Modelling Earth’s past and future climate: practices and possibilities

March 6, 2023

By: Philomena Mainfold, AuScope

It’s not every day that climate scientists and geodynamic modellers trade in their quiet labs for microphones and participate in a lively panel discussion. But thanks to AuScope and ACCESS-NRI, scientists who model past and future climates using software enabled by NCRIS came together to do just that.

Bridging the gap

Thanks to advances in climate science, computational geodynamics, supercomputing and modelling techniques, we have a robust scientific understanding of climate change drivers (including those relating to the solid Earth), scale and pace. However, we rarely see how scientists model past and future climates. On the 6th of March 2023, AuScope and ACCESS-NRI invited the public to join them in unpacking NCRIS enabled climate modelling in Australia.

If you missed it, dont worry, you can watch the recording here


A call for collaboration

The panellists discussed various topics related to climate modelling and research, including the challenges of modelling the Earth’s climate over long periods, the interconnectedness of Earth systems, the latest advances in climate modelling technology, links between geodynamics and climate, and the potential impact of climate change on the planet’s ecosystems and human populations. The panellists emphasised the importance of collaboration and interdisciplinary research in addressing the complex challenges posed by climate change.

‘When we start to reach out to create greater impact, we are going to have to reach across more than just our two communities. We are a community that naturally works together, we speak the same language, but if we’re going to do something really impactful, then… we’re going to have to reach out to the ecologists and biologists and others’
– Professor Louis Moresi

Join the Conversation

The panel may be over but the conversation can continue. Please reach out to AuScope or ACCESS-NRI with your ideas or questions on how we can enhance modelling capability, collaboration and delivery to improve climate research impact.

Other NCRIS organisations enabling climate modelling

AuScope and ACCESS-NRI are joined by the National Computational Infrastructure (NCI), Australian Urban Research Infrastructure Network (AURIN) and Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC). Follow the hyperlinks to learn more about what these organisations do.



Romain BeucherDr Romain Beucher (Facilitator)

Romain is the Leader of the ACCESS-NRI Model Evaluation and Diagnostics team. He is highly experienced in data exploration and analysis where he provides technical support, develops open-source software solutions and provides training to facilitate effective research and development of workflows. As a former researcher at AuScope and current Team leader at ACCESS-NRI, Romain will be guiding this discussion and drawing on his experience and the unique perspectives that AuScope and ACCESS-NRI bring to the discussion.

Dr Claire CarougeDr Claire Carouge

Claire is the leader of the ACCESS-NRI Land modelling infrastructure team. She is responsible for delivering a modelling infrastructure for the land research in Australia. Claire will provide insights into the way research software engineers model different parts of the climate system from her extensive experience working on ocean, atmosphere, land and atmospheric chemistry models.

Professor Julie ArblasterProfessor Julie Arblaster

Julie is a professor in the School of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment at Monash University and a Chief Investigator in the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes (CLEX) Her research focuses on the global climate system and mechanisms of past, recent and future climate change. She is also a contributing author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report. Julie will give insights into the use of climate models in applications ranging from deep geologic time to the recovery of the ozone hole.

Professor Louis MoresiProfessor Louis Moresi

Louis is a professor of geophysics and geodynamics at the Australian National University who studies the evolution of the deep Earth over geological time, how this evolution is recorded in the geological record, and how to build computation modelling tools to simulate the Earth. He leads the development of AuScope’s Simulation, Analysis & Modelling program and is a strong believer in building vibrant scientific communities through shared models and open software tools.


Professor Rhodri DaviesProfessor Rhodri Davies

Rhodri is a computational geodynamicist, internationally recognised and awarded for research that links the evolution of Earth’s surface to dynamical processes within its interior. He has developed advanced tools for simulating geodynamical processes and used these, alongside various observational datasets, to enhance understanding of mantle dynamics and its signature at the surface, over different temporal and spatial scales.

Dr Nicky WrightDr Nicky Wright

Nicky is a Research Fellow in the School of Geosciences at The University of Sydney, where she works within Earthbyte, an AuScope enabled research group. She holds knowledge in marine geoscience and palaeoclimate, namely ancient seafloor and geography reconstruction, and is fascinated by the relationship and interaction between Earth’s geography and climate in the past and at different timescales.

Dr Ben Galton-FenziDr Ben Galton-Fenzi

Ben is a principal research scientist with the Australian Antarctic Division, under the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water. As part of his role as the Ice Sheet Coordinating Scientist he leads the Ice Sheet and Sea Level Section focused on understanding how and why the Antarctic ice sheet will respond to climate change. His research focuses on integrating observations, theory and models. Ben sits on several international programs and panels of experts across the World Meteorological Organization, and the World Climate Research Programme, including the Climate and Cryosphere core project.

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