Editor's note

The coaster on the cover of this edition is a novel way of showing climate change data.

The two rings show the variation in temperatures for Canberra – on a daily and monthly basis – compared to the long-term average.

We’ve shown Canberra because, of the capital cities, it came out on top, with 2017 temperatures 1.7 degrees above the city’s long-term average. In south-west Queensland, Charleville had an increase of 2.6 degrees.

In the Features section you can also learn about a job to die for – swimming over Ningaloo Reef. Yes, the researchers have to study seaweed, but what a magnificent office to work in.Another feature examines the implications of a trial on Bruny Island where household solar systems and batteries were linked to the electricity network to help manage electricity supplies at times of peak demand. The researchers say this smart electricity technology could be scaled up to cover distribution systems across Australia, improving electricity security, driving down energy prices and cutting carbon emissions.