Based on the State of the Climate report from CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology, March 2010:
Two of the nation's top research bodies - the Bureau of Meteorology and the CSIRO - have come out strongly in defence of the science behind global warming.
The leading research bodies say the evidence is irrefutable: climate change is real and the link with human activity is beyond doubt.
Universities have also joined the fray, saying it is time to stand up for Australian science and research. "We've had some serious tabloid junking of ... science and research in our community," Professor Peter Coaldrake, the chairman of Universities Australia, said. "If the two bodies together come out and make a statement of this sort, then we in the community have to acknowledge that."
The weather bureau's director, Greg Ayers, says a century's worth of climate records show definitively that weather patterns are shifting and the planet has already been warming. There are simply more extremely hot days, and fewer cold and wet ones. "When we look back over the last 50 years or so and look at the succeeding decade as we roll forward, what we see ... is a trend of increasing temperatures from decade to decade," Dr Ayers said. "We also see shifts in patterns of rainfall with the drying in the east and the south and the west of the continent.
"There is an increase in temperature in the surface oceans around Australia as well that goes hand in hand with the ... surface temperature increases over the continent, and there's also ... a rise in sea level."
Open to public
Dr Ayers says the bureau's data is available for the public to scrutinise. "For the Australian region, we have around 100 climate reference stations, as we call them, where we pay a great deal of attention to doing the best possible measurements," he said.
"I'm very pleased to be able to say that our climate record in Australia is as good or better than any comparable record anywhere in the world." But Mr Ayers says the weather bureau is primarily responsible for measuring the climate, whereas it is the CSIRO that handles climate projections. The CSIRO says on its current path, the planet is heading for a rise in temperature of a further 2 degrees Celsius this century.
The head of the organisation, Dr Megan Clark, says the evidence is clear. "Hotter days, more extreme heat and less rainfall are the snapshot of Australia's climate now, not the forecast," she said. "In Australia, we're seeing that all of Australia is warming, in every state, over every season."
Dr Clark says it is clear the climate is being affected by the carbon emissions caused by human activity. "Our scientists and those around the world are now about 90 per cent sure that these things are happening at the same time and are linked," she said.
More from the Dr Megan Clark, Head of the CSIRO
And from the ABC interview.