Click on a name below to find out more about our Partner investigators. 



Ali Behrangi
University of Arizona
Ali Behrangi is an Associate Professor of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Arizona. He is the Principal Investigator in a project to advance the Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP) over high latitude regions, leading an international team of experts and also leads a team that uses the GRACE satellite to advance precipitation analysis in cold regions. He was previously with NASA JPL and has been a Fellow of Kavli Frontiers of Science, National Academy of Sciences, since 2017.

His areas of research expertise include remote sensing of precipitation and cloud, high latitude and mountainous rain and snow retrievals and analysis, weather and climatic extremes (drought, flood, fire, tropical storms) and societal interactions, global water and energy budget analysis, hydrologic/watershed modelling and optimisation, developing high resolution precipitation products, representation of precipitation in climate models, and evaluation of precipitation products using ground validation data..

His work for the Centre of Excellence will primarily focus on the Extreme Rainfall and Drought research programs.


Martin Best
Hadley Centre Met Office (UK)
Dr Best leads the group working on land surface processes at the UK Met Office. He also leads the development of Joint UK Land Environment Simulator (JULES), a community land surface model. Dr Best is also the lead on two international community experiments. The first is related to the benchmarking of land surface models and aims to identify the common development priorities for these models. The second is investigating the coupling between the land surface and the atmosphere in an attempt to understand what controls the sensitivity of this coupling in numerical models. Other activities contribute towards the analysis of results from the first urban model comparison project. This aims to improve our understanding of the important physical processes within urban environments and improve the way in which we represent them.

Dr Best has a strong interest in developing a hydrological framework for future land-surface modelling and will collaborate with the Australian community to ensure developments are shared between JULES and the Community Atmosphere Biosphere Land Exchange Model (CABLE). His work will have a direct impact on the capacity of land models to simulate drought and feedback of soil moisture on heatwaves. For this reason his contribution to the Centre of Excellence will be focused in the Drought and Heatwaves and Cold Air Outbreaks research programs.


Sandrine Bony
Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique
Dr Bony is leading researcher in the area of cloud-climate interactions. Her many published papers on this topic include seminal contributions on identifying the cloud types most responsible for uncertainty in future climate change and the identification of useful methods for testing climate models.

She is active in the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) and co-chairs the Cloud Feedback Model Intercomparison Project (CFMIP), an international group fostering research activities in the area of cloud feedback and model evaluation studies. Dr Bony also co-chairs the Working Group on Coupled Models (WGCM), the group that fosters the development and evaluation of climate models, coordinates model inter-comparison projects related to climate and climate change (e.g. CMIP5), and will coordinate the WCRP Grand Challenge on “Clouds, Circulation and Climate Sensitivity”.

Dr Bony’s work with the Centre will primarily focus on the Extreme Rainfall and Climate Variability and Teleconnections research programs. In the Extreme Rainfall program she will examine convective self-aggregation over different scales of time and space, which will include work on the Hadley-Walker circulation, the Madden-Julian Circulation and extreme rainfall. Under the Clouds, Circulation and Climate Sensitivity program, she will focus on Australia’s ACCESS model to improve the physical processes to improve the representation of rainfall.


Nathalie de Noblet
Dr Nathalie de Noblet-Ducoudré is a climatologist at the Climate Sciences Laboratory and Environment (LSCE) and a co-coordinator of the BASC laboratory of excellence (Biodiversity, Agrosystems, Society, Climate).  Dr de Noblet is also a research director at CEA, where she is responsible for a team of climate and environmental sciences.

Her research interests include the understanding and modelling of the terrestrial biosphere and its interactions with climate dynamics. Dr de Noblet has a large number of research responsibilities including as a member of the scientific council of the international GEWEX program (questions related to Water), chair of the steering committee strategic service unit of INRA AGROCLIM and a member of the international scientific council of the SME Kinomé (conducting reforestation projects in semi-arid tropics).

Dr de Noblet’s work with the Centre of Excellence will primarily revolve around the Drought research program. Her focus will be on land atmosphere feedbacks from the onset to the termination of a drought. She will also contribute to our understanding of the vegetation and hydrology interactions with droughts.


