A planet supporting life Mooring-deployment-Katy-Hill

Published on August 9th, 2013 | by Daphane Ng

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From Currents to Climate

By science writer Katherine Johnson

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From a PhD* that used maths to join-the-dots between large-scale wind and ocean circulation patterns, and changes in the East Australian Current and its ecosystems, Dr Katy Hill is now working for the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.

Her new role is with the Global Ocean Observing System and the Global Climate System, based at the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO).

‘My work in Science Project Management is all about putting together a bigger picture and making sure the necessary connections are made between observations, mathematical modelling, research and people,’ Katy says.

Her PhD was completed through the CSIRO-UTAS PhD Program in Quantitative Marine Science (QMS).*

‘The QMS PhD Program was valuable because it is co-sponsored by the University of Tasmania and CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research,’ she says.

‘This means you get to experience both the university and government agency research environments. You also have the resources of both organisations at your fingertips, both technical and intellectual.

‘The second advantage of the QMS PhD Program is that it brings together people working in all aspects of Quantitative Marine Science. The courses expose you to disciplines other than your own, which help to build cross-disciplinary collaborations, something that is increasingly needed.

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QMS Alumni Dr Katy Hill with colleagues in China for a meeting of the Global Ocean Observing System Steering Committee.

‘My PhD looked at the drivers of variability and change in the East Australian Current (EAC). The current has been getting stronger, bringing more warm water south and impacting on ecosystems, particularly in Tasmania. It also exhibits strong decadal variability in its circulation patterns.

‘QMS enabled me to work with some great scientists, both in Australia and overseas through making connections at international meetings and workshops. I chose a PhD topic where I could connect up a story: large-scale wind and circulation changes, through to changes in the EAC along the Australian shelf, and ecosystem responses.

‘In my current role I coordinate and support a panel of experts called the Ocean Observations Panel for Climate, who provide recommendations for observing system design and implementation globally. The WMO is part of the United Nations, so it is a mechanism to connect to all the member nations.

*The CSIRO_UTAS PhD Program in Quantitative Marine Science is hosted by the University of Tasmania’s specialist Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, www.imas.utas.edu.au[subscribe2]

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