Plenary speakers and panellists

Dr Greg Ayers, Bureau of Meteorology

Greg AyersDr Greg Ayers commenced as Director of Meteorology at the Australian Bureau of Meteorology in May 2009. Previously he had been Chief of CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, where he had responsibly for approximately 550 staff plus more than 150 students and visitors, as well as management of Australia’s Marine National Facility, the Southern Surveyor. His scientific interests have been wide-ranging, stretching from polar atmospheric chemistry and ice core composition, to the roles of atmospheric particles and clouds in the climate system, to air pollution, atmospheric acidity, acid formation, and acid deposition, and indoor air quality and human health.

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Dr Cameron Briggs, CSIRO

Dr Cameron Briggs is currently Strategy Development Manager for Advanced Coal Technology in CSIRO. He holds PhD in physics and an MBA from the University of Queensland. Over the last 4 years Cameron has been heavily involved in establishing a number of CCS projects in China and Australia.

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Dr Gillian Cambers, Pacific Climate Change Science Program

Gillian CambersDr Gillian Cambers obtained a BSc in geography from the University of Bristol, U.K., and a PhD in environmental sciences from the University of East Anglia, U.K. Her main fields of interest and expertise are climate change; coastal zone management and especially beach dynamics; environmental education and communication; and small island sustainability. Residing in the Caribbean for more than 25 years, she worked for the Governments of Barbados and the British Virgin Islands; for international organizations such as United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, United Nations Development Program, Organization of American States, Caribbean and Asian Development Banks, among others; for regional and international non-governmental organisations; and for the private sector. She has worked in more than 40 different countries, mainly in the Caribbean, Indian Ocean and Pacific regions. She was Review Editor of the small island chapter in the 2007 Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Working Group II Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. At present she is the Program Manager for the Pacific Climate Change Science Program, based in Melbourne, Australia and working for the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation and the Bureau of Meteorology.

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Dr Lynda Chambers, Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research & Bureau of Meteorology

Lynda ChambersDr Lynda Chambers specialises the interface of climate with southern hemisphere flora and fauna. She has published extensively on phenology, migration, species abundance, climate variability and change, climate extremes, and forecasting. Lynda is a project leader for the National Ecological Meta Database and the citizen science project ClimateWatch. Other current roles include the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility Terrestrial Biodiversity Steering Committee and a lead author on the National Marine Climate Change and Adaptation Report Card. Lynda was a contributing author to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report (Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability).

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Dr John Church, Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research

John ChurchDr John Church is an oceanographer with the Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research and the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre. He was co-convening lead author for the Chapter on Sea Level in the IPCC Third Assessment Report. He was awarded the 2006 Roger Revelle Medal by Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, a CSIRO Medal for Research Achievement in 2006 and the 2007 Eureka Prize for Scientific Research.

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Dr Megan Clark, CSIRO

Megan ClarkDr Megan Clark is Chief Executive of CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world. She began her career as a mine geologist and subsequently worked in mineral exploration, mine geology, research and development management, venture capital and technical strategy areas with Western Mining Corporation for fifteen years. More recently she was Vice President Technology, BHP Billiton and prior to that Vice President, Health, Safety, Environment, Community and Sustainability with BHP Billiton. She is a member of the Prime Minister’s Science, Engineering and Innovation Council, the Automotive Industry Innovation Council and the National Research Innovation Council. Dr Clark’s extensive experience in both the development and application of technology and her understanding of science and how it delivers benefit to society has seen her recognised as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering. She has also served on the Expert Panel for the Review of the National Innovation System.

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Assoc. Prof. Richard Eckard, University of Melbourne

Richard EckardDr Richard Eckard is an Associate Professor with the Melbourne School of Land and Environment at the University of Melbourne, and is Principal Scientist of Climate Change research for the Department of Primary Industries in Victoria. He leads a number of research programs investigating cost-effective mitigation and adaptation strategies for Australian agriculture. He holds a number of national and international science leadership roles, being a keynote speaker at numerous industry and international science conferences over the past few years.

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Prof. Ross Garnaut, University of Melbourne

Ross GarnautProfessor Ross Garnaut is one of Australia’s most distinguished and well-known economists. He is an Officer of the Order of Australia for services to education and international relations, a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Social Sciences, and Honorary Professor of the Chinese Academy of Social Science. Based in the Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies at the Australian National University from 1972 to 2008, he was Professor of Economics from 1989 to 2008. Professor Garnaut is now Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow and Professorial Fellow in Economics at the University of Melbourne. From 1985-88, Professor Garnaut was the Australian Ambassador to China, and he served as principal Economic Adviser to Prime Minister R.J.L. Hawke from 1983-85. Professor Garnaut is the author of numerous books and reports, including The Great Crash of 2008 (2009, Melbourne University Publishing), and Australia and the Northeast Asian Ascendancy (1989).