Beth Ebert
Bureau of Meteorology

Dr Beth Ebert leads the Weather and Environmental Prediction research program at the Bureau of Meteorology focussed high impact weather science, forecast system development, and advanced cloud observations.

Dr Ebert has worked in the areas of satellite meteorology, rainfall measurement, ensemble prediction, and forecast verification. She serves on the Scientific Steering Committee for the World Meteorological Organization’s World Weather Research Programme, actively promoting the combination of meteorological information with impact models to predict how weather affects public safety and health.

Dr Ebert will use her personal expertise in the analysis of Australian rainfall to contribute to the Extreme Rainfall research program. However, as a research program leader with the Water and Climate Information program at the Bureau of Meteorology, she will also connect Bureau fire weather experts to the Heatwaves and Cold Air Outbreaks and Drought programs.


Wojciech Grabowski
Dr. Wojciech Grabowski is a Senior Scientist at the Mesoscale and Microscale Meteorology Division of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). His main areas of interest include computational fluid dynamics and numerical modelling in general, and more specifically the modelling of cloud dynamics and microphysics, interactions of clouds with radiation and surface processes, and representation of these processes in large-scale models of weather and climate.

He is currently leading three projects on various aspects of cloud processes and their role in the climate system (funded by NOAA, DOE, and NSF). Dr Grabowski chairs Working Group 4 (Precipitating Convective Cloud Systems) of the GEWEX (Global Energy and Water-cycle Experiment) Cloud System Study.

Dr Grabowski will primarily work with the Extreme Rainfall research program and will serve as a liaison for NCAR, particularly the Mesoscale and Microscale Meteorology Division. Some of NCAR’s state of the art modelling systems will be used for cloud-scale process simulation studies and Dr Grabowski can host short- and long-term visits by Centre of Excellence personnel.


Stephen Griffies
Dr. Stephen Griffies is the one of the world’s foremost ocean modelling experts with interests related to the ocean’s role in climate, with particular emphasis on studies of ocean climate variability, such as that associated with the Atlantic overturning circulation; sea level and its changes under global warming; Southern Ocean oceanography, with particular interests on mesoscale eddies and their impacts on large-scale ocean climate; and fundamental processes associated with ocean mixing. He has worked at NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory in Princeton USA since 1993 and since 2000 has led the development of the GFDL Modular Ocean Model (MOM), which is the amongst the world’s most widely used ocean models for both large-scale and regional applications. MOM is used extensively in Australia for idealised and realistic configurations for both research and operational applications.

Dr Griffies chaired the CLIVAR Working Group for Ocean Model Development from 2004-2009, with this group responsible for setting intellectual and programmatic benchmarks for ocean climate modelling worldwide. He is a member of the WCRP Southern Ocean Regional Panel, which sets priorities for observational and modelling efforts in the Southern Ocean.

Dr Griffies will maintain his strong collaborative links with Australia as the development of MOM continues. He will also continue to mentor outstanding postdoctoral research fellows and graduate students and host visiting staff and students at GFDL.


Nicolas Gruber
ETH Zurich

Prof Gruber’s research interests are the study of biogeochemical cycles on regional to global scales and on timescales from months to millennia, with a particular focus on the interaction of these cycles with Earth’s climate system.

His goal is to better understand the physical, chemical and biological processes that control these cycles and to be able to make predictions for the future, especially with regard to the potential feedbacks between the global carbon cycle and a changing climate. His primary research tools are the interpretation and analysis of observational data coupled with the use of models ranging in complexity from simple box models to general circulation models.

Prof Gruber has been Full Professor of Environmental Physics at the Department of Environmental Sciences at ETH Zurich since July 2006.

In his role with the Centre of Excellence he will primarily contribute to the Climate Variability and Teleconnections research program. His strong background in biogeochemical cycles will find a focus in the Centre’s project on understanding Southern Ocean circulation and biogeochemistry, which aims to improve our understanding of ocean heat uptake and carbon fluxes that set the trajectories of future climate. This work is a crucial precursor to understanding climate extremes.


