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Dr Danielle Verdon-Kidd

Lecturer

School of Environmental and Life Sciences (Earth Sciences)

Keeping our heads above water

Hydroclimatologist Dr Danielle Verdon-Kidd studies climate to help us better manage our most precious natural resource of all – water.

Danielle’s primary research focuses on studying the drivers of climate variability and change in Australia and the Pacific and investigating how to use these insights to improve natural resource management, particularly with respect to water availability.

An important aspect of this work is helping us future proof our nation through risk assessment and adaptation planning for climate change vulnerability.

At the crux of her work is the puzzle regarding what change in climate is due to human intervention, and what is merely reasonable variability.

Danielle notes that memory and perception can remember climate conditions quite differently from those expressed in recorded data.

“We certainly can’t judge the frequency or magnitude of major weather events solely based on human memory,” Danielle says.

Instead, Danielle uses models and records to assess and forecast short and long-term climate conditions to inform our management of water.

RECORDS AND MODELS

Although anecdotal data contained in diaries and records of early settlers is being further explored, official Bureau of Meteorology records in Australia only stretch as far back as a hundred years, with many areas only holding records for a much shorter period.

To explore conditions past to understand the present, and to predict the future, a much longer-term picture of climate variability is needed.

To redress this absence of instrumental records, a worldwide network of paleoclimatolgists are collecting much older data, determining past conditions by reading environmental indicators recorded by nature in tree rings, coral growth, and cave deposits.

“You determine how the environmental indicators have responded to climate variability in the period where we have been measuring with instruments, and then you take that relationship back further, up to thousands of years in some cases,” Danielle explains.

“While global sea levels and temperatures are rising due to anthropogenic climate change, for the most part we haven’t yet experienced anything outside that of the natural variability in terms of floods and droughts and other extreme events if you take into account paleo records.”

“That in itself is almost scarier, because it means we can have bigger events than what we have experienced since we began to keep records. We really need to take this into account when managing our resources.”

THE FUTURE OF WATER

To project long-term future climate conditions, climatologists also use global climate models (GCMs), while short term forecasting is based on weather models.

“Their fundamentals are based on the laws of physics, including conservation of mass, energy and momentum.” Danielle explains.

“In Australia, our weather is dependent on both the Indian and Pacific Oceans, with variables such as the El Niño–Southern Oscillation, Southern annular mode and The Indian Ocean Dipole and these are not always reproduced accurately in the climate models.”

“There is a whole host of modes from the large-scale to the synoptic that influences Australian rainfall, and so forecasting is about trying to capture all of that in one model, which is a challenge.”

“What I have done in the past is to gather a lot of information relevant to us and see overall what the picture is, instead of relying on one record or model for the whole story.”

She warns that a constantly growing population coupled with a lack of new water storage facilities, and the over allocation of water in our river systems such as the Murray Darling Basin, could see the impacts of drought on Australia becoming increasingly disastrous.

CONSULTATION AND COLLABORATION

Using these records and models, Danielle works on major projects to apply her research in a readily translational context.

From small consulting teams through to Federal Government, Danielle’s climate expertise has been applied to inform water based resource and environment management systems.

Another area of translation on which Danielle is focused, is improving communication of information between researchers and decision makers.

“We did a project with the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility looking at what is creating this communication gap and how can it be actually bridged.”

“One of our main recommendations was that there be an independent body to act as a communicator between the two.”

“Because scientist are not politicians, and politicians aren’t necessarily from a science background.”

Having completed a major collaborative study comparing drought in Texas and the Murray Darling Basin, Danielle is keen to extend collaborations with her American colleagues, especially in regard to exploring novel sources of water.

“They seem to have overcome the stigma attached to recycled water, so we can learn from them drought mitigation strategies that could work here.”

TEACHING AND FUTURE

Danielle is an active member of the UON’s Environmental and Climate Change Research Group (ECCRG) within the School of Environmental and Life Sciences.

As well as teaching into GIS and Remote Sensing, and River Basin Analysis, Danielle works closely with several post-graduate students.

“One of my PhD students has just finished off their dissertation on a project we were working on together looking at tropical cyclone variability in the South West Pacific,” she says.

“Now I've got another PhD students following along from that, and one is going to be looking at tropical cyclones in the Indian Ocean. “

Danielle has been studying the link between bushfires in the Northern territory and climate variability in the Indian Ocean with an honours student.

“Bushfire is so climate-driven, that you can pretty much foresee based on the state of the Pacific and/or Indian Ocean if you are likely to have a year of bad bushfires.”