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Dr Mark Gibbs, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

Mark GibbsDr Mark Gibbs has been the General Manager of the Climate Change Policy Branch in the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry since 2007. The branch is responsible for implementing research under Australia’s Farming Future (AFF), advising on the Carbon Farming Initiative and the contribution of the landcare network, and engaging with other countries through the Global Research Alliance. Prior to joining the department Mark worked for six years with the Department of the Prime Minister & Cabinet advising on climate change and macro-economic policy issues. He was also a member of the secretariat to the Task Group on Emissions Trading. Dr Gibbs has 17 years experience in the public service and has a Graduate Diploma in Economics from the Australian National University.

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Prof. Peter Grace, Queensland University of Technology

Peter GracePeter Grace is Professor for Global Change and Director of the Institute of Sustainable Resources at the Queensland University of Technology. He is a soil microbiologist and terrestrial ecosystems scientist specialising in soil-plant-atmosphere interactions, greenhouse gas emissions, and predictive models for decision making. From 1998-2001, while based at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) in Mexico, he held one of the most senior research roles within natural resources management in the developing world, as Lead Scientist-Global Climate Change for the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), under the auspices the World Bank and FAO. During that time, he was responsible for research leadership in climate change and sustainable agricultural systems across the 16 international centres (in crops, animals, fisheries, ago-forestry and forestry) of the CGIAR. Prof. Grace is an expert advisor to both DAFF and MAFF (NZ) with respect to climate change research. He is currently national coordinator of the Nitrous Oxide Research Program (NORP) funded principally by DAFF and GRDC.

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Prof. Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, University of Queensland

Ove Hoegh-GuldbergOve Hoegh-Guldberg is Professor of Marine Studies and Executive Director of the Global Change Institute, at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. Prof. Hoegh-Guldberg is an active researcher and leads a research laboratory (www.coralreefecosystems.org) with over 25 researchers and postgraduate students that are focused on understanding global warming and ocean acidification and their impacts on coral reefs. He was awarded the Eureka Prize in 1999 and the Queensland Smart State Premier’s Fellowship in 2009. Prof. Hoegh-Guldberg has published over 185 peer-reviewed publications and is currently coordinating lead author for the cceans chapter within the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report. He is the third most cited author globally within peer-reviewed literature on climate change (in the past 10 years). In addition to his research and administrative roles, Prof. Hoegh-Guldberg is also a regular contributor to the media, with his work featuring on the ABC (Catalyst), BBC (with Sir David Attenborough) and NBC (with Tom Brokaw). He is an active member of Climate Scientists Australia (www.climatescientistsaustralia.org.au) and maintains the science blog www.climateshifts.org.

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Dr Will Howard, Office of the Chief Scientist

Will HowardDr Will Howard is a research scientist currently at the Office of the Chief Scientist in Canberra. He works on marine climate change, with particular emphasis on ocean acidification and its impacts on the past, current, and future ocean. He is particularly interested in the ocean carbon cycle and the responses of marine ecosystems to climate change. His work focuses on the insights into climate change that can be inferred from ocean sediment records as a baseline for pre-industrial conditions and as a tool for understanding the impacts of large-magnitude climate changes of the scale anticipated in the coming centuries. His expertise is in palaeoecology and low-temperature isotopic geochemistry. Originally from the USA, Dr. Howard has a Ph.D in Geological Sciences from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. He was a U.S. Department of Energy Global Change Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow, at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, Palisades, New York, from 1992-93, and was a lecturer in oceanography at the Sea Education Association, Woods Hole, Massachusetts from 1994-1995, before joining the Antarctic Cooperative Research Centre in Hobart in 1996.

