Climate change and the impacts of extreme events on Australia’s Wet Tropics

Project 7.3

Project Leader: Justin Welbergen – JCU

JCU researcher Justin Welbergen and his team have scaled down 62 years (1950 – present) of Wet Tropics’ weather data from 5x5 kilometre scale to 250x250 metre scale, and linked these downscaled data to hourly variation in the main microhabitats (including leaf litter, soil, and different heights in the canopy) used by terrestrial flora and fauna.

“This means we can accurately estimate and map the temperature in main microhabitats at any given location within the Wet Tropics, at any given time and on any given day within the last 62 years. For example, at 12 pm on August 17th, 1953, the temperature high up in the canopy was 21.8 degrees Celsius in Mossman Gorge (-16.468832 degrees South, 145.326447 degrees East”, Welbergen says.

The new data set enables the team to relate historical regimes of extreme weather events, such as cyclones and heatwaves, to current species distributions, and predict how such events will affect the biodiversity in the Wet Tropics in the future.


Contact: Justin Welbergen

See more information about this project here.

Related Projects: 
Project 7.3 'Climate change and the impacts of extreme climatic events on Australia's Wet Tropics biodiversity'