August 13, 2021 | Published by | ,

It is with considerable frustration that I write this piece from a locked down Sydney. In this newsletter, I was hoping to be able to report that I had been engaging in-person across CLEX, visiting the CLEX university nodes and introducing the Knowledge Brokerage Team and CLEX’s engagement and impact program to new CLEX researchers. Thankfully, my annoyance that this has not come to pass has been tempered by my satisfaction at seeing CLEX’s new graphic designer, Ally Crimp, join the Monash node in July.

Ally has a half-time role providing high quality graphics that help us communicate our science beyond academia. An example of her work has been on display to any of you who have Zoomed me recently – instead of my messy bedroom in the background, you’ll have seen a nice blue CLEX-branded background. This is just one of several CLEX-branded Zoom backgrounds now available in the Resource Library part of our Clever system – all CLEXers should consider using these when Zooming on CLEX business.

The Zoom backgrounds are just one aspect of a refresh of CLEX’s visual style that Ally has pitched into. Another example of Ally’s contribution that I’m particularly chuffed about is the diagram below, the result of a great dialogue between Ally, myself and CLEX Chief Investigators Nerilie Abram, Andy Pitman and Steve Sherwood.

This diagram appeared in a recent CLEX briefing note on the infeasibility of limiting global warming to 1.5°C, the “stretch” objective of the Paris Agreement. The briefing note was just one of a flurry released since the last newsletter. In May, we released a briefing note reinforcing to the Australian community a call for an international next-generation climate modelling centre from the Royal Society. The proposal from the Royal Society, co-authored by CLEX Chief Investigator Christian Jakob, called for a facility “with a role similar to that of CERN in particle physics” to revolutionise the quality of information available for mitigating and adapting to climate extremes and climate change. In June, I had the pleasure of seeing work with CSIRO’s Michael Grose come to fruition in the form of a briefing note tackling the thorny issue that many of the latest (CMIP6) generation of global climate models are highly sensitive to atmospheric carbon dioxide.

Despite COVID lockdowns, briefing notes haven’t been the only form of outreach that CLEX has been doing. We’ve been busy engaging with a number of industry sectors. Our Director, Andy Pitman, has been leading the charge with briefings to the finance community on assessing climate risk – read more about this here. We’ve also been engaging with the agriculture sector, with Chief Investigators Ailie Gallant and Andrea Taschetto giving a taste of our drought research in a seminar attended by agriculture extension officers (or agriculture “knowledge brokers” as I prefer to call them) from across the country – read more here. And our engagement hasn’t been limited to outreach. Our new CLEX seminar series included a fine example of “inreach” in May. In a webinar attended by over 80 individuals, Stephanie Downes, a senior manager at Deloitte, gave a fascinating insight into climate science through a consulting lens.

Sanaa Hobeichi continues to lead work in partnership with the Monash Climate Change Communication Research Hub to bring climate science to secondary school classrooms. We have a two-pronged approach to this. Firstly, we bring teachers and climate scientists together in “Climate Classrooms” workshops. These help to give teachers the confidence and resources to talk about climate science in their classrooms in a way that supports the teaching of the Australian Curriculum. Secondly, we work with teachers to develop new curriculum-aligned lesson plans and teaching resources on climate science. We have been moving forward on both fronts. CLEX’s Karla Fallon has done an in-depth evaluation of a workshop held in February – read more about this here. Working with teachers in three States and CLEX PhD student Rishav Goyal, we have also completed a maths lesson plan on bivariate data using sea level data as an example. You can find more information on the Climate Classrooms workshops and lesson plans on a new CLEX webpage.

Finally, I’d like to remind you all that CLEX has a new prize for Early Career Researchers engaging with stakeholders outside universities. Nominations are open with a closing date of October 31, so please put on your thinking caps and consider who you’d like to nominate.