”CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology will continue to provide observations and research so Australia’s responses are underpinned by clear empirical data,” the report says.
Other findings reveal the past decade was the nation’s warmest on record, sea levels rose between 1.5 millimetre and 3 millimetres a year in the south and east and between 7 millimetres and 10 millimetres in the north between 1993 and 2009, and sea surface temperatures have risen 0.4 degrees since 1960.
The release of the report comes as many Australian scientists expressed concern over attacks on the science underpinning man-made global warming, fearing it is damaging the reputation of science as a whole.
The former Australian of the Year and long-time climate campaigner Tim Flannery last month urged climate scientist to talk to the ”confused Australian public” and answer their questions about the science.
The director of the Bureau of Meteorology, Greg Ayres, told the Herald the purpose of the climate snapshot was to remind the public that the bureau had been collecting objective and observable climate information for a century.
”I would like to invite the Australian public to use … the information generated in the national interest to reach an opinion on climate change because it is objective information,” Dr Ayers said.
He said the trends in temperatures back up the findings of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change showing human processes, such as burning fossil fuels, was the primary cause of global warming.
The panel’s findings have been criticised recently because of errors found in its landmark fourth assessment report, including an unsubstantiated claim the Himalayan glaciers could disappear by 2035.
The UN has invited the InterAcademy Panel on International Issues to conduct an independent review of the work of the intergovernmental panel, which will report in August.
The CSIRO’s chief executive, Megan Clark, said yesterday that while society would have a debate about the science underpinning climate change – much like previous debates about the link between smoking and lung cancer – the CSIRO’s role was to release ”unemotional” scientific data.
The release of the report comes as the federal government prepares to refocus its message on climate change after its failure to pass its emissions trading scheme in Parliament last year.
The government is now expected to focus on the social and environmental consequences of unmitigated climate change.
The Minister for Climate Change, Senator Penny Wong, is also understood to have held meetings with Australian climate scientists to hone the government’s message on climate science before the election