Science and Engineering


26 June 2017

A weather forecasting revolution 50 years in the making is saving lives and helping industry make better decisions in the face of chaotic weather and climate change.  

Head of Research at the Bureau of Meteorology and Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute (AMSI) Winter School 2017 public lecturer, Dr Peter May, says computer modelling and data science has dramatically transformed forecast accuracy and extended weather prediction capability.

“These tools have changed the scale and capability of our research, we now produce five-day forecasts as accurate as three-day forecasts were just ten years ago. The Bureau’s modelling ranges from hours to two years and climate projections over the next 100,” he says.

With climate change leaving greater concentrations of people in vulnerable locations and increasing stress on agricultural industries and water supply, long-term outlooks and understanding of the impact on communities and economies is critical.

“Providing ever finer detail means we can provide increasingly accurate modelling to inform long-term planning. Working on time scales of as little as a day, we can also link critical flood risk and fire forecasts to their impact for those down at the farm or catchment,” says Dr May. 

A leader in understanding the physics of thunderstorms and tropical cyclones, Dr May warns a flood of data without long-term mathematical, social science and advanced computing capability poses a risk.

“Long-term, it is vital we maintain the tools and workforce to turn this data into information to make better decisions, otherwise we risk drowning our forecasters in data with little impact where it is needed,” he says.

Dr May will deliver this year’s AMSI Winter School public lecture at QUT from 6.30 pm on 3 July.

Register for the public lecture: Models, maths and the revolution in weather forecasting

AMSI Director, Professor Geoff Prince says the Institute is excited to partner with QUT and event sponsors to showcase the impact of mathematics to the broader community.

This research illustrates the power of mathematics and statistics to deliver real community and economic impacts that will benefit Australians now and into the future,” says AMSI Director, Professor Geoff Prince.

AMSI Winter School 2017 will run over two weeks in from 26 June to 7 July.

Headlined by national and global field leaders, this year’s program will provide students with cutting-edge insights into computational data science.

AMSI Winter 2017 is sponsored by AMSI, QUT, the Department of Education and Training, the BHP Billiton Foundation, SGI, ACEMS, Tech One, QCIF and, the Simulation Group.

A Women in Maths networking event is also being hosted on 28 June, all welcome.

Register for the networking event: Highlighting the contribution of women in the mathematical sciences

Available for Interview: Dr Peter May, Head of Research, the Bureau of Meteorology

Professor Geoff Prince, AMSI Director.  Contact: Laura Watson on or 04215 18733

Science and Engineering Faculty QUT
Science and Engineering Faculty QUT

Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute, QUT