Dr Andrew Magee

Dr Andrew Magee

Postdoctoral Fellow

School of Environmental and Life Sciences

Tropical Cyclones - Looking back to look forward

Climate change presents us all with a lot of uncertainties. From tropical cyclones to floods – Postdoctoral Fellow Dr Andrew Magee is studying the patterns and historical data of these weather events to help better understand current and future extremes and improve forecast accuracy.

Tropical cyclones are exceptionally erratic, in terms of where they form and how many form per season.

“My work looks to better understand what drives the variability of extreme weather events, mainly tropical cyclones from when and where to how many form per season in the Australian and South Pacific regions.

“I investigate how changes in the ocean and atmosphere influence the formation and movement of these cyclones,” said Andrew.

Current approaches to understanding tropical cyclones are limited by short records, sometimes, only giving us around 45 years of data (or less) to work with. This short time period means it’s difficult to infer historical variability and establish how tropical cyclones might change in the future – something Andrew is hoping to rectify.

“My work has investigated the potential of using longer records to help improve our understanding of historical and future tropical cyclone events.

“By better understanding how these cyclones have varied in the past and understanding the drivers that result in more or less cyclones, we are able to gain a better picture of what may happen in the future.”

With an interest in the role that weather-related traditional knowledge can play in helping inform tropical cyclone prediction, Andrew travelled to the South Pacific region to observe more traditional means of weather forecasting.

“Fieldwork has taken me to Fiji, Vanuatu and Tonga to collect weather-related traditional knowledge from Indigenous communities including how plant and animal behaviour can change in the days and months preceding a cyclone event. I’ve also investigated local perceptions on the delivery and reliability of current tropical cyclone information provided by local meteorological agencies.”

Making an impact

The impact of Andrew’s work is wide-reaching – from Australia to the Pacific island nations and territories and around the world.

“My work has helped researchers and end-users better understand what drives current tropical cyclone risk and how considering a range of climate influences (instead of just one), is the most holistic way to evaluate these potential risks.

“This work means that people and communities can be better prepared for current and future weather events.

“Specific to the South Pacific region, we know these island nations are inherently vulnerable to the effects of tropical cyclones and other natural disasters.

“Understanding the how and why behind tropical cyclone behaviour enables us to produce more accurate forecasting, with the potential of improving preparedness and resilience for vulnerable communities of the Pacific islands.”

Andrew also works closely with key players in the Australian insurance industry to help them understand what climate variability and change might mean for insurers and consumers. “Along with modelling natural peril risk (tropical cyclones, bushfire, flood, storm, coastal inundation) and applying geospatial analysis to a range of data sources at the address-level within Australia, I also assist with developing weather-related insurance products for farmers in Australia.”

Climate Education

As well as being involved in cutting-edge scientific research, Andrew is a passionate educator. Recently, Andrew was involved in a project to develop short-term training courses for meteorological and environmental organisations based in the Pacific.

“These three courses teach the fundamentals of Pacific meteorology, climatology and climate change, and are aimed at capacity building in a region that is exceptionally vulnerable to the effects of climate variability and change. This course helps equip meteorological  and environmental agency staff with the knowledge and skills to better understand key aspects of Pacific weather and climate, and aims to help decision makers make more informed decisions in the face of a variable and changing climate.”

Australia's flood risk

Andrew’s work also extends to the risk that floods place on Australia and how future climate change can impact the intensity of this type of weather event.

“Recently, I’ve started working on an ARC project ‘Flooding in Australia – are we properly prepared for how bad it can get?’ This exciting research uses new historical data to investigate how floods have varied over the past 2,000 years.

“A better understanding of historical flood risk – frequency and magnitude – will enable us to better plan for potential future events.”

Preparing for the future

“I feel proud that my work helps improves our understanding of what cyclones looked like in the past and how our complex climate system influences tropical cyclone activity. This information will work behind the scenes to help improve the reliability and methodology of deriving more accurate forecasting.

“I will continue to work to understand how changes in future natural peril risk will impact people, places, business and infrastructure.”

Tropical Cyclones - Looking back to look forward

From tropical cyclones to floods – Postdoctoral Fellow Dr Andrew Magee is studying the patterns and historical data of these weather events to help better understand current and future extremes and improve forecast accuracy.

