CSIRO's research is focused on the following:

Understanding tropical cyclones

Tropical cyclones threaten northern Australia every year. Recent Australian flooding and cyclonic events can be largely explained by a strong La Niña. However, sea surface temperatures off the northern Australian coast in 2011 were at or near record levels. The extremely high sea surface temperatures are part of a significant warming of the oceans that has been observed in the past 50 years. These pages provide some information about the causes, occurrence and impacts of tropical cyclones.

Cause and impacts of flooding

This overview explains the causes of flooding in extreme weather events, and the ecological impacts of floods. Information is also provided about repairing flood damaged buildings.

Modelling dam breaks and tsunamis

CSIRO mathematicians are creating computational models of events like floods, dam breaks and tsunamis to aid understanding and planning for these phenomena.

Causes and impacts of extreme weather events

Learn how our research helps understand the causes and impacts of natural disasters.


CSIRO's research is used to respond to bushfires in many ways, from weather warnings to fire-fighter training to predicting fire behaviour.

Climate change and drought in eastern Australia

Australia has a highly variable climate with a naturally occurring cycle of wet and dry periods. Droughts are an expected product of this variability.

Extreme weather grows from the peaks and troughs of variability in the climate.

Severe storms and long runs of extremely hot days generated in the atmosphere can cause high rainfall and heat waves that lead to floods and fires, damaging winds and waves.

Ecosystems, settlements, agriculture and industry have all developed coping strategies to address their vulnerability to severe weather events. With warning and preparation regions, businesses and communities can become more resilient to impacts from severe weather events.

Ongoing research explores options to minimise the impacts of severe weather events using observation of past events and their effects, testing of new building practices and better prediction of future climate and severe weather patterns.