Hoshin Gupta
University of Arizona (US)

Prof Gupta is internationally recognized as leader in systems methods for reconciling models with data, and for consistent contributions to modelling science. He is a hydrologist and systems theorist with strong technical skills in complex algorithm development. Prof Gupta has a particular expertise in earth system modelling and is exploring issues relating to terrestrial processes with a particular focus on hydrology.

Prof Gupta is a fellow of the American Geophysical Union, editor of Water Resources Research, chair of the Model Diagnostics working group of IAHS, vice-chair of the IFAC Technical Committee on Modelling and Control of Environmental Systems, member of the IAHS/PUB Steering Committee, and serves on the Editorial Board of Benchmark Papers in Hydrology. He is also a past president of the International Commission on the Coupled Land Atmosphere Systems (ICCLAS), and past chair of the Surface Water Committee of the American Geophysical Union.

Prof Gupta’s expertise in semi-arid environments and understanding and prediction of the frequency, magnitude and duration of drought and heatwaves will enable him to make strong contributions to the Heatwaves and Cold Outbreaks and Drought research programs.


Robert Hallberg

Dr Hallberg developed the “Generalized Ocean Layer Dynamics” (GOLD) model, which is the physical ocean model basis of GFDL’s ESM2G Earth System Model. He is now part of the team focusing all of its ocean model development efforts on a single model, MOM6.  He and his team have examined the role of transient eddies in the dynamic and watermass balances in the Southern Hemisphere with a series of increasingly high resolution primitive equation model simulations.

Dr Hallberg is now working to dynamically couple GFDL’s highest resolution global ocean models to continental scale ice-sheet models, including smoothly moving grounding lines and dynamic reshaping of the ice-shelf cavities.  He is also involved an Ocean Climate Process Team working on Internal Wave Driven Mixing, and in the past was an active participant in two other Climate Process Teams – one studying Gravity Current Entrainment, and the other examining Eddy-Mixed Layer Interactions. These teams aim to improve the representation of these processes in climate-scale models, based on the best understanding that can be obtained from observations, process studies, and theory.

Dr Hallberg’s seminal contributions to deep ocean flows, Southern Ocean circulation and mixing processes around topography will allow him to apply this expertise to the Southern Ocean component of the Climate Variability and Teleconnections research program.


Harry Hendon
(Bureau of Meteorology)

Dr Hendon explores tropical climate and monsoon variability and prediction. He is the theme leader for the Seasonal Prediction for the South Eastern Australian Climate Initiative and a chief investigator with for the Western Australian Marine Science Initiative to investigate predictions of the marine environment in Western Australia along with two other projects that work to improve model predictions.

Dr Hendon has made fundamental contributions to understanding the mechanism and importance of the tropical Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) for global climate variability. In particular, he made important contributions to understanding how topical convection is organized in the MJO, why this organized convection matters to the global climate, and how this organized convection is represented in climate models. Dr Hendon has developed diagnostics of the MJO that are now used routinely around the world.

Dr Hendon is Chair of the World Meteorological Organization’s World Climate Research Program/ Climate Variability (CLIVAR) Australian-Asian Monsoon Panel is part of the World Meteorological Organization’s expert team for climate impacts on monsoon weather.

As a world leader in seasonal to interannual climate variability and predictability research, Dr Hendon has a broad area of expertise that will see him contribute to all four research programs.


Cathy Hohenegger
(Max-Planck-Institut für Meteorologie)

Dr Cathy Hohenegger’s research combines models at all resolutions to better understand and improve the representation of precipitating convection in atmospheric models. She tackles the convection problem both from a small-scale process level perspective, trying to better understand the processes that control the lifecycle of convection, and from a large-scale more climatic perspective, trying to understand the importance of specific convective features for the climate system.

Dr Hohenegger routinely uses large-eddy simulations with resolutions of ~100 m where convection is fully explicit, convection-permitting models with resolution ~1-10 km where convection is partly explicit and coarser resolution models with parameterized convection. Her research also often makes use of idealized simulations before testing the so developed theories in more realistic set-ups.