Read more

Career Summary

Biography

Dr Andrew Magee is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Centre for Water, Climate and Land (CWCL). Andrew is engaged in cutting-edge climate research with a particular focus on investigating the role and impact of climate variability and change on extreme weather events, mainly tropical cyclone activity in the Australian and southwest Pacific regions. By understanding the dynamics of Indo-Pacific climate variability, Andrew’s research continues to better our understanding of tropical cyclone activity. Current work aims to improve the skill of seasonal forecasting in the southwest Pacific region. 

Andrew also works closely with the Australian insurance industry to model how future changes in natural peril risk might impact consumers and the general insurance landscape. This involves developing parametric insurance products for agribusiness, considering past, current and future climate risk to protect farmers from potential climate extremes. Andrew also has experience in address-level risk modelling and natural peril modelling (tropical cyclones, floods etc…), which evaluates a wide range of climate change scenarios to understand the potential impact on people, places, business and infrastructure. 

Research Expertise

  • Tropical cyclones, theoretical, applied and statistical climatology, climate variability and climate change analysis.
  • Climate modelling and climate attribution analysis.
  • Natural peril and hazard risk modelling (e.g. tropical cyclones, storms, floods).
  • Extreme event analysis and development of parametric insurance products to consider past, present and future risk. 
  • ‘Big data’ analysis including meteorological, ocean and climate reanalysis datasets. 
  • Seasonal climate forecasting, including tropical cyclone forecasts and hindcasts.
  • Geospatial analysis: Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and remote sensing (RS).

Qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Newcastle
  • Bachelor of Science (Honours), Queens University of Belfast - Ireland

Keywords

  • Applied Climatology
  • Climate Adaptation
  • Climate Dynamics
  • Climate Risk
  • Climatology
  • ENSO
  • Extreme Events
  • Geographical Information Systems
  • Indo-Pacific Climate Variability
  • Insurance
  • Natural Disasters
  • Natural Peril Modelling
  • Remote sensing
  • Statistical Climatology
  • Tropical Climatology
  • Tropical Cyclones
  • climate adaptation

Fields of Research

Code Description Percentage
040604 Natural Hazards 50
040105 Climatology (excl. Climate Change Processes) 35
040104 Climate Change Processes 15

Professional Experience

Academic appointment

Dates Title Organisation / Department
27/08/2018 -  Postdoctoral Fellow Centre for Water, Climate and Land (CWCL), University of Newcastle
Australia
1/01/2018 - 24/08/2018 Conjoint Lecturer in Earth Science Faculty of Science | University of Newcastle
Australia
6/02/2017 - 31/12/2017 Associate Lecturer Faculty of Science | University of Newcastle | Australia
Australia

Professional appointment

Dates Title Organisation / Department
15/01/2018 - 24/08/2018 Natural Perils Consultant Finity Consulting
Australia

Teaching appointment

Dates Title Organisation / Department
7/01/2013 - 31/12/2017 Casual Academic Faculty of Science | University of Newcastle
Australia

Awards

Recipient

Year Award
2013 CSIRO Climate Adaptation Flagship Scholar
CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation)

Scholarship

Year Award
2017 Australian Climate and Water Summer Institute
Australian Climate and Water Exchange Research Initiative (OzEWEX)
2013 CSIRO Top-Up Scholarship
CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation)
2013 University of Newcastle Research Scholarship Central (UNRSC50:50)
Faculty of Science and Information Technology, University of Newcastle
2013 University of Newcastle International Postgraduate Research Scholarship (UNIPRS)
Faculty of Science and Information Technology, University of Newcastle

Teaching

Code Course Role Duration
GEOS2161 GIS and Remote Sensing
Faculty of Science and Information Technology, University of Newcastle
Casual Academic 4/03/2013 - 16/12/2016
GEOS2050 River Basin Processes
Faculty of Science and Information Technology, University of Newcastle
Casual Academic 4/03/2013 - 16/12/2016
GEOS3250 Geographic Information Systems
Faculty of Science and Information Technology, University of Newcastle
Casual Academic 4/03/2013 - 16/12/2016
GEOS3220 Coastal Environments and Processes
Faculty of Science and Information Technology, University of Newcastle
Casual Academic 1/02/2016 - 16/12/2016
GEOS2161 GIS and Remote Sensing
Faculty of Science and Information Technology, University of Newcastle
Associate Lecturer 1/02/2017 - 31/12/2018
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Publications

For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.