In the works is collaboration with the University of Melbourne to develop tree ring analysis skills at Newcastle, to further our understanding of local climate variability.

As far as future directions are concerned, Danielle is committed to continue teaching and exploring her passion - climate and water management.

“I'm going to continue what I'm doing to try and solve the puzzle of climate variability and Climate Change issues, and extreme events for Australia and the wider region.”

Keeping our heads above water

Hydroclimatologist Dr Danielle Verdon-Kidd studies climate to help us better manage our most precious natural resource of all – water.

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Career Summary

Biography

Dr Danielle Verdon-Kidd is a lecturer/hydroclimatologist in the Environmental and Climate Change Research Group (ECCRG) within the School of Environmental and Life Sciences. Danielle’s primary research focuses on studying the drivers of climate variability and change in Australia and investigating how to use these insights to improve natural resource management. Of particular interest to Danielle is integrating information from the palaeoclimate records, the instrumental records and Global Climate Models to better assess climate driven risks. Danielle has also carried out a number of projects, within the consulting environment, aimed at helping clients to assess their vulnerability to climate variability/change and their ability to adapt to climate driven risks. Danielle has experience in characterising climate variability and change, hydrological modelling, stochastic modelling, statistical analysis, drought risk analysis, water resources management, computer programming and GIS/spatial analysis.

Research Expertise
• Climate variability and change impacts analysis, particularly with respect to water availability in Australia; • Synoptic climatology for use in seasonal forecasting and climate change impact analysis; • Integrating information from the palaeoclimate records, the instrumental records and Global Climate Models to better assess climate driven risks; • Extreme event risk analysis (e.g. floods, droughts, bushfires); • Hydrological modelling and Stochastic modelling; • Climate change vulnerability/risk assessment and adaptation planning; • GIS/spatial analysis.



Qualifications

  • PhD (Civil Surveying & Environmental Engineering), University of Newcastle
  • Bachelor of Engineering (Environmental Eng), University of Newcastle

Keywords

  • Climate change impact/vulnerability assessment
  • Climate variability
  • Climate variability/change
  • Extreme event risk (drought, bushfire etc)
  • Geographical Information Systems (GIS)
  • Hydrology
  • Palaeoclimatology
  • Remote Sensing
  • Stochastic modelling
  • Synoptic climatology
  • Water resource management
  • hydrology

Fields of Research

Code Description Percentage
040608 Surfacewater Hydrology 45
090599 Civil Engineering not elsewhere classified 35
090799 Environmental Engineering not elsewhere classified 20

Professional Experience

UON Appointment

Title Organisation / Department
Lecturer University of Newcastle
School of Environmental and Life Sciences
Australia
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Grants and Funding

Summary

Number of grants 18
Total funding $1,509,781

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


20152 grants / $114,956

Methodologies for vulnerability, impact and risk assessment, including methods to identify at-risk hotspots$60,000

Funding body: NCCARF (National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility)

Funding body NCCARF (National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility)
Project Team Doctor Danielle Verdon-Kidd, Associate Professor Anthony Kiem, Dr David Wainwright
Scheme Climate Change Adaptation Research Grants Program
Role Lead
Funding Start 2015
Funding Finish 2016
GNo G1501139
Type Of Funding Aust Competitive - Commonwealth
Category 1CS
UON Y

Development of synthetic rainfall distaste to enable long-term landform modelling for periods of up to 10,000 years in the Alligator River Region $54,956

Funding body: Newcastle Innovation

Funding body Newcastle Innovation
Project Team Doctor Danielle Verdon-Kidd, Associate Professor Gregory Hancock
Scheme Administered Research
Role Lead
Funding Start 2015
Funding Finish 2015
GNo G1501244
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
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 G1400683
Type Of Funding Other Public Sector - Commonwealth
Category 2OPC
UON Y

20131 grants / $230,000

Centre for Sediment Tracing and Surface Modelling$230,000

Funding body: University of Newcastle

Funding body University of Newcastle
Project Team Associate Professor Gregory Hancock, Associate Professor Anthony Kiem, Doctor Danielle Verdon-Kidd, Doctor Silvia Frisia, Professor Garry Willgoose
Scheme Equipment Grant
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2013
Funding Finish 2013
GNo G1200138
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON Y

20126 grants / $544,615

The influence of East Coast Lows on the water security of coastal New South Wales$327,415

Funding body: ARC (Australian Research Council)