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Dr Mark Howden, CSIRO

Mark HowdenDr Mark Howden is a Chief Research Scientist with CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences, Canberra, Australia. He also leads the ‘Adaptive primary industries, enterprises and communities’ theme in the CSIRO Climate Adaptation Flagship and is an Honorary Professor at Melbourne University, School of Land and Food. Dr Howden’s work has focused on the impacts of climate on Australian ecosystems and urban systems dealing with, amongst other things: the dynamics of grazed and cropped ecosystems, development of innovative and sustainable farming systems, biodiversity, energy systems and water use. He has also developed the national (NGGI) and international (IPCC/OECD) greenhouse gas inventories for the agricultural sector and assessed sustainable methods of reducing greenhouse emissions from agriculture. Dr Howden has worked on climate change issues for over 22 years in partnership with farmers, farmer groups, catchment groups, industry bodies, agribusiness, urban utilities and various policy agencies. He has been a major contributor to the IPCC Second, Third, Fourth and Fifth Assessment Reports, the IPCC Regional Impacts Report and the IPCC Special Report ‘Land use, land use change and forestry’ that addressed issues of carbon sequestration and the Kyoto Protocol. He shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with other IPCC participants and Al Gore.

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Prof. Lesley Hughes, Macquarie University

Lesley HughesProf. Lesley Hughes completed a PhD in ecology at Macquarie University in 1991. Since that time her main research focus has been on the impacts of climate change on species and ecosystems. Lesley held an ARC Postdoctoral Fellowship at Macquarie before moving to Boston in 1994. Here she was a postdoctoral fellow and teaching fellow at Harvard University. In 1996 she returned to Australia to take up a lectureship at Macquarie in the Department of Biological Sciences. She was appointed a Professorial Fellow at Macquarie in 2007 and is now the Head of Department. She served as a lead author on Working Group II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4). She will be a Lead Author for the Australasia chapter for AR5. She has represented Australia in a number of international fora associated with climate change, most recently as a member of the Ad Hoc Technical Advisory Group (AHTEG) for the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). She served on the NSW Scientific Committee from 2003-2006, being Deputy Chair from 2003-2004 and then Chair until 2006. She is currently a member of the Royal Botanic Gardens Trust, the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas and the NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change (DECC) Climate Change Research Advisory Panel. She represents Macquarie University on the management committee of the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF) and co-convenes the ARC Network for Earth System Science and the Terrestrial Biodiversity Network for NCCARF. She is one of the founding members of Climate Scientists Australia. She has been a member of the Expert Advisory Group on biodiversity and climate change for the federal Department of Climate Change; this group has co-authored a new textbook of biodiversity and climate change in Australia to be launched in the latter half of 2009. She has also acted as an advisor and consultant on climate change-related issues for many organisations including WWF Australia, Earthwatch and the Sydney Metropolitan Catchment Management Authority.

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Mr Tom Knutson, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) (USA)

Tom KnutsonMr Tom Knutson has been a Research Meteorologist at the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) in Princeton, New Jersey (USA) since 1990. GFDL, a research laboratory of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), is one of the world's leading climate modeling centers. Mr Knutson has authored several studies in leading scientific journals on the potential impact of climate change on tropical cyclones. He and his colleagues at GFDL have been seeking a better scientific understanding of this problem using dynamical models and by assessing past tropical cyclone data. Currently, Mr. Knutson serves as Co-Chair of a World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Expert Team on Climate Impacts on Tropical Cyclones, which recently published the updated assessment report: "Tropical Cyclones and Climate Change" in Nature Geoscience. He was also a lead author on the U.S. Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) assessment report 3.3 on "Weather and Climate Extremes in a Changing Climate" and serves as an Associate Editor of the Journal of Climate.

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Dr Janice Lough, Australian Institute of Marine Sciences

Janice LoughDr Janice Lough is a Senior Principal Research Scientist at the Australian Institute of Marine Science and a Partner Investigator with the ARC Centre of Excellence for Reef Studies. A climatologist by training, her research interests focus on understanding the nature and consequences of a rapidly changing global climate for tropical marine ecosystems. She also specializes in obtaining historical perspectives on coral reefs and the significance of currently observed changes using the rich archive of proxy environmental information contained in long-lived massive coral skeletons.

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Dr John McBride, Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research

John McBrideDr John McBride has flown into cyclones, organised field experiments in the monsoon tropics, chaired World Meteorological Organization Research committees on tropical cyclones and on monsoons. At various stages of his career he has been Bureau of Meteorology Research Group leader for both climate research and for weather research. However, he spends most of his time behind his computer pouring over data, assembling graphs and thinking. He is author of approximately 70 papers in international refereed scientific journals. Over recent years he has specialised in forecast meteorology and extreme weather events. He is heavily involved in the Bureau of Meteorology Indigenous Weather Knowledge project. He is co-chair of the World Weather Research Program Expert Team on Climate Change Impacts on Tropical Cyclones.

