Cloudy with a chance of news: Communicating climate one year on

Stephanie Hall (Monash University), Jane Bunn (Seven Network), Paul Higgins (ABC), The Hon. Lily D'Ambrosio MP (Victorian Government) and Dr David Holmes (Monash University).

Melburnians have been gaining better insight into historical climate trends and data over the past 12 months through a Monash University and Victorian state government initiative.

The flagship program of the Monash Climate Change Communication Research Hub, Climate Communicators, brings together University researchers, weather presenters, climate scientists and television networks to communicate climate information to hundreds of thousands of news-watchers each broadcast.

Thanks to a $287,636 grant from the Victorian government, the program has been run collaboratively with both the ABC and Seven Network. Based on its initial success, Victoria’s WIN News network will soon provide this information to viewers in Bendigo, Ballarat, Shepparton, Traralgon and Wodonga.

The Seven Network in Queensland has also debuted the program in Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

Stemming from the success of Climate Communicators, the Monash Climate Change Communication Research Hub delivers Australia’s first dedicated climate column to more than 1.5 million readers in collaboration with Leader Community News – with columns tailored to readers’ local area.

Today (Thursday 27 June), the Monash Climate Change Communication Research Hub celebrates its first year as a national leader in climate communication and awareness.

Professor Margaret Gardner AO, Monash University Vice Chancellor and President, said the research hub exemplified how the University encouraged its researchers, staff, students and graduates to be agents of change in the community.

“People need this complex data and evidence communicated in ways that help them identify what actions need to be taken,” Professor Gardner said.

“We’re grateful for the support of the Victorian government and Australian media to give our thought leaders the opportunity to communicate the latest climate change data to a national audience.”

Dr David Holmes, Director of the Monash Climate Change Communication Research Hub, said providing factual information on climate change and its risks empowered Victorians to make effective decisions about how to best manage those risks.

“The success of climate communicators derives from the fact that weather presenters are highly trusted and skilled communicators with a capacity to reach very large audiences,” he said.

This project is one of 24 to be funded through the Victorian state government’s Virtual Centre for Climate Change Innovation, worth $4.3 million over two years.

“Climate change is impacting our communities, and it’s vitally important that we, as a government, are equipping our people with the knowledge and skills to understand climate science,” said Lily D’Ambrosio, Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change.

“This project is one of the many ways we’re innovating with communities, businesses and researchers to prepare Victoria for a changing climate.”

To see some of the segments that have appeared across the ABC and Seven Network, click here.

For more information about the Monash Climate Change Communication Research Hub, please visit: monash.edu/mcccrh.