Overview of the Institution and Key Personnel

Australian Node:

The University of Melbourne was founded in 1853, has over 35,000 students and a faculty of over 7,000. The School of Earth Sciences offers a range of research programs in earth sciences including the Atmosphere and Oceans Group led by Professor Ian Simmonds and Associate Professor Kevin Walsh. The school has strong links with the nearby Centre for Weather and Climate Research which is a partnership between Australia's leading atmospheric and oceanographic research agencies: the Bureau of Meteorology and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization. The Centre was established by these research agencies in 2007 to ensure that Australia remains a world leader in climate, weather and oceans research so that it could meet the severe weather and climatic challenges that continue to confront the nation. The Centre delivers a number of advantages, including access to a wider range of research skills, more efficient use of resources, as well as increased potential to develop research relationships with government, industry and other research providers. The agencies expect the Centre will be recognized nationally for its innovation and scientific excellence, and internationally as a world leader in its field, having both an Australian regional focus and exceptionally strong northern hemisphere linkages delivering collaboration benefits.

The research program of the Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research (CAWCR) includes ocean forecasting, wave forecasting and atmospheric forecasting performing both basic research on predictability and system development for operational forecasting. A key research program undertaken by CAWCR is referred to as BLUElink. It is a collaboration that began in 2003 between the CAWCR and the Royal Australian Navy to develop ocean forecasting capability for Australia. This has introduced an operational system to predict the ocean's weather (on scales of tens of kilometers) which determines the circulation and spatial distribution of heat content and water masses over much of the ocean. The global system has been operational at the Bureau of Meteorology since August 2007 and supports a range of public good services (http://www.bom.gov.au/oceanography/forecasts/index.shtml). International inter-comparisons have demonstrated that the operational ocean prediction system provides services that in several cases offer leading and overall comparable skill to other global systems. The Bureau of Meteorology has also formed a partnership with the UK Met Office to introduce the state-of-the art unified model as its operational atmospheric forecasting suite which is being commissioned operational at the end of 2009 and is being actively supported by CAWCR. CAWCR has established a partnership with Australian universities to promote collaboration on a common modelling infrastructure for short- through to climate scales called the Australian Community Climate and Earth-System Simulator (ACCESS, http://www.accessimulator.org.au/). CAWCR maintains an implementation of ACCESS on the university’s high performance computing network to foster a broad range of research collaboration.

The node leader is Dr. Gary Brassington. He is the Bureau of Meteorology's principal investigator for ocean prediction and the BLUElink project and a member of the Ocean Observations, Assessment and Prediction Group of the Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research, a partnership of the Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO. His research interests include ocean prediction/forecasting, coupled ocean-atmosphere modelling, data assimilation and ocean model development. He is the chair of the Expert Team on Operational Ocean Forecast Systems for the Joint WMO-IOC Technical Commission for Oceanography and Marine Meteorology and a member of GODAE Oceanview, an international coordination group for research in operational oceanography.