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AMOS Awards 2020

AMOS is pleased to announce the winners of the 2020 AMOS awards as follows:

Uwe Radok Award 

The Uwe Radok Award is for the best PhD thesis in the AMOS fields of oceanography, glaciology or climatology, awarded in Australia. It honours the contributions of Dr Uwe Radok who was one of Australia’s pioneers in meteorological and glaciological research. He was Head of the Department of Meteorology at the University of Melbourne from 1960 to 1977, and played a leading role in the development of Australian Antarctic meteorology and glaciology. 

The Uwe Radok Award for the best PhD thesis of 2019 has been awarded to Dr Alessandro Silvano, who recently completed his PhD at the University of Tasmania under the supervision of Steve Rintoul. Alessandro’s PhD work focused on ocean-ice shelf interaction at the Totten Glacier. Through analysis of data from CTD, ADCP, moorings, satellite altimetry, profiling floats, atmospheric reanalyses, stable isotopes, and numerical model simulations he showed that this part of East Antarctica is exposed to warm ocean waters, explaining the rapid basal melt rates inferred from satellite data. His results suggest that increased glacial meltwater input in a warming climate will both reduce Antarctic Bottom Water formation and trigger increased mass loss from the Antarctic Ice Sheet, with consequences for the global overturning circulation and sea level rise. Alessandro published five papers from his PhD.

Morton Medal

The Morton Medal recognises leadership in meteorology, oceanography, climate and related fields, particularly through education and the development of young scientists, and through the building of research environments in Australia. The Medal recognises the achievements of Bruce Rutherfurd Morton who was a professor of applied mathematics at Monash University from 1967 until his retirement in 1991. Bruce was a true mentor to his students and young colleagues. 

The 2020 Morton Medal has been awarded to Professor Matthew England from the University of New South Wales. Professor England is recognised internationally as one of the world’s foremost experts in ocean and climate science, with important discoveries in water-mass formation, ocean-atmosphere interaction, climate modes of variability, and ocean ventilation. He has substantially advanced our knowledge of the tropical, mid-latitude and Southern Oceans and their role in climate and climate variability. Over the last 25 years he has mentored 70 young scientists within his team, and many others nationally and internationally. Matt has been highly successful in establishing and building research environments in Australia, including the UNSW Climate Change Research Centre (CCRC) in 2006. In 2020 Matt was announced as the Deputy Director (Research) for the successful $20M ARC Centre for Excellence in Antarctic Science (ACEAS), and he also established the International Universities Climate Alliance (IUCA). Over the last 30 years as an active member of AMOS Matt was instrumental in integrating the Australian oceanographic community into AMOS.

Meyers Medal

The Meyers Medal acknowledges high-quality and innovative contributions by young researchers in the early stages of their academic career to the sciences covered by AMOS. The Medal honours the memory of Dr Gary Meyers who was a highly respected leader of scientists and a gracious and generous mentor as well as being an innovative researcher in his own right.  

The 2020 Meyers Medal has been awarded to Dr Acacia Pepler, a scientist at the Bureau of Meteorology. Dr Pepler has made innovative contributions to the AMOS sciences and scientific community in Australia during and since her PhD, particularly in the field of natural hazards. She is already recognised as a leading expert on the climatology of east coast lows. Additionally, she has recently published many highly valuable papers on other topics including on compound events, high pressure systems and bushfire weather. She has written numerous articles in The Conversation and conducted media interviews and invited talks about these severe weather systems in recent years. With 41 publications and an h-index of 12 Acacia is sought out for her impressive contributions to discussions at the national level on extremes research. She is collegial and an active collaborator within CLEX, as well as a strong supporter and active member of AMOS.

Gibbs Medal

The Gibbs Medal recognises long and distinguished service to operational forecasting. The Medal honours the contributions of ex-Director of Meteorology WJ (Bill) Gibbs in shaping and transforming operational meteorology in the Bureau of Meteorology in the 1960s and 1970s.  

The 2020 Gibbs Medal has been awarded to Philip King. Throughout his career as a professional meteorologist in the Bureau of Meteorology, he has set very high standards for himself and those he works with, while always working in a way that is constructive and collaborative. Phil was the forecaster in charge in the Regional Forecasting Centre on “Black Saturday” on 7th February 2009, where the accurate predictions for the arrival of the wind change at critical locations exemplified the outstanding performance of the Bureau on that day. In the Victorian Regional Office Phil developed an initiative for changing the operational workflow, colloquially known as ‘Project Phil’, which led to the adoption of a more flexible attitude and approach to staffing of operations, focusing staff resource more closely on the high-impact events and conversely freeing up some staff resource during quieter times. Phil played an active role in the Bureau’s Fatigue Management where he was proactive in putting practices in place to meet and enhance operational needs as well as providing for the health and safety of his colleagues. He is currently the Manager Major Airports in the Bureau’s Aviation, Land and Maritime Transport Program.

AMOS Science Outreach Award

The AMOS Science Outreach Award recognises AMOS outreach ambassadors, who inspire other AMOS members to undertake science engagement activities, and additionally recognizes those who engage with the public, politicians, schools, businesses and communities, to educate and inform those groups on topics associated with AMOS themes. 

The 2020 AMOS Science Outreach Award has been awarded to Dr Linden Ashcroft of Melbourne University. She has used her expertise in historical and future climate change to educate the broader public, through dozens of TV, radio and newspaper interviews. This includes her extensive radio work with the Einstein A-go-go program on 3RRR where she has a semi-regular slot explaining and discussing recent STEM stories to the broader public. Linden’s outreach has helped influence public opinion on past and future climate change through educating people around these topics. Linden’s clear and easy-to-understand article “Letter to a weather station” was published in a collection of the best Australian science writing of 2019. In early 2019, Linden was recognized by Science and Technology Australia as a Superstar of STEM, a program established to create a critical mass of outstanding Australian female scientists and technologists as role models for young women and girls. Linden’s effective communication and passion for her research has energised efforts to harness the power of citizen scientists in helping to transcribe old weather records. This vital work that Linden has pioneered allows climate scientists to extend the record of Australian meteorological observations back well into the 19th century.

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