Fiona Johnson – The Sydney Morning Herald’s scientist-in-residence

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Expert hydrologist Dr Fiona Johnson will provide scientific input into news coverage of the upcoming Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report.

Dr Johnson, a UNSW School of Civil and Environmental Engineering lecturer, who is also affiliated with the Climate Change Research Centre (CCRC), is The Sydney Morning Herald’s scientist-in-residence for the fortnight around the IPCC Working Group II meeting in Yokohama, Japan.

The newsroom residency is part of a program organised by the Australian Science Media Centre.

The report, which consists of 30 chapters and a summary for policymakers, is expected to be a definitive representation of the “state of knowledge concerning climate-change impacts, adaptation and vulnerability”. It will also detail “opportunities for the future,” according to the IPCC.

“It's a comprehensive document that particularly governments can refer to as an authoritative source of information on impacts,” Dr Johnson says.

“Clearly it's also another chance to keep the impact of climate change in the public mindset. The problems associated with climate change are not going away.”

Dr Johnson’s own research charts extreme rainfall and likely changes to rainfall patterns in the future, with an emphasis on how that might inform engineering design.

“I’m also looking at the best ways we can use climate models for water resources engineering,” she says.

Dr Johnson hopes the experience of being in a newsroom setting will help influence the way scientific research is communicated publicly.

Media contact: Ry Crozier, UNSW Media Office | 02 9385 1933 | 0425 245 887 | r.crozier@unsw.edu.au