Funding body ARC (Australian Research Council)
Project Team Professor Garry Willgoose, Associate Professor Anthony Kiem, Doctor Danielle Verdon-Kidd, Professor George Kuczera, Dr Brendan Berghout, Dr Shahadat Chowdhury, Dr Fei Ji
Scheme Linkage Projects
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2012
Funding Finish 2015
GNo G1101084
Type Of Funding Aust Competitive - Commonwealth
Category 1CS
UON Y

The influence of East Coast Lows on the water security of coastal New South Wales$100,000

Funding body: NSW Office of Environment and Heritage

Funding body NSW Office of Environment and Heritage
Project Team Professor Garry Willgoose, Associate Professor Anthony Kiem, Doctor Danielle Verdon-Kidd, Professor George Kuczera, Dr Brendan Berghout, Dr Shahadat Chowdhury, Dr Fei Ji
Scheme Research Grant
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2012
Funding Finish 2014
GNo G1100760
Type Of Funding Other Public Sector - State
Category 2OPS
UON Y

The influence of East Coast Lows on the water security of coastal New South Wales$50,000

Funding body: NSW Department of Finance and Services

Funding body NSW Department of Finance and Services
Project Team Professor Garry Willgoose, Associate Professor Anthony Kiem, Doctor Danielle Verdon-Kidd, Professor George Kuczera, Dr Brendan Berghout, Dr Shahadat Chowdhury, Dr Fei Ji
Scheme Linkage Projects Partner Funding
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2012
Funding Finish 2015
GNo G1300846
Type Of Funding Other Public Sector - State
Category 2OPS
UON Y

Understanding climate processes of high yield catchments in eastern Australia (funded by Murray Darling Basin Authority (MDBA))$46,200

Funding body: Newcastle Innovation

Funding body Newcastle Innovation
Project Team Associate Professor Anthony Kiem, Doctor Danielle Verdon-Kidd
Scheme Administered Research
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2012
Funding Finish 2012
GNo G1200880
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON Y

The influence of East Coast Lows on the water security of coastal New South Wales$20,000

Funding body: Hunter Water Corporation

Funding body Hunter Water Corporation
Project Team Professor Garry Willgoose, Associate Professor Anthony Kiem, Doctor Danielle Verdon-Kidd, Professor George Kuczera, Dr Brendan Berghout, Dr Shahadat Chowdhury, Dr Fei Ji
Scheme Linkage Projects Partner Funding
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2012
Funding Finish 2015
GNo G1300845
Type Of Funding Other Public Sector - State
Category 2OPS
UON Y

Factors and measures that overcome barriers to climate change adaptation$1,000

Funding body: NCCARF (National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility)

Funding body NCCARF (National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility)
Project Team Associate Professor Anthony Kiem, Doctor Danielle Verdon-Kidd, Miss Emma Austin
Scheme Primary Industries Adaption Research Network Travel Grant
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2012
Funding Finish 2012
GNo G1200595
Type Of Funding Other Public Sector - Commonwealth
Category 2OPC
UON Y

20112 grants / $272,000

Bridging the gap between end user needs and science capability: dealing with uncertainty in future scenarios$172,000

Funding body: NCCARF (National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility)

Funding body NCCARF (National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility)
Project Team Doctor Danielle Verdon-Kidd, Associate Professor Anthony Kiem
Scheme Synthesis and Integrative Research Programme
Role Lead
Funding Start 2011
Funding Finish 2012
GNo G1101078
Type Of Funding Aust Competitive - Commonwealth
Category 1CS
UON Y

Specifying Australia's climate Variability in the context of a changing climate$100,000

Funding body: Grains Research and Development Corporation

Funding body Grains Research and Development Corporation
Project Team Associate Professor Anthony Kiem, Doctor Danielle Verdon-Kidd
Scheme R&D Open Tender - Agronomy, Soils and Environment
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2011
Funding Finish 2012
GNo G1000975
Type Of Funding Aust Competitive - Rural R&D
Category 1RS
UON Y

20105 grants / $294,700

Characterising multi-decadal changes in mid-latitude climate - future implications for Victorian Water Resources (funded by the State of Victoria through the Department of Sustainability and Environme$117,200

Funding body: Newcastle Innovation

Funding body Newcastle Innovation
Project Team Doctor Danielle Verdon-Kidd, Associate Professor Anthony Kiem
Scheme Administered Research
Role Lead
Funding Start 2010
Funding Finish 2010
GNo G1000550
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON Y