Journal article (4 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2018 Magee AD, Verdon-Kidd D, 'On the relationship between Indian Ocean sea surface temperature variability and tropical cyclogenesis in the southwest Pacific', INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF CLIMATOLOGY, 38 e774-e795 (2018) [C1]
DOI 10.1002/joc.5406
Citations Scopus - 1Web of Science - 1
Co-authors Danielle Verdon
2017 Magee AD, Verdon-Kidd DC, Diamond HJ, Kiem AS, 'Influence of ENSO, ENSO Modoki, and the IPO on tropical cyclogenesis: A spatial analysis of the southwest Pacific region', International Journal of Climatology, 37 1118-1137 (2017) [C1]
DOI 10.1002/joc.5070
Citations Scopus - 4Web of Science - 4
Co-authors Anthony Kiem, Danielle Verdon
2016 Magee AD, Verdon-Kidd DC, Kiem AS, 'An intercomparison of tropical cyclone best-track products for the southwest Pacific', Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, 16 1431-1447 (2016) [C1]

© 2016 Author(s). Recent efforts to understand tropical cyclone (TC) activity in the southwest Pacific (SWP) have led to the development of numerous TC databases. The methods used... [more]

© 2016 Author(s). Recent efforts to understand tropical cyclone (TC) activity in the southwest Pacific (SWP) have led to the development of numerous TC databases. The methods used to compile each database vary and are based on data from different meteorological centres, standalone TC databases and archived synoptic charts. Therefore the aims of this study are to (i) provide a spatiooral comparison of three TC best-track (BT) databases and explore any differences between them (and any associated implications) and (ii) investigate whether there are any spatial, temporal or statistical differences between pre-satellite (1945-1969), postsatellite (1970-2011) and post-geostationary satellite (1982-2011) era TC data given the changing observational technologies with time. To achieve this, we compare three besttrack TC databases for the SWP region (0-35° S, 135° E-120° W) from 1945 to 2011: the Joint TyphoonWarning Center (JTWC), the International Best Track Archive for Climate Stewardship (IBTrACS) and the Southwest Pacific Enhanced Archive of Tropical Cyclones (SPEArTC). The results of this study suggest that SPEArTC is the most complete repository of TCs for the SWP region. In particular, we show that the SPEArTC database includes a number of additional TCs, not included in either the JTWC or IBTrACS database. These SPEArTC events do occur under environmental conditions conducive to tropical cyclogenesis (TC genesis), including anomalously negative 700 hPa vorticity (VORT), anomalously negative vertical shear of zonal winds (VSZW), anomalously negative 700 hPa geopotential height (GPH), cyclonic (absolute) 700 hPa winds and low values of absolute vertical wind shear (EVWS). Further, while changes in observational technologies from 1945 have undoubtedly improved our ability to detect and monitor TCs, we show that the number of TCs detected prior to the satellite era (1945-1969) are not statistically different to those in the postsatellite era (post-1970). Although data from pre-satellite and pre-geostationary satellite periods are currently inadequate for investigating TC intensity, this study suggests that SPEArTC data (from 1945) may be used to investigate longterm variability of TC counts and TC genesis locations.

DOI 10.5194/nhess-16-1431-2016
Citations Scopus - 4Web of Science - 4
Co-authors Anthony Kiem, Danielle Verdon
2016 Magee AD, Verdon-Kidd DC, Kiem AS, Royle SA, 'Tropical cyclone perceptions, impacts and adaptation in the Southwest Pacific: An urban perspective from Fiji, Vanuatu and Tonga', Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, 16 1091-1105 (2016) [C1]

© 2016 Author(s). The destruction caused by tropical cyclone (TC) Pam in March 2015 is considered one of the worst natural disasters in the history of Vanuatu. It has highlighted ... [more]

