More climate scientists needed to avoid expensive mistakes, review urges – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Pelicans at sunset.PHOTO: The CSIRO’s plans to reduce its climate teams last year triggered condemnation. (Supplied: Richard Kingsford, file photo)

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MAP: Australia

An overhaul of the nation’s climate research system has been recommended by Australia’s top scientists after a review found a critical lack of staff in key areas like climate modelling.

Key points:

  • The Australian Academy of Science says nation understaffed when it comes to climate projections and measurement
  • Review calls for 77 extra positions, or a new climate research agency
  • Accurate climate modelling can potentially avoid costly, unnecessary investments

For the Murray-Darling Basin — one of the nation’s most critical food-producing regions — that knowledge is crucial, according to the Australian Academy of Science.

The academy conducted a year-long review of the nation’s future capabilities, prompted by a major restructuring of climate teams at the CSIRO last year.

It found the nation was critically understaffed when it came to climate projections and measurement.

“We currently do not know whether rainfall evaporation is going to increase or decrease over [the Murray-Darling Basin] and this has obviously large implications for sourcing our food and profitability in those regions,” Professor Trevor McDougall, who led the review for the academy, said

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