Dr Joelle Gergis

BSc (Honour Class 1), PhD (Climatology), Dip (Professional Writing and Editing)
Senior Lecturer

Dr Joëlle Gergis is an award-winning climate scientist and writer from the Australian National University. She is an internationally recognised expert in Australian and Southern Hemisphere climate variability and change; based in the Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes. Her research focuses on providing a long-term historical context for assessing recently observed climate variability and extremes.

In 2013 Dr Gergis was awarded an Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) fellowship, and her team won the 2014 Eureka Prize for Excellence in Interdisciplinary Scientific Research - informally known as the 'Oscars of Australian Science'.

In 2015 Dr Gergis was awarded the Dean's Award for Excellence in Research in the Faculty of Science at the University of Melbourne. In February 2018, she was selected to serve as a lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report - a global, state-of-the art review of climate change science.

In August 2018 she was appointed to the Climate Council, Australia's leading independent body providing expert advice to the Australian public on climate change and policy.

Her book, Sunburnt Country: The future and history of climate change in Australia, is now available through Melbourne University Publishing.

In November 2019 Dr Gergis received the 2019 AMOS Science Outreach Award, a national prize for science communication awarded by the Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society (AMOS), Australia’s peak professional body for climate science.

 

Research interests

Dr Gergis's research focuses on reconstructing climate variability over the past 200–1,000 years using monthly–annually-resolved tree rings, corals, ice cores and historical records. Her current research interests include:

  • Climate variability and change in Australia, Australasia and the Southern Hemisphere
  • Climate reconstructions of the last 1,000 years
  • Palaeoclimate data–climate model comparisons of the last 1,000 years
  • Historical climatology
  • Australian climate history
  • Citizen science.

 

Journal articles, books and book chapters

Gergis, J. (2019). Historical variability of Australian droughts and their societal impacts. Climate of the Past (in preparation).

Nash, D.J., and coauthors including Gergis, J. (2019). Climate indices in historical climate reconstructions: a global state of the art. Climate of the Past (in preparation).

Gergis, J., Ashcroft, L., and Whetton, P. (2019). A historical perspective on Australian temperature extremes. Climate Dynamics (in review).

Gergis, J. (2019). The terrible truth of climate change in Facing the Storm: Love, Loss and Hope in the Face of Environmental Crisis, NewSouth Publishing, (in press).

Brönnimann, S., and coauthors including Gergis, J. (2019). Unlocking pre-1850 instrumental meteorological records: A global inventory. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society: https://doi.org/10.1175/BAMS-D- 19-0040.1.

Slivinski, L. C., and coauthors, including Gergis, J. (2019). Towards a more reliable historical reanalysis:Improvements for version 3 of the Twentieth Century Reanalysis system. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society: https://doi.org/10.1002/qj.3598.

Allan, R.J., Gergis, J., and DʼArrigo, R. (2019). Placing the AD 2014– 2016 ‘protractedʼ El Niño episode into a long-term context. The Holocene: https://doi.org/10.1177/0959683619875788.

Gergis, J. (2018). Sunburnt Country: The future and history of climate change in Australia, Melbourne University Press, 310pp.

Oreskes, N., Conway, E.M., Karoly, D.J., Gergis, J., Neu, U., and Pfister, C., (2018). The denial of global warming. Palgrave Handbook of Climate History, Palgrave Macmillan, p 149-171.

Damodaran, V., Allan, R.J., Ogilvie, A.E., Demarée, G.R., Gergis, J., Mikami, T., Mikhail, A., Nicolson, S.E., Norgarrd, S., and Hamilton, J. (2018). The 1780s: Global Climate Anomalies, Floods, Droughts and Famines. Palgrave Handbook of Climate History, Palgrave Macmillan, p 517-550.

Gergis, J., Ashcroft, L. and Garden, D. (2018). A climate history of Australia. Palgrave Handbook of Climate History, Palgrave Macmillan, p 237-245.

PAGES2k Consortium, including Aus2k coauthor Gergis, J., (2017). A global multi-proxy database for temperature reconstructions of the Common Era. Scientific Data 4 (4i170088 ): DOI: 10.1038/sdata.2017.88.

Power, S., Saurral, R., Chung, C., Colman, R., Kharin, S., Boer, G., Gergis, J., Henley, B.J., Arblaster, J., Liguori, G. (2017). Towards the prediction of multi-year to decadal climate variability in the Southern Hemisphere. CLIVAR Exchanges 72: 32–40.

