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Clarke, Hamish Dr

Research Fellow

  • School of Earth, Atmospheric and Life Sciences
  • Faculty of Science, Medicine and Health
  • Prescribed Fire Modeller - Centre for Environmental Risk Management of Bushfires 2016 -
  • Leader Work Package 6 - NSW Bushfire Risk Management Research Hub 2019 -

Overview


Dr Hamish Clarke has been a member of the Centre for Environmental Risk Management of Bushfires (CERMB) at UOW since 2016.

He is leader of a project on optimising cost-effective prescribed burning as part of the NSW Bushfire Risk Management Research Hub. He works jointly at the Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment (HIE) at Western Sydney University.

Dr Clarke previously worked as Senior Climate and Atmospheric Scientist at the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage. His research focused on understanding the regional impacts of climate change, particularly on bushfire risk.

He is co-convenor of Science at the Local, a community initiative bringing people and scientists together in the Blue Mountains. He is former Deputy Chair of the Australian Academy of Science’s Early- and Mid-Career Researcher Forum (EMCR Forum), the voice of Australia’s emerging scientists.

Top Publications


Research Overview


  • Hamish is interested in the drivers of bushfire risk and the impacts of planned and unplanned fire. His research has to date focused on fire weather and fuel, climate change and prescribed burning.

    Hamish is part of the NSW Bushfire Risk Management Research Hub as leader of a project optimising cost-effective prescribed burning. He has also been working on a BNHCRC-funded project that examines the effectiveness of prescribed burning in reducing a range of risks across southern Australia.

    Hamish works closely with collaborators at the CERMB, HIE and Bushfire Hub, including Sr Prof Ross Bradstock and Assoc Prof Matthias Boer (WSU).

    Hamish is committed to public interest science and collaborative, multidisciplinary projects that engage clients from project conception to completion and beyond.

Available as Research Supervisor

Available for Collaborative Projects

Selected Publications


Impact Story


  • Bushfires are a part of life in Australia, and fire weather is a critical factor in determining the likelihood of fire starts, the difficulty of controlling fires and their ultimate impacts on people, property and the environment. Our study of trends in the McArthur Forest Fire Danger Index (FFDI) put hard numbers on the nature of fire weather conditions in Australia and how they have changed over the late twentieth century. We showed that despite tremendous fluctuations from year to year across the nation, there was an increasing trend over much of the country. This trend was greatest for at the very highest - and most dangerous - fire weather conditions, with not a single station showing a significant decrease in FFDI over the observational record.<br /><br />The study was widely reported in the press, adopted by the flagship State of the Climate reports issued by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO, and featured in other influential and high profile policy documents such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Fifth Assessment Report and a series of Australian Climate Council reports on climate change and bushfire in Australia. The study has contributed to a much greater awareness of Australian fire weather conditions among fire managers and the general public. It has also provided a benchmark for researchers and decision makers against which to measure future climate change impacts on fire weather conditions.

Available as Research Supervisor

Potential Supervision Topics


  • Analysis of trends in extreme fire weather conditions in Australia

    Impact of climate change on prescribed burning windows

    Classification of fire activity in Australia and evaluation of fire predictions

    Current state of global climate change projections of fire weather

    Fire prediction at varying time and seasonal scales

    Investigation of drivers of cancelled and escaped prescribed burns

    Integrating bushfire and climate change impact research into policy and operations

Outreach Overview


  • I am an executive member of the Australian Academy of Science Early- and Mid-Career Researcher (EMCR) Forum. The EMCR Forum aims to be the voice of young scientists in Australia, working to represent them and ensure optimal career structures and opportunities for them. The Forum is active on a number of fronts, including meetings with Ministers and heads of the NHMRC and ARC, preparing submissions to consultations and inquiries, and running Science Pathways, a semi-annual conference for EMCRS.

    I am co-founder of Science at the Local, a community science engagement initiative. We run bimonthly events at Springwood in the Blue Mountains, where scientists present and community members get a chance to ask questions and meet like-minded individuals.

