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Schools in Science


The high-impact weather and climate group performs research on extreme weather and climate events including heatwaves, tropical cyclones, severe storms, extreme rainfall and drought. The group examines all aspects of these events including their underlying physical processes, their variability and change over time and the ability of weather and climate models to simulate these extrema.

Research staff

Dr Ailie Gallant

Processes causing variability and change in drought and extreme heat, extreme event attribution.

Dr Hamish Ramsay

Tropical cyclone dynamics, severe storms.

Prof Neville Nicholls

El Niño Southern Oscillation and high-impact weather and climate events, variability and change in climate extremes.

Prof Michael Reeder

Dynamics of heatwaves, extreme rainfall, tropical cyclones.

Dr Jennifer Catto

Extreme precipitation from fronts and extratropical cyclones, simulation of midlatitude weather systems in climate models.

Recent Publications


Gallant, A. J. E. and S. C. Lewis 2016: Stochastic and anthropogenic influences on repeated record-breaking temperature extremes in Australian spring of 2013 and 2014. Geophysical Research Letters, doi: 10.1002/2016GL067740.


Crimp S, Bakar KS, Kokic P, Jin W, Nicholls N and Howden M, 2015. Bayesian space-time model to analyse frost risk for agriculture in southeast Australia. Int. J. Climatology, 35, 2092-2108.

Catto, J. L., C. Jakob, and N. Nicholls (2015), Can the CMIP5 models represent winter frontal precipitation?, Geophys. Res. Lett., doi: 10.1002/2015gl066015.

Catto, J. L., E. Madonna, H. Joos, I. Rudeva, and I. Simmonds (2015),  Global relationship between fronts and warm conveyor belts and the impact on extreme precipitation, J. Climate, 28, 8411-8429,

Kundzewicz, Z.W., Kanae, S., Seneviratne, S.I., Handmer, J.W., Nicholls, N., Peduzzi, P., Mechler, R., Bouwer, L.M., Arnell, N., Mach, K.J., Muir-Wood, R., Brakenridge, R., Kron, W., Benito, G., Honda, Y., Takahashi, K., Sherstyukov, B., 2014, Flood risk and climate change: Global and regional perspectives,Hydrological Sciences Journal/Journal des Sciences, Hydrologiques [P], vol 59, issue 1, Taylor & Francis, Abingdon Oxfordshire UK, pp. 1-28.

Nicholls, N., Seneviratne, S.I., 2015, Comparing IPCC assessments: how do the AR4 and SREX assessments of changes in extremes differ?, Climatic Change [P], vol Epub, Springer Netherlands, Dordrecht The Netherlands, pp. 1-15.

Reeder, M.J., Spengler, T., Musgrave, R.C., 2015, Rossby waves, extreme fronts, and wildfires in southeastern Australia, Geophysical Research Letters [P], vol 42, issue 6, Wiley-Blackwell, Hoboken NJ USA, pp. 2015-2023


Gallant, A., Karoly, D.J., Gleason, K.L., 2014, Consistent trends in a modified climate extremes index in the United States, Europe, and Australia, Journal Of Climate [P], vol 27, issue 4, American Meteorological Society, Boston MA USA, pp. 1379-1394.

Hankinson, C.M.N., Reeder, M.J., Davidson, N.E., Puri, K., 2014, Vacillation cycles in simulations of hurricane Katrina, Quarterly Journal Of The Royal Meteorological Society [P], vol 140, issue 683, Wiley-Blackwell, USA, pp. 1878-1888.

Parker, T.J., Berry, G.J., Reeder, M.J., Nicholls, N., 2014, Modes of climate variability and heat waves in Victoria, southeastern Australia, Geophysical Research Letters [P], vol 41, issue 19, American Geophysical Union, United States, pp. 6926-6934

Parker, T.J., Berry, G.J., Reeder, M.J., 2014, The structure and evolution of heat waves in Southeastern Australia, Journal Of Climate [P], vol 27, issue 15, American Meteorological Society, Boston United States, pp. 5768-5785.

Ramsay, H., Richman, M.B., Leslie, L.M., 2014, Seasonal tropical cyclone predictions using optimized combinations of ENSO regions: application to the Coral Sea Basin, Journal Of Climate [P], vol 27, issue 22, American Meteorological Society, Boston United States, pp. 8527-8542.

Reif, M., Reeder, M.J., Hankinson, C.M.N., 2014, Vacillation cycles in WRF simulations of hurricane Katrina, Australian Meteorological & Oceanographic Journal [P], vol 64, issue 2, Australian Bureau of Meteorology, Melbourne Australia, pp. 123-131.

Recent Grants

Megadrought likelihood and its water resource impacts in Australia, ARC Linkage Project (2015), CIs: Prof David Karoly, Dr Joelle Gergis, Dr Murray Peel, Dr Ailie Gallant, Dr Rory Nathan

Rethinking Australian drought risk, its long-term variability and processes, ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (2015), CI: Dr Ailie Gallant

Extratropical cyclones and their associated precipitation: understanding, model evaluation and future projections, ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (2014), CI: Dr Jennifer Catto