University of Waikato climate scientist Dr Luke Harrington has scooped two awards that recognise his growing reputation in climate change research.
Dr Harrington has been awarded the Hamilton City Council Emerging Scientist Award at the Kudos Science Trust 2023 Awards. He has also been awarded the prestigious Edward Kidson Medal by the New Zealand Meteorological Society, and he's leading three other recent grants that will support environmental resilience in the face of climate change.
The Edward Kidson Medal recognises a scientist who has made a significant contribution that has advanced the science of meteorology and/or climatology.
Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research, Professor Karin Bryan said the awards are a fantastic validation of Dr Harrington’s research.
“We’re excited our students can learn from the expertise and passion of an emerging leader in climate change research, especially those working towards the world first Bachelor of Climate Change degree at the University.”
Of the wins, Dr Harrington said “It’s nice to have the recognition of my peers for some of the research we’ve published, though I’m almost always working with a team of fantastic collaborators. It’s only through these partnerships that we come up with insights which can help decision makers in the real world.”
A Senior Lecturer in Climate Change, Dr Harrington leads the Climate Extremes and Societal Impacts (CLESI) research group at the University.
He says, “We’re looking at extreme weather events, their impacts on society and the role of anthropogenic climate change – all with a view to better prepare New Zealanders for the ongoing impacts of climate change.”
Dr Harrington and CLESI are working on three recently funded complementary research programmes focussed on building the resilience of our environment and homes to extreme weather events. They’re actively seeking postgraduate students to work on the programmes:
- Physically plausible record-shattering drought events in a warming Aotearoa (Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment Smart Ideas grant)
- How misleading are past experiences when planning for future record-shattering rainfall extremes? (Earthquake Commission University Research Programme)
- Could land aridification supercharge summertime warming rates in a maritime climate like Aotearoa? (Marsden Fund Standard Grant)
Dr Harrington is further collaborating on work to help communities and organisations, both in Aotearoa and globally, adapt to worsening extreme weather events. He’s involved with multiple projects working to understand the health risks associated with extreme heat in Aotearoa.
Internationally, he is working with other researchers to assess how worsening climate hazards can disproportionately affect some of the world’s poorest communities, offering insight into the losses and damages from climate change that are already being experienced.