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Dr Sara Mikaloff Fletcher, National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research (NIWA) (NZ)

Sara Mikaloff FletcherDr Sara Mikaloff Fletcher earned her PhD at the University of Colorado, Boulder, where she used atmospheric observations and models to estimate methane emissions to the atmosphere. She employed similar techniques to determine air-sea fluxes of CO2 using ocean interior data and ocean general circulation models during her postdoctoral work at the University of California, Los Angeles. After finishing her post doctoral work, she joined the Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences Program at Princeton University where she used atmospheric and oceanic models to study the past and present carbon cycle. In January of 2010, she and her family moved to New Zealand, so that she could take up a position at NIWA.

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Mr Kerry O'Brien, Journalist

Kerry O'BrienMr Kerry O’Brien is one of Australia’s most distinguished and respected journalists. He has worked in newspapers, wire service and television news and current affairs as a general reporter, feature writer, columnist, political and foreign correspondent, interviewer and compere. He has just completed a 15-year stint as a compere/interviewer for the ABC’s 7.30 Report and for six years before that he was the host and interviewer for Lateline. He is currently presenter and interviewer for the ABC’s flagship investigative program, Four Corners. He also anchors ABC Television’s election night telecasts.

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Dr Graeme Pearman, Graeme Pearman Consulting

Graeme PearmanDr Graeme Pearman was trained as a biologist at the University of Western Australia and joined CSIRO in 1971 where he was Chief of Atmospheric Research, 1992–2002. He contributed over 150 scientific journal papers primarily on aspects of the global carbon budget. In 2004 he left CSIRO to run his own company, consulting for both the private and public sectors. He is an Adjunct Senior Research Fellow at Monash University. Dr Pearman was elected to Fellowship of the Australian Academy of Science (1988), the Royal Society of Victoria (1997) and the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (2005). He was awarded the CSIRO Medal (1988), a United Nations Environment Program Global 500 Award (1989), Australian Medal of the Order of Australia (1999) and a Federation Medal (2003). He was science adviser to the Hon Al Gore during his visits to Australia in 2006 and 2007 and has personally delivered over 300 briefings on climate change science in the past five years to companies, governments, peak industry bodies and public fora. He is on the Boards of START International (Washington), and the Climate Institute (Sydney), and the science advisory panels of the Greenfleet Australia, RMIT Global Cities Institute, the South East Australian Climate Initiative, the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Fund and the Marine Biodiversity and Fisheries Adaptation Research Program.

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Dr Elvira Poloczanska, CSIRO

Elvira PoloczanskaDr Elvira Poloczanska’s research focuses on impacts of climate variability and climate change on marine species and ecosystems at both global and Australian scales and adaptation responses to these impacts. Her work includes modelling the responses of species and populations to climate change, and synthesising and disseminating climate change knowledge. Dr Poloczanska is co-convener of an international working group assembling a database of marine climate change impacts and applying meta-analytical techniques to address key questions regarding vulnerability of marine species and ecosystems. She also leads the Report of Marine Climate Change in Australia (www.oceanclimatechange.org.au). Over 70 authors from 35 institutions contributed to the first edition which summarises observed and expected impacts of climate change and highlights knowledge gaps and adaptation responses in an easily accessible form for policy makers and the general public.

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Dr Scott Power (AMSI Lecturer), Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research & Bureau of Meteorology

Scott PowerDr Scott Power is a research manager and a research scientist in the Bureau of Meteorology and a Coordinating Lead Author of the next (AR5) IPCC WG1 Report. Dr Power has published extensively in the international scientific literature on climate variability and climate change, especially on El Niño, global warming, decade-to-decade climate variability and its predictability, and on the impact of climate science on the broader community. He previously coordinated the Bureau's participation in the Australian Climate Change Science Program, he led the development of a multi-million dollar AusAID project to enhance climate prediction services in Pacific Island countries and more recently co-led the development of the $20m Pacific Climate Change Science Program to assist 15 vulnerable countries in the Australian region adapt to climate change. He is the former head of operational climate monitoring and prediction in the Bureau and the former acting head of Australia’s National Climate Centre. He is a member and former member of international panels of the World Meteorological Organization dealing with climate issues, and he was a co-author and co-editor of the influential CSIRO-Bureau of Meteorology report Climate Change in Australia.