Dixon, B.C., Tyler, J.J., Lorrey, A.M., Goodwin, I.D., Gergis, J., and Drysdale, R.N. (2017). Low-resolution Australasian palaeoclimate records of the past 2000 years. Climate of the Past 13: 1403-1433.

Hope, P., Henley, B.J, Gergis, J., Brown, J., and Ye, H. (2016). Time varying spectral characteristics of ENSO over the last millennium. Climate Dynamics DOI: 10.1007/s00382-016-3393-z.

Ashcroft, L., Allan, R.J., Benoy, M., Bridgman, H., Gergis, J., Pudmenzky, C., and Thornton, K. (2016). Current climate data rescue activities in Australia. Advances in Atmospheric Sciences 33 (12): 10.1007/s00376- 016-6189-5.

Abram, N.J., McGregor, H.V., Tierney, J.E., Evans, M.N., McKay, N.P., Kaufman, D.S., K.J., Thirumalai, K., Martrat, B., Goosse, H., Phipps, S.J., Steig, E.J., Kilbourne, K.H., Saenger, C.P., Zinke, J., Leduc, G., Addison, J.A., Mortyn, P.G., Seidenkrantz, M.S., Sicre, M.A., Selvaraj, K., Filipsson,H.L., Neukom, R., Gergis, J., Curran, M., and von Gunten, L. (2016). The onset of industrial-era warming across the oceans and continents. Nature 536 (7617): 411-418.

Gergis, J., Neukom, R., Gallant, A., and Karoly, D.J. (2016). Australasian temperature reconstructions spanning the last millennium. Journal of Climate 29: 5365–5392.

Gergis, J., and Henley, B.J. (2016). Southern Hemisphere rainfall variability over the past 200 years. Climate Dynamics 48 (7): 2087-2105.

PAGES2k–PMIP3 Group: Bothe, O., Evans, M., Fernández Donado, L., Garcia Bustamante, E., Gergis, J., Gonzalez-Rouco, J.F., Goosse, H., Hegerl, G., Hind, A., Jungclaus, J., Kaufman,D., Lehner, F., McKay, N., Moberg, A., Raible, C.C., Schurer, A., Shi, F., Smerdon, J. E., von Gunten, L., Wagner, S., Warren, E., Widmann, M., Yiou, P., Zorita, E. (2015). Continental- scale temperature variability in PMIP3 simulations and PAGES 2k regional temperature reconstructions over the past millennium. Climate of the Past 11 (3): 2483-2555.

Brown, J., Hope, P., Gergis, J, and Henley, B.J. (2015). ENSO teleconnections with Australian rainfall in coupled model simulations of the last millennium. Climate Dynamics DOI 10.1007/s00382-015-2824-6.

Ashcroft, L., Gergis, J. and Karoly, D.J. (2015). Long-term stationarity of El Niño—Southern Oscillation teleconnections in southeastern Australia. Climate Dynamics 46 (9): 2991-3006.

Henley, B.J., Gergis, J., Karoly, D.J., Power, S., Kennedy, J. and Folland, C. (2015). A Tripole Index for the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation. Climate Dynamics DOI 10.1007/s00382-015-2525-1

Pearson, S., Cork, S., Zammitt, C., Plant, R., Gergis, J., Gell, P., Dodson, J., Richard Thackway, R., Sealie, L., Lynch, J. and Taffs, K. (2015). The use of natural archives of ecosystem services, resilience and thresholds to improve policy, science and practice. The Holocene 25(2) 366–378.

Ashcroft, L., Gergis, J. and Karoly, D.J. (2014). A historical climate dataset for southeastern Australia,1788–1859. Geoscience Data Journal DOI: 10.1002/gdj3.1.

Fenby, C., Garden, D., and Gergis, J. (2014). ‘The usual weather in New South Wales is uncommonly bright and clear…equal to the finest summer day in England: Climate and Weather in New South Wales, 1788–1815,ʼ in Climate, Science and Colonization: Histories from Australia and New Zealand, edited by James Beattie, Matthew Henry and Emily OʼGorman, New York, Palgrave Macmillan, pp 43–60.

Neukom, R., Gergis J., Karoly, D.J., Frank, D., Villalba, R., Zinke, J., Linsley, B., Raible, C., González-Rouco, F. and Steig, E. (2014). Southern Hemisphere temperature variability over the last millennium, Nature Climate Change 4: 362–367.

