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A new approach to climate change

19 October 2015


Professor Ann Henderson-Sellers (above) has been an Earth Systems scientist all her life. She is the living embodiment of where a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) career can take you: in this case, spearheading the description and prediction of the influence of land-cover and land-use change on climate and human systems.

With a BSc in mathematics, Ann undertook her PhD in collaboration with the U.K. Meteorological Office and earned a D.Sc. in climate science in 1999. She is an elected Fellow of Australia's Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering and in 2003 was awarded the Centenary Medal of Australia for Service to Australian Society in Meteorology. Ann is also one of our Australian Financial Review and Westpac 100 Women of Influence.

Ann is part of Macquarie University's Climate Risk CORE, which focuses on the risks associated with climate change in an environment of increasing vulnerability. The Climate Risk CORE believes that the science of climate change is now well established: governments, business and much of industry now accept the scientific evidence that climate is already changing due to human activity.

CORE aims to quantify and assess climate change-associated risks for key sectors such as economies, financial markets and national security as well as more traditional impact areas including water, food and biodiversity,

Ann’s research, according to the University, “comprises an intentional re-development of traditional climate science to communicate directly in the language of economics, policy, and regulation”.

Her expertise - in climate change predictions, downscaling and probability forecasting - are applied to: (i) identify activities that have potential to cut greenhouse gas emissions and promote adaptation to climate change within various sectors of Australian society; (ii) estimate the financial impact and contribution of these activities; (iii) develop models for governments to use that make use of her findings.

She has she says written hundreds of papers and loads of books on climate and our future in the past 40 years, and thought she had nothing more to learn about people’s capability to stop global warming.

Sharing a smile en route to Earth’s better future is her new thing: “If, you are worried about change, a chuckle helps you live differently.  For a hopeful grin, try:

Writing a climate change limerick e.g.

Shooting a ‘low carb’ movie short e.g.

With the upcoming Australian Financial Review and Westpac 100 Women of Influence awards for 2015, it will be interesting to see what other great women we have working for the benefit of all and the globe.

You can help put a smile on the face of the climate by going to