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Climate Change

One of the key drivers affecting future water availability in South Australia will be climate change, which will place new pressures on water use and threaten supply.

This cross-cutting research theme supports the incorporation of climate adaptation policy into research outcomes from the Urban WaterEnvironmental Water and Water for Industry research themes.

It includes future scenarios, based on the best understanding at the time, that there are expected to be increases in demand and possible reductions in water supply to South Australia as a result of a changing climate.

In 2011, the Goyder Institute commenced a project to develop downscaled climate change projections for South Australia, that is, possible future climates generated at a local scale. There are over 40 global climate models (GCMs) used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for generating climate projections[1].  The Goyder Institute identified a subset of these GCMs based on their ability to reproduce the State’s climate drivers such as the Indian Ocean Dipole and the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO). This sub-set of GCMs were then used to generate climate projections at a local scale – providing the best available science to ensure that SA is Climate Ready. 

SA Climate Ready

SA Climate Ready is the most comprehensive set of downscaled climate projections data ever available in South Australia. Data is available for six climate variables (rainfall, temperature maximum, temperature minimum, areal potential evapotranspiration, solar radiation, vapour pressure deficit), using two emission scenarios (intermediate and high “representative concentration pathways”) through to 2100.

The key features of SA Climate Ready include:

  • Data aligned to the South Australian NRM regions, so it is directly relevant to region scale adaptation planning;
  • detailed data that was generated using an approach that has been successfully applied for hydrological impact research in southern Australia;
  • selection of global climate models based on their ability to represent the influence of climate drivers such as the Indian Ocean Dipole and the El Niño-Southern Oscillation on South Australia’s climate; and
  • results that were tested through an “application test bed” verifying the applicability of the climate projections data to hydrological modelling in South Australia.

Further Information

A series of supporting material is available from this project:

The detailed data for each weather station can be downloaded from the State Government’s Enviro Data SA website.

[1] A full list of GCMs is provided at

Photo: Claire Punter