Professor David Karoly awarded the 2015 RSV Medal for Scientific Excellence

Professor David Karoly
Professor David Karoly: Professor of Atmospheric Science, The University of Melbourne

Renowned Victorian climate scientist Professor David Karoly is the 2015 winner of the prestigious Royal Society of Victoria’s Medal for Scientific Excellence in the Earth Sciences. A Professor of Atmospheric Science from the School of Earth Sciences within the University of Melbourne’s Faculty of Science, Professor Karoly’s acclaimed career has placed him ahead of a very strong field of nominees.

Royal Society President Dr Willam Birch said he was “absolutely delighted” by the strength of nominations this year. “Victoria is blessed with a vigorous community of globally significant scientists,” he said. “David’s success in winning this award from a very competitive field is in itself a testament to his remarkable contribution to the Earth Sciences both locally and internationally.”

An author of seven academic books, 13 book chapters and 73 refereed journal articles since 2005, his leading research publications have been cited more than 6,500 times since 2010 in first-tier, highly ranked, multidisciplinary journals such as Nature, Nature Geoscience, Nature Climate Change and Geophysical Research Letters. A pioneer of theoretical and numerical modelling studies on the propagation of large-scale, low-frequency waves in the atmosphere, his work has enabled colleagues to observe linkages between climate anomalies at large distances across the globe and is now fundamental to all studies on atmospheric dynamics.

Professor Karoly has been a global leader in the development of the detection and attribution of global climate change. His pioneering work on fingerprint detection of climate change using the spatial patterns of temperature change in the troposphere and stratosphere has been crucial to the early identification of anthropogenic influence in observed climate change, along with the development of simple indices to help colleagues track and detect the influence of human activity on the climate system. Heavily involved in the assessment work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as both Contributing and Lead Author, he shared in the award of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize awarded jointly to the IPCC and Al Gore for “efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and… lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change.”

Professor Karoly has consistently contributed to his discipline and the scientific community through building collaborative research environments, directing the work of the Cooperative Research Centre for Southern Hemisphere Meteorology at Monash University with partners the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, two divisions of CSIRO and Silicon Graphics (Australia). He was instrumental in the foundation of the Australian Meteorological & Oceanographic Society (AMOS) and has served as Chief Editor of their journal since 2009. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, he has a strong record of developing the next generation of young scientists, mentoring and supervising a very large number of Honours, Masters and PhD candidates.

Associate Professor Laura Parry, Associate Dean of Research & Industry at the University of Melbourne’s Faculty of Science, was thrilled to learn of her colleague’s achievement. “David has truly been an inspiration. He has made a tremendous impact,” she said. “His enthusiasm and passion for science is contagious – both students and colleagues delight in David’s broad vision and incisive understanding of the key issues in climate science.”

For his part, Professor Karoly has responded with his characteristic humility: “Thank you very much. I am honoured.”

Professor Karoly will be awarded the RSV Medal for Scientific Excellence at the Royal Society of Victoria at a ceremony on 10 December and will deliver the RSV Research Medal Lecture titled “Using climate science to inform decision making.” Bookings are available online.