Celebrating a Bluelink career

September 6th, 2021

Dr Andreas Schiller, a founding member of the Bluelink partnership, and acting Director of CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere, has recently retired and become an Honorary Fellow.

Andreas joined CSIRO in 1995 before operational ocean models existed in Australia. He soon began work pioneering the first coupled ocean-atmosphere model for seasonal climate prediction in Australia (POAMA) which became operational at BoM in 2003. Predictions from this model enabled industries to better prepare for climate variability. From there, he turned his attention to the ocean.

Back in 2002, when Bluelink was in its infancy, Australia’s ocean forecasting capability was limited to seasonal forecasts at 2 degrees resolution. Andreas, who was leading CSIRO’s contribution to Bluelink, proposed a 0.1 degree model. He was told it was “too ambitious, impossible”. Luckily, he did not listen to the nay-sayers and set to work.

photo of scientists with Argo float
Chris Gerbing, CSIRO

David Griffin (left) and Andreas Schiller (right), members of Bluelink with an Argo float in 2006

By 2007, an operational ocean model, OceanMAPS, was running at 0.1 degree around Australia and with coarser resolution elsewhere. It was the first of its kind in the southern hemisphere. Since 2014, OceanMAPS has been producing 0.1 degree near-global forecasts, every day of the year. Andreas has led a large part of the development in global ocean modelling that enabled these huge advancements.

Andreas has shown strong leadership and commitment to the Bluelink tri-agency partnership between CSIRO, the Bureau of Meteorology and the Department of Defence. His collaborative approach and careful attention has helped smooth the way in which the three differing organisations work together.

He has led international organisations, including 9 years as co-chair of the GODAE OceanView Science Team, and the Global Ocean Observing System Regional Alliance in the Indian Ocean. Andreas has published more than 80 research papers, reports, book chapters and invited conference papers, including co-editing the book “Operational Oceanography in the 21st Century“, and leading the authorship of the 2020 paper “Bluelink Ocean Forecasting Australia: 15 years of operational ocean service delivery with societal, economic and environmental benefits.

Andreas jokes that scientific discussions can be heated, and sometimes scientists have to agree to disagree. However, he adds that it is the richness and diversity of ideas that is the fuel of great scientific progress.

Next year will mark 20 years since the inception of Bluelink. At times like this it is good to acknowledge how far the science has come, and who has led or facilitated the progress. Dr Andreas Schiller is one who has.

“May the forecasts be even more accurate in the future than they are already” – Dr Andreas Schiller

 

photo collage
Peter Oke 2021

Some of the first author papers by Andreas Schiller

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