© 2016 Author(s). The destruction caused by tropical cyclone (TC) Pam in March 2015 is considered one of the worst natural disasters in the history of Vanuatu. It has highlighted the need for a better understanding of TC impacts and adaptation in the Southwest Pacific (SWP) region. Therefore, the key aims of this study are to (i) understand local perceptions of TC activity, (ii) investigate impacts of TC activity and (iii) uncover adaptation strategies used to offset the impacts of TCs. To address these aims, a survey (with 130 participants from urban areas) was conducted across three SWP small island states (SISs): Fiji, Vanuatu and Tonga (FVT). It was found that respondents generally had a high level of risk perception and awareness of TCs and the associated physical impacts, but lacked an understanding of the underlying weather conditions. Responses highlighted that current methods of adaptation generally occur at the local level, immediately prior to a TC event (preparation of property, gathering of food, finding a safe place to shelter). However higher level adaptation measures (such as the modification to building structures) may reduce vulnerability further. Finally, we discuss the potential of utilising weather-related traditional knowledge and non-traditional knowledge of empirical and climate-model-based weather forecasts to improve TC outlooks, which would ultimately reduce vulnerability and increase adaptive capacity. Importantly, lessons learned from this study may result in the modification and/or development of existing adaptation strategies.

DOI 10.5194/nhess-16-1091-2016
Citations Scopus - 7Web of Science - 6
Co-authors Danielle Verdon, Anthony Kiem
Show 1 more journal article

Conference (12 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2018 Verdon-Kidd D, Magee AD, Neville B, 'Northern Australia bushfire risk modulated by Indo-Pacific climate modes', University of New South Wales (UNSW), Sydney, Australia (2018)
Co-authors Danielle Verdon
2018 Magee AD, Verdon-Kidd D, 'On the relationship between Indian Ocean Sea Surface Temperatures and Tropical Cyclogenesis in the Southwest Pacific', University of New South Wales (UNSW), Sydney, Australia (2018)
Co-authors Danielle Verdon
2018 Sharma K, Verdon-Kidd D, Magee A, 'Constraining the Forecast of Tropical Cyclone Tracks in the Southwest Pacific', University of NSW (UNSW), Sydney (2018)
Co-authors Danielle Verdon
2017 Magee A, Verdon-Kidd D, 'Semicentennial variability of southwest Pacific TC counts: a hindcast application of Poisson regression modelling', Semicentennial variability of southwest Pacific TC counts: a hindcast application of Poisson regression modelling, Australian National University (ANU), Australia. (2017)
Co-authors Danielle Verdon
2017 Magee A, Verdon-Kidd D, Diamond H, Kiem AS, 'A new link between interdecadal climate variability and tropical cyclogenesis in the southwest Pacific', Canberra, Australia (2017)
Co-authors Anthony Kiem, Danielle Verdon
2017 Magee A, Verdon-Kidd D, 'Semicentennial variability of southwest Pacific TC counts: a hindcast application of Poisson regression modelling', Semicentennial variability of southwest Pacific TC counts: a hindcast application of Poisson regression modelling, Australian National University (ANU), Australia. (2017)
Co-authors Danielle Verdon
2015 Magee A, Verdon-Kidd DC, Kiem AS, 'Pre-Satellite era vs. Post-Satellite era tropical cyclone (TC) data: An analysis of three TC databases for the Southwest Pacific', Santiago, Chile (2015) [E3]
Co-authors Danielle Verdon, Anthony Kiem
2015 Magee A, Verdon-Kidd DC, Kiem AS, 'Temporal variability of tropical cyclogenesis: a climatology of the South Pacific', EGU General Assembly 2015, Vienna, Austria (2015) [E3]
Co-authors Danielle Verdon, Anthony Kiem
2015 Magee A, Verdon-Kidd DC, Kiem AS, 'The usefulness of pre-satellite era tropical cyclone data: an intercomparison of three best-track products for the southwest Pacific', AMOS Annual Conference 2015 - Research to Community - Communicating our science, Brisbane, Australia (2015) [E3]
Co-authors Anthony Kiem, Danielle Verdon
2015 Magee A, Verdon-Kidd DC, Kiem AS, 'Can Indian Ocean SST variability impact TC activity in the South Pacific? A Spatial Analysis', Vienna, Austria (2015) [E3]
Co-authors Anthony Kiem, Danielle Verdon
2014 Magee AD, Verdon-Kidd D, Kiem A, 'Climate Modes and Tropical Cyclogenesis: A Spatial Analysis in the South Pacific', Hobart, Australia. (2014)
Co-authors Danielle Verdon, Anthony Kiem
2014 Magee AD, Verdon-Kidd D, 'The Importance of Indigenous Knowledge in Climate Adaptation: Pacific Islanders¿ Insight into Tropical Cyclone Activity', Gold Coast, Australia. (2014)
Co-authors Danielle Verdon
Show 9 more conferences

