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AMOS Awards 2022

We are delighted to announce the following Award recipients:

Uwe Radok Award for best PhD thesis of 2021 – Josué Martinéz Moreno (ANU, now at the French Institute for Ocean Science)
Meyers Medal for high-quality and innovative contributions by early career researchers – Ariaan Purich (Monash University)
Gibbs Medal for long and distinguished service to operational forecasting – Andrew Watkins (Bureau of Meteorology)
Science Outreach Award – Dick Whitaker (Weathersmart Meteorological Services)

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 2021 Uwe Radok award for best PhD thesis has been awarded to Josué Martinéz Moreno from ANU for his thesis titled “Global changes in mesoscale currents and coherent eddies from satellite altimetry”. Josué’s examination of long-term trends in the global eddy field was published in Nature Climate Change and received substantial media coverage, including a Conversation article that has been viewed over 170000 times, and an explainer video developed by Josué for a general audience that has had over 10 000 views. Josué also developed a new algorithm to distinguish different types of variability in the ocean and has published this code and associated documentation so that it is publicly available. In addition to its outstanding science contribution, Josué’s thesis was also commended by his examiners for its excellent pedagogical introduction to his topic. Josué was supervised by Andy Hogg, with additional supervision and collaboration from Adele Morrison, Matthew England, Andrew Kiss, and Navid Constantinou.

The Meyers Medal acknowledges high-quality and innovative contributions by 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 2022 Meyers Medal has been awarded to Dr Ariaan Purich, a scientist at Monash University. Ariaan Purich has already made outstanding contributions to the fields of ocean, ice, and climate processes, with a particular focus on the Southern Hemisphere, Antarctic and polar regions. Her discoveries have made a major impact, changing the way we think about the polar oceans and climate in profoundly important ways, from the interplay between winds and sea-ice, to the linkages from the tropics to Antarctica, and the extremes of climate experienced over Australia. Ariaan’s work has been instrumental in understanding the various influences that might be driving the expansion of sea ice over the satellite era and the mismatch between climate models and observations. Ariaan’s work is notable for its seminal impact, she is well-known as someone who tackles the tough questions, and she is making a name for herself for discovering processes that change our understanding of climate interactions. This is remarkable for an early career scientist.

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 2022 Gibbs Medal has been awarded to Dr Andrew Watkins. Andrew was a Senior Climatologist in the Bureau’s National Climate Centre (NCC) from 1999 to 2010, then became Head of Long-Range Forecasts in Climate Services in the Bureau from 2010 to 2020. He had a pivotal role in the development of the Water and the Land (WATL) agricultural data and forecast service, the first example of an Australian seamless forecast capability, melding historical data, with days 1-7 forecasts and climate outlooks. He was the public face of the Bureau’s seasonal climate outlooks, appearing on television, radio and print media. He has been at the forefront of educating and communicating science to the primary industries sector of the Australian economy. He also provided targeted strategic advice to support emergency services, the federal Government, the ABC and Department of Defence, including during the 2019-20 Black Summer bushfires. As Head of Operational Climate Services in 2020-21, Andrew played a key role at the Bureau in establishing the new Australian Climate Service, in collaboration with Geosciences Australia, CSIRO and the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Andrew is currently the Bureau’s Technical Lead for Extended Prediction, and has played a leading role in developing the Bureau’s long-range forecast policy, communications and early warnings for Australia’s recent period of successive rain and flood events.

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 2022 AMOS Science Outreach Award has been awarded to Dick Whitaker for sustained and outstanding communication about Australian weather over several decades. Throughout Dick’s career as a meteorologist in the Bureau of Meteorology and in the private sector, he took opportunities to communicate with the public about weather and weather forecasting, including authoring numerous general interest books about weather. In the past five years, he has given over 120 talks on topics related to weather and climate to community organisations such as University of the Third Age (U3A), Probus, Rotary, schools, public libraries, historical societies, and business groups. Through his research on historical weather and relating it to key moments in history, he has intriguingly re-told familiar stories such as Phar Lap’s Melbourne Cup win and on Ned Kelly’s last stand. Dick has a long association with AMOS, including as a member of the Education and Outreach Committee, a frequent contributor to the AMOS Bulletin, and attending AMOS conferences.We would to thank the Awards Committee and AMOS members that nominated their colleagues.

Kind regards
Roger Dargaville
AMOS President on behalf of AMOS Council
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