August 18, 2020 | Published by |

by Ian Macadam
In the previous CLEX Newsletter, I noted the challenges faced by the Knowledge Brokerage Team during a period when our ability to interact with stakeholders in government and business has been severely curtailed. Despite this, the team has managed to maintain a dialogue with key external stakeholders, including the National Environmental Science Programme Earth Science and Climate Change Hub, the NSW Government Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, our private-sector partner Risk Frontiers and insurer IAG.

Although my grand ambitions for a rapid expansion in our series of Briefing Notes in the first half of 2020 has been thwarted, it was satisfying to be able to release a note highlighting a recent Nature Geoscience paper on the impacts of Antarctic stratospheric warmings. The paper was led by Eun-Pa Lim at the Bureau of Meteorology with CLEX co-authors Ghyslaine Boschat and Julie Arblaster. It established a link between winds in the stratosphere above the Antarctic region and unusually hot and dry conditions in Australia and provided a nice example of how understanding a remote influence on Australia’s climate is important for seasonal forecasting.

One area of the Knowledge Brokerage Team’s work that has been thriving is the development of school lesson plans on climate science. This is being driven by CLEX Research Associate Sanaa Hobeichi. As well as pursuing her research, Sanaa is working one day per week as a CLEX School Resources Developer in the Knowledge Brokerage Team. I am very pleased to have Sanaa, who is an experienced maths teacher, on board.

We have been working closely with the Monash Climate Change Communications Research Hub (MCCCRH) to create lesson plans that can be used by secondary school teachers to simultaneously address points in the curriculum and educate their students about the climate. We have so far produced three lesson plans mapped to the Australian curriculum (for Year 11-12 Maths, Year 11-12 Physics and Year 9-10 Geography). These are available on an MCCCRH web page that is linked off the CLEX Educational Resources page.

We have also collaborated with TROP ICSU, a project funded by the International Council for Science, to develop versions of the lesson plans designed for an international audience (see https://tropicsu.org/anthropogenic-environmental-changes/, https://tropicsu.org/algebra-formula-substitution/, https://tropicsu.org/power-energy-dynamics-wind-turbines/). Sanaa and I are currently investigating other avenues to promote and enhance our lesson planning efforts through organisations such as science teachers’ associations.

Finally, congratulations are due to James Goldie for securing a full-time role with MCCCRH as a Senior Knowledge Broker. In this role, he’ll support the growth of communication programs by helping to steer the Hub’s data and science capabilities.

Sadly for CLEX, this means that James has moved on from the joint MCCCRH – CLEX Knowledge Brokerage Team role where he has excelled. During his time in this role, James has done sterling work redesigning the CLIMDEX portal for extreme indices, which is is employed by a range of users, including the Society of Actuaries and various climate monitoring and research groups around the world. He leaves CLEX with a re-engineered portal that will be much easier to complete, enhance and maintain than the pre-James version.

Many of you will also have benefitted from James’s expertise on data visualisation through a training session that he ran during this year’s CLEX Winter School and a lunchtime CLEX Computational Modelling Systems training session. I am sorry to lose James from the Knowledge Brokerage Team but I am assured that he looks forward to continuing to collaborate with CLEX.