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Awarded for service to Science
Born: 3 August 1965
Entered on roll: 2011
Susan Wijffels was born in Bourke, New South Wales, in 1965. Prior to joining the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in 1994, Susan was a postdoctoral investigator with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, United States.
Susan has made fundamental advances to the measurement and understanding of the role of the ocean in climate change and the climate of Australia. Her focus is an observationally based understanding of large-scale ocean processes and change, and their role in climate change and variability.
Susan is internationally recognised as an expert on the Indonesian Throughflow, ocean warming and freshwater changes and transport, and our regional boundary currents. She led and organised an international team to successfully carry out the first comprehensive field program to measure the Indonesian Throughflow, a critical component of global ocean overturning circulation. Her quantification of this has provided key knowledge for the development of ocean and climate models.
As a research leader at CSIRO, Susan was the CSIRO coordinator for the Quantitative Marine Science Joint PhD Program with the University of Tasmania. She also hosted CSIRO’s first Fulbright Scholar.
Susan’s leadership is internationally recognised through invited talks and membership of international panels and advisory committees including the Australian Antarctic Science Advisory Committee, the Australian Academy of Sciences Earth Systems Science Committee and the Science Advisory Committee for the high profile International Pacific Research Centre. Susan was also a founding member of the international Argo Program, helping in the design of the global measurement system. She was appointed co-chair of the International Argo Program in 2010.
Susan has received numerous awards in her field, including the Australian Academy of Sciences Dorothy Hill Award for excellence in earth sciences, the M R Banks Medal from the Royal Society of Tasmania and the Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society Priestley Medal for personal excellence in oceanographic research.