Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick

I’m a climate scientist interested in extreme events. In my research, I study how to better understand the anthropogenic signal behind heatwaves and their impacts. Heatwaves have become my passion – they are such complex events that have such high impacts.

My work on heatwaves has seen me recognised both nationally and internationally. I was short listed as a member of “team extreme” in the 2014 Eureka Prizes, I received a 2013 NSW Young Tall Poppy Award, I’ve worked closely with Australia’s Climate Council, and I have ongoing collaborations with international colleagues who are leaders in my field. I co-ordinated the first interdisciplinary Australian heatwave workshop in 2014, with the second following in 2015.

I developed Scorcher, where members of the general public can track heatwaves at many different sites across Australia. I also take on an active communication role on all things heatwaves, extremes and climate change. I strongly believe in climate science communication – who better else is there to convey the facts, than the experts themselves?

Links:

Personal website
UNSW Climate Change Research Center
Articles on The Conversation
Scorcher

Follow me on Twitter @sarahinscience

Matthew England

As a kid I grew up surfing and open water swimming every weekend here in Sydney and have been hooked on the oceans ever since. My first degree was in pure and applied mathematics but I quickly transitioned to oceanography during my PhD as I loved the sense of adventure and discovery that came with trying to understand how the ocean works.

Today I use computational models, observations, mathematical analyses and theory to study the dynamics of the oceans and their role in climate variability and climate change on time-scales ranging from seasons to millennia. I am interested in what makes our climate system tick, particularly the role played by the oceans and also sea-ice.

My work targets tropical climate modes, polar processes, the meridional overturning circulation and ocean heat uptake. While I dabble in paleoclimate problems (because they’re fascinating!), most of my time is spent studying present and future ocean processes and how they impact our climate system.

I supervise PhD projects in physical oceanography, atmosphere-ocean-ice interactions and climate dynamics. Specific projects can be tailored to fit the interests and skills of mathematics / physics graduates in the following topic areas: global water-mass formation, climate modes of variability, ocean ventilation, tropical and high-latitude climate dynamics, ocean drivers of climate variability and extremes, and global climate change.

Links:

Personal website
ARC Centre of Excellence in Climate Extremes
UNSW Climate Change Research Centre
Articles on The Conversation

Follow me on Twitter @ProfMattEngland

Shane Keating

If you looked down on the ocean from space, you would see an intricate tapestry of mesoscale eddies , 30-300 km across, interwoven with submesoscale vortices and fronts on scales of 1-30 km, and surface waves and turbulence on scales smaller than 1 km. My research uses cutting-edge developments in the fields of applied mathematics, satellite remote sensing, and physical oceanography to understand the profound influence of these features on ocean circulation, climate, and marine ecology.

Using ultra-high-resolution observations from land, sea, and space, we are now beginning to unravel the ocean’s tapestry of eddies, fronts and waves and understand, model, and predict their role in mixing and dispersion in the ocean.

 

Links:

Personal website
UNSW School of Mathematics and Statistics
ARC Centre of Excellence in Climate Extremes
Articles on The Conversation

Follow my on Twitter @science_shane

 

 

 

Jan Zika

The planet is getting warmer. The ocean plays a massive role. It is partly our friend because it is a huge heat bank and can slow down the rate of warming. But it can also fight back by lifting sea levels and making cyclones more powerful. It also suffers through damage to the biosphere. We probably know less about how the ocean works than we do about outer space, yet if we knew just a bit more it would really help us manage in the future.

Since Newton we’ve had a pretty good idea of how physical systems work – at least those that aren’t super tiny, close to absolute zero or travelling close to the speed of light. The ocean and atmosphere thankfully fall into that category. This means we can write down equations describing the climate and the challenge is solving them. Sometimes this involves a few scribbles on the back of an envelope, a few pages of careful sums or getting a super computer to process a few trillion calculations. In the end without maths we can neither understand how the climate works nor make accurate predictions about what might happen.

Links:

Personal website
UNSW School of Mathematics and Statistics
ARC Centre of Excellence in Climate Extremes

Follow me on Twitter: @JanDZika