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Vale Emeritus Professor Tom Lyons

It is with great sadness that we inform you of the recent passing of AMOS Fellow Emeritus Professor Tom Lyons.  Tom became a Fellow of AMOS in 2004 and was a Past President of AMOS WA and active member of the AMOS WA Committee for many years.  Tom received a Special AMOS Award for Excellence in Weather and Climate Research and Teaching in WA at the AMOS 2020 Conference in Fremantle.

Emeritus Professor Tom Lyons enjoyed a distinguished 40-year career at Murdoch University. He moved west after graduating from Flinders University to enter Murdoch as a foundation staff member, and rose through the ranks to become Professor of Atmospheric Science in the mid-nineties. He was among the very first faculty to be involved in establishing the Environmental Science degree at Murdoch, and led the atmospheric science, and air pollution meteorology components of the program.

Tom’s well-known “Rabbit Proof fence” BUFEX (or BUnny Fence EXperiment) field campaign at Lake King in southwest WA is one of the few observational field campaigns in the world to have clearly shown that the clearing of native vegetation for agriculture has important implications for convective cloud formation. One of his most-cited papers from that project was titled “Clouds Prefer Native Vegetation”, complete with a very descriptive aerial photo from the field campaigns
showing just that (clouds over the dark native vegetation, and none over the lighter agricultural zone). 

Tom also contributed to numerous consulting roles, and anyone who has travelled to Perth by plane have Tom to thank for his work on defining the boundary layer meteorology for the Perth airport, which led to setting the alignment of the main runway south-south westerly to avoid dangerous gusts across the escarpment.

Tom passed away peacefully early Thursday morning on April 8. Our thoughts are with his wife Margot, daughters Suzannah and Elizabeth, son-in-law Chris and grand-daughter Annabelle.

A funeral will take place tomorrow, Thursday 15th April.  Details are available at: https://www.westannouncements.com.au/browse/funeral-notices/view/lyons-tom

Yours sincerely,

Jatin Kala (AMOS WA President) and Angela Maharaj (AMOS President)

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