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Climate models show Sydney could get drier or wetter. Which scenario do we choose when making decisions? Joel Carrett/AAP

Warmer, wetter, hotter, drier? How to choose between climate futures

Depending on what model you use, climate change could make Sydney a little bit warmer, much hotter, wetter, or drier. Which one should we use? When it comes to planning for climate change, it's important to look at all the possible futures.
Water from coal seam gas mining would be treated at a reverse osmosis plant before being re-injected into the ground. CSIRO

Can water from coal seam gas be re-injected into the ground?

The Queensland government wants companies to use waste water from coal seam gas extraction for useful purposes such as recharging aquifers. New CSIRO research shows that, with careful monitoring, it can be done.
Whether leaving early or staying to defend, a reliable and adaptable bushfire survival plan is a must. AAP Image/David Mariuz

Bushfires kill, but knowing exactly how might make them less deadly

The latest round of bushfires, which claimed 27 homes in the Adelaide Hills, has once again highlighted the importance of planning for the worst. Mercifully, no human lives were lost, and it will be important…
The future of the Parkes radio telescope in doubt in a climate of cutbacks. Flickr/Steve Dorman

2014, the year that was: Science + Technology

It’s been a year of incredible feats in science and technology but also a year of uncertainty too as the Australian government’s…
RV Investigator at sea – It will be formally commissioned in Hobart today. CSIRO

Explainer: the RV Investigator’s role in marine science

We know more about the surface of the moon than we do about our deepest oceans, and only 12% of the ocean floor within Australia’s Exclusive Economic Zone has so far been mapped. The reason for this is…
Some websites can drive you crazy. Flickr/Jonathan Brodsky

A new way to fix those frustrating websites

How many times have you been looking for information online, only to find yourself going round and round in circles? Or you’ve spent too long poking around a website trying to find what you need, only…
CSIRO’s solar-concentrating mirrors can be used for several purposes, including creating high-energy ‘SolarGas’. CSIRO

Australia should export more ideas and fewer greenhouse emissions

As climate negotiators meet at the United Nations' Lima summit, which comes hot on the heels of the landmark US-China climate deal, there is a renewed focus on how the world can move to a lower-emissions…
They’re waterproof and tough – not to mention colourful – but plastic notes were developed for their unforgeability. Lis Ferla/Flickr

Proceeds of crime: how polymer banknotes were invented

Welcome to CSIRO Inventions, a series looking at the discoveries and innovations borne from Australia’s national science agency. In this first instalment, we outline the story behind the plastic money…
A male Onthophagus vacca, the species of dung beetle being released this week in Western Australia. CSIRO

French beetles flown in to clean up Australia’s cattle dung

The average cow drops between 10 and 12 dung pads (also known as “pats”) every day and just one of those cow pads can produce up to 3,000 flies in a fortnight. With more than 28 million cattle in Australia…
The Rufous Scrub-bird: will it have to move to Tasmania to survive? Allan Richardson

Finding new nests for birds threatened by climate change

Rufous Scrub-birds have been calling loudly from the mountains of eastern Australia ever since Australia parted from Gondwana 65 million years ago. They are still there today – as noisy as ever, though…
The Coalition government seems to take a very keen interest in medical science, but what about the other fields? AAP/Dan Peled

Science funding is a national investment – not an expense

As a relatively small and young country, by population if not by landmass, Australia has played a noticeable role on the world stage when it comes to science. Contributions to new technologies, from Wi-Fi…
As part of the planned restructure, some CSIRO staff are being relocated to the Black Mountain Laboratories in Canberra. AAP/Alan Porritt

CSIRO in Australia: looking to the future

Taxi drivers often ask me what I do for a living, and when I say I work for CSIRO, they get animated and show they know and love us: “Yes, you did Wi-Fi and the plastic money.” It’s only part of the story…
CSIRO is contending with a A$111 million hit to its budget over four years. Bidgee/Wikimedia Commons

CSIRO risks backing the wrong horse as it reacts to budget cuts

What happens to CSIRO when the federal government decides to strip away A$111 million over four years from its A$733 million annual contribution to the organisation’s budget? We are beginning to find out…
Good news, entomologists! Tiny insects, such as this Australian weevil, can be scanned and viewed in full colour and 3D from anywhere in the world. John Tann/Flickr

A big tick for entomologists: new 3D colour scans of insects

Observation is a cornerstone of science – we learn much about the universe and how it works just by looking at it. But observation can be a huge challenge. It’s easy to forget that human eyes allow us…

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