Education And Training


  • Ph.D. in Climate science, University of New South Wales, Climate Change Research Centre, The impact of climate change on fire weather conditions and fuel load 2010 - 2015
  • B.Sc. in Biochemistry & neuroscience, The University of Sydney, With First Class Honours and the University Medal 2002 - 2006
  • Bachelor of Commerce/Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Marketing & accounting / German & Spanish, University of Technology Sydney 1997 - 2001

Keywords


  • Bushfire
  • Climate change impacts
  • Natural hazards
  • Prescribed burning
  • Risk management

Full Name


  • Dr Hamish Gordon Clarke

Web Of Science Researcher Id


  • J-8987-2016

Top Publications


Research Overview


  • Hamish is interested in the drivers of bushfire risk and the impacts of planned and unplanned fire. His research has to date focused on fire weather and fuel, climate change and prescribed burning.

    Hamish is part of the NSW Bushfire Risk Management Research Hub as leader of a project optimising cost-effective prescribed burning. He has also been working on a BNHCRC-funded project that examines the effectiveness of prescribed burning in reducing a range of risks across southern Australia.

    Hamish works closely with collaborators at the CERMB, HIE and Bushfire Hub, including Sr Prof Ross Bradstock and Assoc Prof Matthias Boer (WSU).

    Hamish is committed to public interest science and collaborative, multidisciplinary projects that engage clients from project conception to completion and beyond.

Selected Publications


Impact Story


  • Bushfires are a part of life in Australia, and fire weather is a critical factor in determining the likelihood of fire starts, the difficulty of controlling fires and their ultimate impacts on people, property and the environment. Our study of trends in the McArthur Forest Fire Danger Index (FFDI) put hard numbers on the nature of fire weather conditions in Australia and how they have changed over the late twentieth century. We showed that despite tremendous fluctuations from year to year across the nation, there was an increasing trend over much of the country. This trend was greatest for at the very highest - and most dangerous - fire weather conditions, with not a single station showing a significant decrease in FFDI over the observational record.<br /><br />The study was widely reported in the press, adopted by the flagship State of the Climate reports issued by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO, and featured in other influential and high profile policy documents such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Fifth Assessment Report and a series of Australian Climate Council reports on climate change and bushfire in Australia. The study has contributed to a much greater awareness of Australian fire weather conditions among fire managers and the general public. It has also provided a benchmark for researchers and decision makers against which to measure future climate change impacts on fire weather conditions.

Potential Supervision Topics


  • Analysis of trends in extreme fire weather conditions in Australia

    Impact of climate change on prescribed burning windows

    Classification of fire activity in Australia and evaluation of fire predictions

    Current state of global climate change projections of fire weather

    Fire prediction at varying time and seasonal scales

    Investigation of drivers of cancelled and escaped prescribed burns

    Integrating bushfire and climate change impact research into policy and operations

Outreach Overview


  • I am an executive member of the Australian Academy of Science Early- and Mid-Career Researcher (EMCR) Forum. The EMCR Forum aims to be the voice of young scientists in Australia, working to represent them and ensure optimal career structures and opportunities for them. The Forum is active on a number of fronts, including meetings with Ministers and heads of the NHMRC and ARC, preparing submissions to consultations and inquiries, and running Science Pathways, a semi-annual conference for EMCRS.

    I am co-founder of Science at the Local, a community science engagement initiative. We run bimonthly events at Springwood in the Blue Mountains, where scientists present and community members get a chance to ask questions and meet like-minded individuals.

Education And Training


  • Ph.D. in Climate science, University of New South Wales, Climate Change Research Centre, The impact of climate change on fire weather conditions and fuel load 2010 - 2015
  • B.Sc. in Biochemistry & neuroscience, The University of Sydney, With First Class Honours and the University Medal 2002 - 2006
  • Bachelor of Commerce/Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Marketing & accounting / German & Spanish, University of Technology Sydney 1997 - 2001

Keywords


  • Bushfire
  • Climate change impacts
  • Natural hazards
  • Prescribed burning
  • Risk management

Full Name


  • Dr Hamish Gordon Clarke

Web Of Science Researcher Id


  • J-8987-2016

Geographic Focus