She will be ideally placed to contribute to the Extreme Rainfall program through her leadership of the MPI group that carries out high-resolution cloud model experiments that study the behaviour of convective organisation.


Reto Knutti
(ETH Zurich)

Dr Knutti is Professor and Deputy head of Institute of Atmospheric and Climate Science, Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (ETH) Zürich. His research covers much of the climate system that extends from analysing climate models of varying complexities through to using observations and proxy data to explore the future constraints on climate change. He has specific expertise in the quantification of global and regional atmospheric feedbacks, climate sensitivity, energy balance, ocean heat uptake and large-scale ocean thermohaline circulation. A considerable amount of this research focuses on the understanding of and prediction of climate extremes.

Prof Knutti’s previous work has examined the human caused contribution to the global occurrence of heavy precipitation and high-temperature extremes. This work is central to the Extreme Rainfall and Heatwaves and Cold Air Outbreaks research programs conducted at the Centre of Excellence. His other areas of research also place him squarely in the Climate Variability and Teleconnections program.


Rachel Law

Dr Rachel Law is a group leader in CSIRO’s Climate Science Centre. She oversees Australia’s national climate model – the Australian Community Climate and Earth System Simulator (ACCESS). This group currently comprises four teams with skills in coupled climate modelling, land surface modelling, Australian and global carbon assessments, integrated assessment modelling, wind tunnel experiments and climate forecasting. Rachel’s particular research interests include:

  • Developing the capability to simulate the carbon cycle in the Australian Community Climate and Earth System Simulator (ACCESS),
  • Interpreting the atmospheric measurements of greenhouse gases, primarily carbon dioxide, to better understand where anthropogenic carbon is taken up by the land biosphere and oceans

She is a member of the Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society Experts group on Land Surface Processes.


Simon Marsland
Dr Marlsand is the leader of the CSIRO Ocean and Coupled Modelling Team and is the principal contact for the ACCESS model submission to the Climate Model Intercomparison Project phase 6 (CMIP6). CMIP6 constitutes the largest international climate modelling effort ever undertaken and its outputs will touch on much of the Centre’s work. He is also the Australian member of the World Climate Research Program (WCRP) Working Group on Coupled Modelling.

Dr Marsland will provide key connectivity to the ocean model component of ACCESS. He already works closely with Chief investigators Prof Matthew England and Dr Andy Hogg He brings expertise on the status of international ocean modelling developments and as a member of the WCRP Climate Model Metrics Panel brings insight into international efforts to co-ordinate and share skills in the analysis of all aspects of climate models.


Richard Matear

Dr Matear’s research in Earth system modelling encompasses both the development and application of models of components of the climate system, including the ocean, land, atmosphere and sea-ice. He has primarily used these models to investigate climate variability and change, and the impacts that these changes have on marine ecosystems. A key focus of this work is to improve future projections of climate change and investigate the implications for biogeochemical cycling. He is a global leader in this field and leads the development of a world-class model of the marine carbon cycle and ocean productivity to investigate the potential impacts of climate change and ocean acidification. His work in this field has already improved climate projections.

Dr Matear’s work with the Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes will primarily focus on the Climate Variability and Teleconnections research program. This work aims to improve our understanding of how ocean heat uptake and carbon fluxes will set the trajectories of future climate – a crucial precursor of the understanding of climate extremes.


Gerald Meehl

Dr Gerald A. Meehl is a Senior Scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and heads the Climate Change Research Section. His research interests include studying the interactions between El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the monsoons of Asia, identifying possible effects on global climate of changing anthropogenic forcings, such as carbon dioxide and aerosols, as well as natural forcings, such as solar variability, quantifying possible future changes of weather and climate extremes in a warmer climate and understanding the interplay between internally generated climate variability and the response to external forcings, particularly in the context of understanding and predicting decadal climate variability.

He serves as co-chair of the Community Earth System Model Climate Variability and Change Working Group. Additionally, he has been a member and co-chair of the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) Working Group on Coupled Models (WGCM), the group that coordinates the international global climate model experiments addressing anthropogenic climate change through the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP). He also is a member of the WGCM CMIP Panel that is tasked with formulating the current CMIP6 international model intercomparison activity.

