Dr. Alan Finkel, Australia’s chief scientist, said in his first public appearance before the Senate that Australia needs a “highly effective” climate research amid increasing heatwaves in the country.
However, Finkel only learned last Thursday that some scientists are at risk of termination from their jobs by the government. The Sydney Morning Herald reported that the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) will terminate a total of 350 staff in two years. Bureau of Meteorology Head Rob Vertessy has also told the Senate estimates that he was not aware of the job cuts until it was announced in public. For Finkel and Vertessy, this mass layoff would be untimely because they need more people to do research, especially now that there are increasing occurrences of extreme hot weather in various parts of Australia.
“There is no question that Australia needs a continuous and highly effective commitment to climate science, both to meet our national needs and to fulfill our international commitments,” Finkel said.
Finkel reiterated that climate research is important in understanding what is happening to the southern hemisphere where extremely hot weather are commonly experienced. “Our most immediate national concern must be to ensure that long-term data collections will be funded and staffed, and that the climate modelling capabilities developed by the CSIRO will continue to be made available for scientists to use and refine,” Finkel added.
Just this weekend, Yahoo News Australia reported that Perth battled its record-breaking hot weather. Perth is struggling through its longest run of days above 39 degrees Celsius. Last month, Sydney experienced around 40 degrees Celsius. These temperatures are almost near to the highest temperature ever recorded in Oodnadatta, South Australia in 1960 which is 50.7 Celsius.
Climate scientists earlier warn people of the impending hot weather in the country. They are also worried about the job cuts in the CSIRO which fall heavily on climate and environmental work.