Drought and the future of small inland towns$80,000

Funding body: NCCARF (National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility)

Funding body NCCARF (National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility)
Project Team Associate Professor Anthony Kiem, Doctor Meg Sherval, Professor Garry Willgoose, Prof PAULINE McGuirk, Conjoint Associate Professor Helen Berry, Doctor Danielle Verdon-Kidd
Scheme Synthesis and Integrative Research Programme
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2010
Funding Finish 2010
GNo G0900227
Type Of Funding Other Public Sector - Commonwealth
Category 2OPC
UON Y

Utilising insights into climate patterns and causal processes to improve seasonal to multidecadal hydroclimatic forecasting in South East Australia$42,500

Funding body: CSIRO - Land and Water

Funding body CSIRO - Land and Water
Project Team Associate Professor Anthony Kiem, Doctor Danielle Verdon-Kidd
Scheme Flagship Scholarship
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2010
Funding Finish 2013
GNo G1000333
Type Of Funding Other Public Sector - Commonwealth
Category 2OPC
UON Y

Limits to climate change adaptation for small inland communities affected by drought$40,000

Funding body: NCCARF (National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility)

Funding body NCCARF (National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility)
Project Team Associate Professor Anthony Kiem, Doctor Danielle Verdon-Kidd
Scheme Synthesis and Integrative Research Programme
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2010
Funding Finish 2010
GNo G1000946
Type Of Funding Aust Competitive - Commonwealth
Category 1CS
UON Y

Utilising insights into climate patterns and causal processes to improve seasonal to multidecadal hydroclimatic forecasting in South East Australia$15,000

Funding body: NCCARF (National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility)

Funding body NCCARF (National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility)
Project Team Associate Professor Anthony Kiem, Doctor Danielle Verdon-Kidd
Scheme Water Network Scholarship
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2010
Funding Finish 2012
GNo G1000346
Type Of Funding Other Public Sector - Commonwealth
Category 2OPC
UON Y

20091 grants / $25,300

Review of current understanding into Murray-Darling Basin climate patterns and causal processes (funded by Murray-Darling Basin Authority)$25,300

Funding body: Newcastle Innovation

Funding body Newcastle Innovation
Project Team Associate Professor Anthony Kiem, Doctor Danielle Verdon-Kidd
Scheme Administered Research
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2009
Funding Finish 2009
GNo G1000828
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON Y
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Research Supervision

Number of supervisions

Completed3
Current4

Total current UON EFTSL

Masters0.8
PhD1.2

Current Supervision

Commenced Level of Study Research Title Program Supervisor Type
2018 PhD Climate Change and Australian Wine Regions: A Spatial Analysis of Historic, Current, and Future Suitability PhD (Environmental Sc), Faculty of Science, The University of Newcastle Principal Supervisor
2017 PhD Application of Soil Carbon Modelling to the 3-D Landscape PhD (Environmental Sc), Faculty of Science, The University of Newcastle Co-Supervisor
2017 Masters Characterising and Attributing Variability of Cyclone Tracks in the Southwest Pacific M Philosophy (EnvironmentalSc), Faculty of Science, The University of Newcastle Principal Supervisor
2013 PhD Soil Organic Carbon Dynamics Across a Number of Catchment Scales PhD (Physical Geography), Faculty of Science, The University of Newcastle Co-Supervisor

Past Supervision

Year Level of Study Research Title Program Supervisor Type
2016 PhD An Investigation of Indo-Pacific Climate Variability and Tropical Cyclogenesis in the Southwest Pacific PhD (Environmental Sc), Faculty of Science, The University of Newcastle Principal Supervisor
2015 PhD Utilising Insights into Rainfall Patterns and Climate Drivers to Inform Seasonal Rainfall Forecasting in South Australia PhD (Environmental Sc), Faculty of Science, The University of Newcastle Co-Supervisor
2014 PhD A Paleoclimate-Informed Examination of Flood and Drought Epochs in the Murray-Darling Basin PhD (Environmental Sc), Faculty of Science, The University of Newcastle Co-Supervisor
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Dr Danielle Verdon-Kidd

Position

Lecturer
Environmental and Climate Change Research Group
School of Environmental and Life Sciences
Faculty of Science

Focus area

Earth Sciences

Contact Details

Email danielle.verdon@newcastle.edu.au
Phone (02) 4921 5749
Fax (02) 4921 6925

Office

Room GG22
Building Geology.
Location Callaghan
University Drive
Callaghan, NSW 2308
Australia
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