Other (1 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2018 Magee AD, 'Looking back to look forward - Tropical cyclones in a changing climate', (2018) [O1]

Thesis / Dissertation (1 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2016 Magee AD, An Investigation of Indo-Pacific Climate Variability and Tropical Cyclogenesis in the Southwest Pacific, University of Newcastle, Australia (2016)
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Grants and Funding

Summary

Number of grants 4
Total funding $112,024

Click on a grant title below to expand the full details for that specific grant.


20192 grants / $56,636

Assessing potential impacts and challenges of future tropical cyclone risk on the Australian insurance industry$31,636

Funding body: Finity Consulting Pty Limited

Funding body Finity Consulting Pty Limited
Project Team Doctor Andrew Magee
Scheme Research Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2019
Funding Finish 2019
GNo G1900248
Type Of Funding C3111 - Aust For profit
Category 3111
UON Y

Investigation into the extreme wind event at Oakey, Queensland on 25th October 2018$25,000

Funding body: Hensoldt Sensors GmbH

Funding body Hensoldt Sensors GmbH
Project Team Associate Professor Anthony Kiem, Doctor Andrew Magee
Scheme Research Grant
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2019
Funding Finish 2019
GNo G1801425
Type Of Funding C3111 - Aust For profit
Category 3111
UON Y

20181 grants / $27,178

Capacity building in Pacific meteorology and climate change$27,178

Funding body: Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).

Funding body Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).
Project Team Associate Professor Anthony Kiem, Doctor Andrew Magee
Scheme Research Grant
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2018
Funding Finish 2018
GNo G1800952
Type Of Funding C3231 - International Govt - Own Purpose
Category 3231
UON Y

20141 grants / $28,210

Relationship between Climatic Variability and Tropical Cyclones in the South Pacific$28,210

Funding body: CSIRO - Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation

Funding body CSIRO - Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation
Project Team

Associate Professor Anthony Kiem, Mr Andrew Magee, Mr Steven Crimp, Doctor Danielle Verdon-Kidd

Scheme Postgraduate Scholarship
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2014
Funding Finish 2016
GNo
Type Of Funding Other Public Sector - Commonwealth
Category 2OPC
UON N
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Research Supervision

Number of supervisions

Completed1
Current1

Current Supervision

Commenced Level of Study Research Title Program Supervisor Type
2017 PhD Characterising and Attributing Variability of Cyclone Tracks in the Southwest Pacific Earth Sciences, The University of Newcastle Co-Supervisor

Past Supervision

Year Level of Study Research Title Program Supervisor Type
2017 Honours Quantifying the relationship between Indian Ocean sea surface temperature variability and bushfire in monsoonal north Australia Earth Sciences, Faculty of Science | University of Newcastle | Australia Co-Supervisor
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Research Collaborations

The map is a representation of a researchers co-authorship with collaborators across the globe. The map displays the number of publications against a country, where there is at least one co-author based in that country. Data is sourced from the University of Newcastle research publication management system (NURO) and may not fully represent the authors complete body of work.

Country Count of Publications
Australia 4
United Kingdom 1
Japan 1
New Zealand 1
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News

SURVEY - Drought and wellbeing

November 27, 2018

Drought affected rural residents are invited to participate in an online survey which will help inform programs and initiatives targeted at improving resilience to drought.

Capacity building in Pacific meteorology and climate change

August 6, 2018

A new collaboration between the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and UON's Centre for Water, Climate and Land commenced in August 2018 to develop and provide short-term training courses in Pacific meteorology and climate change

Dr Andrew Magee

Position

Postdoctoral Fellow
Centre for Water, Climate and Land (CWCL)
School of Environmental and Life Sciences
Faculty of Science

Contact Details

Email andrew.magee@newcastle.edu.au
Phone (02) 4921 8657

Office

Building Earth Science Building
Location Callaghan
University Drive
Callaghan, NSW 2308
Australia
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