His research will particularly inform our research program on Climate Variability and Teleconnections and the Heatwaves and Cold Air Outbreaks program.


Sean Milton
(UK Met Office)

Mr Sean Milton leads the Global Model Evaluation and Diagnostics section, which works to develop the Global Atmosphere configurations of the Unified Model (UM) seamlessly across all timescales. In particular, Mr Milton works across a broad range of global modelling activities with a focus on diagnosing global model systematic errors and performance against a range observational satellite and in-situ observations across weather and climate prediction timescales. In this role he co-ordinates the trialling and pull-through of improvements in model physics, dynamics, and resolution. He also develops and applies new diagnostic techniques to help understand the source of model systematic error growth and produce seamless predictions by promoting the development of the global numerical weather prediction model to include increasing earth system complexity, which is essential for short-term environmental prediction.

From 1997 Mr Milton led the Model Diagnostics and Validation team, which in 2002 became the Forecast model development and diagnostics group. In 2008, he was awarded a Met Office Technical Research Fellowship, and in 2010 he became the head of the newly created Global Model Evaluation and Development section.


Mr Milton’s work with the Unified Model has a direct influence on Australia’s ACCESS model, which uses the atmospheric component of the UM. As a result, Sean’s work touches on all of the research programs of the Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes. However, much of the focus of his work with the Centre is likely to be on the Extreme Rainfall and Heatwave and Cold Air Outbreaks programs.



Dani Or
(ETH Zurich)

Prof Or has more than 25-years research experience in coupled soil-vegetation-atmosphere system and leads a large research group focusing on soil and terrestrial environment physics. He developed state-of-the-art soil models at ETH Zurich, which have been employed in Australia’s CABLE land surface model.

His work with the Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes will primarily focus on the Drought research program.



Joellen Russell
(University of Arizona)

Dr Joellen Russell’s work on the westerly winds led to the creation of a new paradigm in climate science, namely that warmer climates produce stronger westerly winds. This insight solved one of the long-standing climate paradoxes, the mechanism responsible for transferring one-third of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere into the ocean and then back out again during our repeated glacial-interglacial cycles.

Her current research focuses around understanding the ocean’s role in the climate system, in particular the uptake of heat and carbon in the Southern ocean, using the latest high-resolution models from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (NOAA/GFDL). She is the lead investigator for the modelling component of the Southern Ocean Carbon and Climate Observations and Modelling program and plays key leadership roles in a host of other international programs.

Dr. Russell’s broad expertise in ocean and climate modelling and analysis will be a valuable resource to the Centre of Excellence.


Joe Santanello
(NASA-Goddard Space Flight Centre)

Dr Joe Santanello’s research focuses on the development and application of metrics and tools to quantify and improve the understanding of Local Land-Atmosphere Coupling (LoCo) in models and observations. He currently chairs a workgroup to coordinate international efforts to diagnose and improve this coupling in models from local to global scales. This work is supported by NASA’s Energy and Water Cycle Study (NEWS) and has been the leading component of the GEWEX-GLASS LoCo initiative that has gained momentum over the past decade

Dr Santanello was also the Land Team lead for the NASA Unified WRF (NU-WRF) modelling system/project, which includes coupling NASA’s Land Information System (LIS) and facilitates model-data fusion research in the realm of land data assimilation (e.g. soil moisture) and land surface model calibration (e.g. surface fluxes).

He has investigated the ability of satellite remote sensing to routinely monitor the planetary boundary layer for land surface and land-atmosphere studies, including engagement of the AIRS, CALIPSO, GPS-RO mission science teams.

His expertise in very high-resolution regional scale modelling provides specific skills that can be focused primarily in two Centre research areas – Heatwaves and cold air outbreaks, and Drought. The Centre’s aim to improve land surface schemes to include irrigation, urbanization, fire etc is also a common goal. Dr Santanello will contribute to improving the regional terrestrial feedbacks of energy, water, carbon in the context of their impact on extremes, particularly droughts and heatwaves.


