Dr Ray Canterford PSM

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Dr Ray Canterford PSM is currently a consultant to the United Nations World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Marine Services as an expert in hydrology, meteorology and ocean hazards, after retiring from full time employment.

He has also undertaken international projects for the World Bank over many years.

His current work as a consultant and pro bono scientist is focussed on support for early warning coastal inundation systems for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and West Africa.

These systems are critical for coastal communities in a changing climate, such as sea level rise.

Prior to this work he spent 45 years with the Bureau of Meteorology with overseas appointments to the USA National Oceanic Administration (NOAA) and NASA for satellite remote sensing related to extreme flooding and dam design.

Areas of expertise included research, instrumentation (including radar networks), hydrology, hazard services, tsunami and aviation and defence services.

His final appointment prior to retirement was as the Executive and Division Head in charge of national and international Hazard Services. In 2014 Dr Canterford was awarded an Australian Government Public Service Medal (PSM) for delivering improvements in hazard warning services for emergency and natural disaster response.

During the 2004 major Indian Ocean tsunami, Dr Canterford led the Australian response and travelled extensively to the affected Indian Ocean countries to build international cooperation on building an effective warning system. He was a major architect of the Australian and Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning System, built cooperatively across the Australian Government.

In 2005 he was appointed to the Prime Minister’s Scientific Engineering and Innovation Committee (PMSEIC) Working Group on Tsunami. He remained the Australian focal point for tsunami warning systems in the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean for the relevant United Nations bodies for the following decade.

Dr Canterford was awarded a Fulbright Postdoctoral award to undertake hydrological research in the USA NOAA in 1979 to 1980. In 1991 he was a Visiting Scientist for USA NOAA Office of Climate and Global Change Program and the Office of Hydrology. From 1998 to 2006 he was the Vice President and President of the UN WMO Commission for Instruments and Methods of Observation and was Australian National Representative to the UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanographic Organisation 2015 to 2018.

He was an inaugural Board Member of the Australasian Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre from 2004 to 2014 which significantly advanced bushfire preparation for firefighters and the community.

At Monash University, Dr Canterford completed his Bachelor of Science (Honours) with majors in Physics and Mathematics in 1970 and his Doctor of Philosophy in Physics in 1974.