Sch of Earth Atmosphere & Environment

    Research areas

  • Drought, climate variability, climate change, El Ninyo, Climate variability, drought, palaeoclimate


Ailie is an ARC DECRA Fellow in the School of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment in the Faculty of Science.

Her work seeks to characterise and understand climate variability and change on multiple time and spatial scales, primarily for the Australasian and Antarctic regions. Most of her research relates to examining climate extremes, particularly extremes of the hydroclimate such as drought.

Her specific research interests include:

  • Examining the processes regulating variations in Australian drought.
  • Characterising decadal to multi-decadal scale climate variability in the Southern Hemisphere.
  • Interpreting variability in the pre-instrumental climate using palaeoclimate data, and determining dynamical explanations for past climate variability.

Ailie is also a passionate climate science educator and communicator. See more at or follow her on Twitter @safaripenguin

Ailie completed her PhD at Monash University in 2009 in the School of Mathematical Sciences. Her dissertation, titled 'Trends in extremes of the Australian climate', was supervised by Prof. Michael Reeder, Mr. Kevin Hennessy (CSIRO) and Dr. James Risbey (CSIRO). Prior education includes an Honours degree (1st class) and Bachelor of Science at Monash University, which included a one-year exchange at the School of Meteorology at the University of Oklahoma (2002/03).

Following the completion of her PhD, Ailie completed two postdocs at the University of Melbourne, Australia and at the University of Washington, USA where she worked on problems associated with climate variability and change in the Southern Hemisphere. Her current research interests include identifying and understanding variations and trends in Australian climate extremes; investigating the role of multi-decadal scale climate variability in the Australian region; and characterising pre-instrumental climate variations in Australia and Antarctica using palaeoclimate data.

Ailie's research on climate seeks to characterise and understand climate variability and change on multiple time and spatial scales. She has a particular interest in variability in climate extremes, particularly of the hydroclimate, such as drought. Her focus is broadly on understanding these aspects in Australasia and the Southern Hemisphere. She is particularly interested in how we can better characterise the magnitude of natural climatic variations in the face of human-induced climate change in order to better distinguish the impacts of the changes we observe in our climate.

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