Sonia Seneviratne
(ETH Zurich)

Prof Seneviratne leads the Land-Atmosphere Dynamics group at the Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science, Department for Environmental Sciences at ETH Zurich, Switzerland. Her research is primarily focused on land-climate interactions, soil moisture dynamics, and climate-relevant vegetation processes, which extends into climate change and extreme events, droughts, heatwaves, climate feedbacks, and climate and land modelling.

She is co-chair of the Scientific Steering Group of the Global Energy and Water Exchanges Project (GEWEX) of World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) and leads the WCRP Grand Challenge on Understanding and Predicting Weather. She was the Coordinating Lead Author (2009–2012) of the IPCC Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (IPCC SREX).

Prof Seneviratne has an established world-class reputation in research linked to the Drought and Heatwaves and Cold Air Outbreaks Research Programs. Her specific interests will align well with the Centre in areas of land-climate interactions, soil moisture dynamics, and climate-relevant vegetation processes. She will also contribute in areas of climate change and extreme events. The proposed work focusing on improving process-level understanding of land processes aligns strongly with her group’s activities on land surface modelling, new approaches to model validation and the valuation of land datasets and field measurements.


Graeme Stephens
(NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory)

Prof Stephens is the Director of the Centre for Climate Sciences. His research activities focus on atmospheric radiation including the application of remote sensing in climate research to understand the role of hydrological processes in climate change. He also serves as the primary investigator of the NASA CloudSat Mission and associated research group, which has launched a satellite to study the internals of clouds using equipment similar to radar. He is a recognized world leader in the design, development and interpretation of remote sensing data from satellites.

Prof Stephens has also been active in using cloud-system resolving models to examine cloud processes, and in bringing models and data together to examine cloud impacts on climate and climate change.

As such, he will contribute to our Extreme Rainfall program and the Climate Variability and Teleconnections research program. His satellite data will be essential for testing hypotheses and model simulations for these areas of research.


Ying Ping Wang

Dr Wang has been a chief research scientist in CSIRO since 2015 and is an Adjunct Professor at the University of New South Wales in Sydney. His major achievements include the joint development of the Australian community land model (CABLE), two-leaf canopy scheme, the unified theory of global nitrogen fixation, and the first global model of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus cycles. He also pioneered the applications of model-data fusion in terrestrial ecology.

His main research interests are global land modelling, global biogeochemical cycles, land use change, nutrient limitation, model-data fusion and model benchmarking.

He is an associate editor for Agriculture and Forest meteorology since 2010.

Dr Wang will contribute primarily to our research programs on Heatwaves and cold air outbreaks and Drought. His specific research contribution is likely to be focused on the role of leaf phenology in controlling evapotranspiration. This area is relatively poorly represented in all global land surface models and, in reality, acts as a significant control on transpiration as ecosystems experience drought-related stress, particularly for Australian evergreen vegetation. Another important contribution is likely to focus on the effect of nutrient availability limiting the response of vegetation to increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide. The CABLE model is the first and one of a very few global land models that simulates phosphorus cycle, a very important process for the Australian terrestrial ecosystems.

Ali Behrangi (University of Arizona)Martin Best, (Hadley Centre Met Office), Sandrine Bony (LMD), Nathalie de Noblet (LMD/CNRS), Beth Ebert (Bureau of Meteorology), Wojciech Grabowski (NCAR), Stephen Griffies (GFDL), Nicolas Gruber (ETH Zurich), Hoshin Gupta (University of Arizona), Harry Hendon (Bureau of Meteorology), Cathy Hohenegger (Max Planck), Reto Knutti (ETH Zurich), Rachel Law (CSIRO), Simon Marsland (CSIRO), Richard Matear (CSIRO), Gerald Meehl (NCAR), Sean Milton (UK Met Office), Dani Or (ETH Zurich), Joellen Russell (University of Arizona), Joe Santanello (NASA Goddard Space Centre), Sonia Seneviratne (ETH Zurich), Graeme Stephens (NASA JPL), Ying Ping Wang (CSIRO).