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Dr Benjamin Preston, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (USA)

Benjamin PrestonDr Benjamin Preston is the Theme Leader for Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability Science within the Climate Change Science Institute of Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in the United States. Prior to joining ORNL Dr Preston was a Research Scientist with CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research and CSIRO’s Climate Adaptation Flagship. In recent years, his research has focused on the assessment of climate change vulnerability and risk and its application in adaptation planning. His research in Australia was recognized with the 2009 Australia Museum Eureka Prize for Innovative Solutions to Climate Change, the 2009 New South Wales Coastal Award for Innovation, and the 2009 Victorian Coastal Council Award for Innovation. Prior to his tenure with CSIRO, he was a Senior Research Fellow with the Pew Center on Global Climate Change in Washington, DC, USA, where he provided technical advice on climate change science and impacts to policymakers, the media and the general public. Dr Preston is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Geophysical Union, and the American Meteorological Society. He has contributed dozens of publications to the scientific literature on climate change impacts, adaptation and environmental assessment, and he has served as an expert peer reviewer for a broad range of academic journals in the environmental sciences. He currently serves as a coordinating lead author for Working Group II of IPCC Fifth Assessment Report.

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Prof. Dean Roemmich, Scripps Institution of Oceanography (USA)

Dean RoemmichPhysical oceanographer Prof. Dean Roemmich is co-chair of the International Argo Steering Team, and recipient of the 2008 American Meteorological Society Sverdrup Gold Medal, “for major contributions to the measurement and understanding of the ocean’s role in climate, and for leading the development and implementation of the Argo profiling float array.”

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Dr Sandra Schuster, Munich Reinsurance

Sandra SchusterDr Sandra Schuster is a research analyst for Munich Reinsurance in Australasia, assessing the risk associated with natural hazards like bushfires, floods, hailstorms, tropical cyclones, earthquakes as well as climate change related risks and opportunities. She completed a degree in meteorology/climatology before going on to complete a PhD researching the impact of severe hailstorms. Prior to this, she worked in Cambridge, UK on climate change related topics concerning the polar regions, focusing on sea ice (including field work in the North Pole and Arctic region). As chair of the Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society she organised a series of public lectures following the release of the IPCC reports. Recently, she was appointed as lead author the Australasia chapter of the Working Group II contribution to IPCC Fifth Assessment Report.

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Prof. Steven Sherwood, University of NSW

Steven SherwoodProf. Steven Sherwood received his PhD from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in 1995. He joined UNSW in January of this year, coming off previous positions as a researcher at NASA and professor at Yale University where he taught courses on atmospheric physics and global warming. His expertise is in the behaviour of atmospheric storms, clouds and humidity, and the relationship of these to climate. He has also done extensive work on climate observation. He has authored several dozen peer-reviewed publications, and has served as a co-author and/or reviewer on several government reports including the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report and the first report of the US Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) in 2006.

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Assoc. Prof. Kevin Walsh, University of Melbourne

Kevin WalshKevin Walsh is an Associate Professor and Reader in the School of Earth Sciences, University of Melbourne. He is a former President of the Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society and Deputy Group Leader of the Climate Impact Group at CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research. His research interests include tropical meteorology, climate variability and climate change.

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Dr Alex Wonhas, CSIRO

Alex WonhasDr Alex Wonhas leads CSIRO’s Energy Transformed Flagship, which aims to identify pathways and technologies for a prosperous, lower carbon future. Dr Wonhas also serves on a range of energy-related committees and boards including The Australian Solar Institute (ASI). The Energy Transformed Flagship brings together brings together over 120 researchers and spends $40m annually on providing techno-economic analysis of Australia’s transition pathways to a lower carbon economy and developing new low carbon energy and transport technologies. He joined CSIRO in August 2009, bringing with him significant strategic experience in the resources and energy sectors. Prior to CSIRO he worked for McKinsey & Company, where he delivered a large number of high impact studies for leading national and international companies, predominantly in the resource, energy and climate change sector. For example, Dr Wonhas was one of the co-authors of McKinsey’s Carbon Abatement Cost Curve for Australia. He holds a PhD in Theoretical Physics from the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom.

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Dr Penny Whetton, Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research

Penny WhettonDr Penny Whetton is a Senior Principal Research Scientist with the Climate Variability and Change Program of the Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research, a partnership between CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology. She has been working on climate change, particularly the task of projecting regional climate change and its impacts, for over 20 years. She has had a leading role in Australian climate change scenarios released by CSIRO in 1992, 1996, 2001, and by CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology in 2007. These have been very widely cited and used in research and policy. Dr Whetton was also a lead author of the regional projection chapters of IPCC Third and Fourth Assessment Reports and is a lead author of the forthcoming Fifth Assessment Report. Her research group was a recipient of a 2003 Eureka Prize.

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