Last year, at the annual conference for Water, Infrastructure and the Environment in December 2016, the winner was announced for the Engineers Australia GN Alexander Medal for the best paper in Hydrology and/or Water Resources published in an Engineers Australia publication.
From more than 200 eligible papers 6 were shortlisted. Three of those six nominated papers were submissions from UoN and the joint winners were both from UoN, with all authors involved in the two winning papers being either current or recent UoN staff or PhD students. The 6 nominated papers are listed below with the UoN papers in bold and the two winning papers underlined:
- Berghout, B.; Henley, B.J. and Kuczera, G. (2015), Impact of Climate Data Uncertainty on Estimated System Yield, Proceedings, 36th Hydrology and water Resources Symposium, 8-10 December 2015, Hobart
- Diermanse, F.L.M.; Carroll, D.G.; Brckers. J.V.L and Ayre, R. (2015), An Effcient Sampling Method for Fast and Accurate Monte Carlo Simulations, Proceedings, 36th Hydrology and water Resources Symposium, 8-10 December 2015, Hobart
- Folkard, A. (2016), Creating Patches of Comprehension and Filling Gaps in Knowledge: Physical Modelling Contributions to Joined-Up Understanding of Heterogeneous Eco-Scapes, Proceedings, 11th International Symposium on Ecohydraulics, 7-12 February 2016, Melbourne
- Ho, M.; Kiem, A.S. and Verdon Kidd, D.C. (2015), Droughts and Pluvials in the Murray-Darling Basin over the past two and a half Millenia, Proceedings, 36th Hydrology and water Resources Symposium, 8-10 December 2015, Hobart
- Tan, K.S.; Flower, D., Rhodes, D. and FitzGerald, C. (2015), Strategic Water Resources Planning under Uncertainty – Risk-based Approcah to Derive Drought Response Action Points, Proceedings, 36th Hydrology and water Resources Symposium, 8-10 December 2015, Hobart
- Twomey, C. and Kiem, A.S. (2015), Spatial Analysis of Australian Rainfall Anomalies and their relation to East Coast Lows on the Eastern-Seaboard, Proceedings, 36th Hydrology and water Resources Symposium, 8-10 December 2015, Hobart
All selected papers were assessed based on:
• Value to Engineering Knowledge
• Innovation Originality
• Scientific Basis Insight
• Clarity of Presentation
This award is an incredible achievement for the Environmental and Climate Change Research Group within the Earth Science Department, and is only awarded once every 18 months. This is also a great achievement within the Australian Hydrology and Water Resources Management sector (for both researchers and industry/government practitioners). To have 3 out of 6 nominated papers from UoN and both winning papers from UON is an exceptional win!
It is the view of the NCWE that the first winning paper:
demonstrates that hydroclimatic risk assessments based on the instrumental record likely underestimate, or at least misinterpret, the frequency, magnitude and duration of wet and dry epochs and their associated impacts on water resources and agriculture.
Realistic estimates of hydrological risk are crucial to enable adequate planning and preparation for extreme events. However, the accurate estimation of hydrological risk is hampered by relatively short instrumental records. Information derived from climate-sensitive paleoclimate proxies provide an opportunity to resolve hydroclimatic variability and improve risk estimates, but many regions, such as Australia’s Murray-Darling Basin (MDB), currently lack suitable in situ proxies. The paper presents new MDB rainfall reconstructions based on a novel method using remote paleoclimate rainfall proxies in the Australasian region spanning over the past two millennia. This study shows that both dry and wet epochs have persisted for longer periods than observed in the instrumental record prior to the 20th century. Further, some rainfall reconstructions exceeded the instrumental range (i.e. drier dry epochs and wetter wet spells) despite a systematic underestimation of extremes due to both proxy quality and model bias.
It is with great pleasure that the NCWE awards the GN Alexander Medal in the year 2016 to:
Michelle Ho (Columbia University, New York)
Anthony S. Kiem (University of Newcastle)
Danielle C. Verdon Kidd (University of Newcastle)
For the paper titled
“Droughts and Pluvials in the Murray-Darling Basin over the past two and a half Millenia”