rise? Werner Wittersheim

Explainer: what is climate sensitivity?

Humans are emitting CO2 and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. As these gases build up they trap extra heat and make the climate warmer. But how much warmer? Scientists have long understood that…
We factcheck Malcolm Turnbull and Anthony Albanese on this week’s Q&A program. We factcheck Malcolm Turnbull and Anthony Albanese on this week’s Q&A program.

FactCheck Q&A: broadband, climate change and Labor Party reform

UPDATED: We were inundated with ideas for statements to check from Monday night’s Q&A on ABC TV. Here, our experts tackle four claims on three of the most requested topics. 1. Anthony Albanese: claims…
It’s a good job they come with built-in jumpers. It’s a good job they come with built-in jumpers. PA/Niall Carson

How cold has it really been in the northern hemisphere?

If you are one of the many people with a larger than normal heating bill for recent months, you would probably be under the impression that it has been exceptionally cold in the northern hemisphere. We’ve…
It’s getting trickier to forecast future weather, but new models are helping. It’s getting trickier to forecast future weather, but new models are helping. Jay Wood

Seasonal climate forecasts: reading tea-leaves in a digital age

Tea-leaves, entrails, cockatoos: we all want to forecast the future. Weather forecasts have become so commonplace we rarely think about the technology, research, computing power and millions of observations…
Whither the weather: the Bureau of Meteorology’s dynamic climate modelling is not the only forecasting method. Whither the weather: the Bureau of Meteorology’s dynamic climate modelling is not the only forecasting method. AAP/Paul Miller

Predicting El Nino: a tale of two authorities

Over the last two summers, Eastern Australia has experienced two of the hardest hitting La Niña events since 1974. Widespread floods resulted across great swaths of the country. As expected, the La Niña…
A precise weather forecast, months in advance, will never be possible. A precise weather forecast, months in advance, will never be possible. Matt Smith

A chaotic beast, probably: wacky weather and climate forecasting

“Prediction is very difficult. Especially about the future” – so said Neils Bohr, the Danish physicist and 1922 Nobel Prize winner. And you know what? I think the bloke was onto something there, especially…
Climate models allow us to look at the planet’s future climate. Climate models allow us to look at the planet’s future climate. Truthout.org

Explainer: climate modelling

We know the climate is changing because that’s what climate models tell us. But what exactly is a climate model, and are they cutting-edge science or modelling madness? What is a climate model? Climate…
The planet is warming up but a carbon price is not the way to help. The planet is warming up but a carbon price is not the way to help. Flickr/Pilottage

Climate change: it’s inevitable, we have to adapt, let’s spend wisely

The world is getting warmer and wetter, almost undoubtedly due to the fact that we are burning up fossil fuels at an incredible rate. While this change in our climate will lead to some positive opportunities…
Are these the sorts of speakers you go to a university to hear? AAP. Are these the sorts of speakers you go to a university to hear? AAP.

Why academics should steer clear of public debate

The most important issue raised by Lord Monckton’s controversial appearance on two Western Australian campuses is not the limit of free speech or Monckton’s scientific competence. Rather it is whether…
Al Gore’s launched a new campaign, but is anybody listening? Al Gore’s launched a new campaign, but is anybody listening? Juampe López/flickr

Who’s afraid of big, bad coal? Al Gore’s ‘climate reality’ is a pointless fairytale

With the momentum of his Inconvenient Truth gradually fading, Al Gore has launched a new climate change action campaign - the Climate Reality Project. The centrepiece of the campaign is a day of action…
The Galileo Movement co-opts the father of science’s name to pursue an anti-science agenda. The Galileo Movement co-opts the father of science’s name to pursue an anti-science agenda.

Rogues or respectable? How climate change sceptics spread doubt and denial

CLEARING UP THE CLIMATE DEBATE: Professor Ian Enting takes a look at the front groups and published texts of Australia’s climate sceptics. The “name-calling” in what passes for public debate on climate…
The decade ending 2010 was the warmest on record for Australia. The decade ending 2010 was the warmest on record for Australia. AAP

The greenhouse effect is real: here’s why

CLEARING UP THE CLIMATE DEBATE: Bureau of Meteorology scientist Karl Braganza explains why we know the climate is changing, and what’s causing it. In public discussions of climate change, the full range…

Research and News (8)

Research Briefs (16)

Melting the Ice Age

A commonly-held belief for many years - that 90 million years ago, a continental ice sheet formed during the Late Cretaceous…

Sea level affected tropics in ice age

University of Hawaii at Manoa researchers have investigated preserved geological rainfall pattern clues, or “proxies”, during…

Arctic begins to resemble the south

A large scale study that looks at changing seasonality in the northern hemisphere has been completed. Researchers from 17…

No tree rings after volcanic eruptions

Trees rings may not provide a full record of climate cooling as large enough temperature drops can lead to very short or…