Future Climate

Future global climate is influenced by both internal and external factors. Internal forces include naturally occurring oscillations of the weather through to seasonal changes such as El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) or decadal changes such as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). External forcing factors such as land use change, solar variation, aerosols, ozone and volcanic eruptions are also very influential on the future climate. These however are less easy to quantify than greenhouse gases, which are the major human-induced forcing factor contributing to future climate change.

There have been numerous reputable scientific studies of the future global climate. These studies utilise global climate models (GCMs) to investigate plausible future climates, sometimes supplemented with additional fine resolution modelling techniques. The investigation of these futures is primarily undertaken by simulating the future global climate under different greenhouse gas emissions scenarios.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) regularly undertakes an assessment of global climate change literature. Their 2013 Fifth Assessment Report is the latest (as of 2014) set of global assessments, the first being conducted in 1990. Read more about future global climate change.


The Regional Climate Change Explorer uses a regional approach to navigate through key climate change messages for Australia. A map interface allows users to drill down through key messages about the future climate across three scales (regionalisation schemes); Super-clusters, clusters and sub-clusters. The Explorer includes summary statements for selected variables including temperature and rainfall as well as information on climate extremes and marine and coastal projections.


In Australia, past assessments of future climate have been undertaken using previous generation climate modelling (called CMIP3). Many existing global and Australian studies of the future climate and its impact therefore use this previously available data. Analysis contained on this site includes information on how the current projections differ to previous studies undertaken. The projections for Australia found on this website are generally quite similar for those using the earlier generation of models.