Ashcroft, L., Karoly, D.J. and Gergis, J. (2013). South-eastern Australian climate 1860–2009: a multivariate approach. International Journal of Climatology DOI: 10.1002/joc.3812.

Mills, K., Gell, P., Gergis, J., Baker, P., Finlayson, M., Hesse, P., Jones, R., Kershaw, P., Pearson, S., Treble, P., Barr, C., Brookhouse, M., Drysdale, R., McDonald, J., Haberle, S., Reid, M., Thoms, M., Tibby, J. (2013). Palaeoclimate studies and natural resource management in the Murray-Darling Basin II: unravelling past human impact and climate variability. Australian Journal of Earth Sciences DOI: 10.1080/08120099.2013.804879.

Phipps, S., McGregor, H., Gergis, J., Gallant, A. J. E., Neukom, R., Stevenson, S., van Ommen, T., Brown, J., Fischer, M. and Ackerley, D. (2013). Palaeoclimate data–model comparison: Concepts and application to the climate of Australasia over the past 1500 years. Journal of Climate 26, 6915–6936.

PAGES Regional 2K consortium including Aus2K coauthors Gergis, J., Lorrey A.M and Phipps, S.J. (2013). Continental-scale temperature variability during the past two millennia, Nature Geoscience 6: 339–346.

Fenby, C. and Gergis, J. (2013). A rainfall history of south-eastern Australia Part 1: a consolidation of pre-instrumental evidence from documentary sources, 1788–1860. International Journal of Climatology DOI: 10.1002/joc.3640.

Gergis, J., and Ashcroft, L. (2013). A rainfall history of south-eastern Australia Part 2: a comparison of documentary, early instrumental and palaeoclimate records, 1788–2008. International Journal of Climatology DOI: 10.1002/joc.3639.

Ashcroft, L., Karoly D. and Gergis, J. (2012). Southeastern Australian temperature variations 1860–2011. Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Journal 62: 227–245.

Neukom, R. and Gergis, J. (2012). Southern Hemisphere high resolution palaeoclimate records of the past 2000 years. The Holocene, 5: 501–524.

Fowler, A. M., Boswijk, G., Lorrey, A.M., Gergis, J., Pirie, M., McCloskey, S. , Palmer, J. and Wunder, J. (2012). Multi-centennial tree-ring record of ENSO-related activity in New Zealand. Nature Climate Change, 2, 172– 176.

Gergis, J., Gallant, A. J. E., Braganza, K., Karoly, D. J., Allen, K., Cullen, L., DʼArrigo, R., Goodwin, I., Grierson, P. and McGregor, S. (2012). On the long- term context of the 1997-2009 ‘Big Dryʼ in south-eastern Australia: insights from a 206-year multi-proxy rainfall reconstruction. Climatic Change, 111 (3): 923–944.

Gallant, A. J. E., and Gergis, J. (2011). An experimental streamflow reconstruction for the River Murray, Australia, 1783–1988, Water Resources Research 47, W00G04, doi:10.1029/2010WR009832.

Gergis, J., Garden, D. and Fenby, C. (2010). The influence of climate on the first European settlement of Australia: a comparison of weather journals, documentary data and palaeoclimate records, 1788–1793. Environmental History, 15(3):1–23.

Gergis, J., Brohan, P. and Allan, R.J. (2010). The Weather of the First Fleet Voyage to Botany Bay, 1787–1788. Weather 65 (12): 315-319.

Gergis, J., Karoly, D.J. and Allan, R.J. (2009). A climate reconstruction of Sydney Cove, New South Wales, using weather journal and documentary data, 1788–1791. Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Journal 58 83-98.

Gergis, J. and Fowler, A. (2009). A history of El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events since A.D. 1525; implications for future climate change. Climatic Change 92(3): 343-387.

Braganza, K., Gergis, J., Power, S., Risbey, J. and Fowler, A. (2009). A multiproxy index of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation, A.D. 1525-1982, Journal of Geophysical Research (Atmospheres) D05106, doi:10.1029/2008JD010896: p1-17.

Gergis, J. (2008).Documentary accounts of the impacts of past climate variability on the early colony of New South Wales, 1788–1791: a preliminary analysis. Bulletin of the Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society, 21(5), 103-107.

Fowler, A.M., Boswijk, G., Gergis, J. and Lorrey, A. (2008). ENSO history recorded in Ag athis australis (Kauri) tree-rings Part A: Kauriʼs potential as an ENSO proxy. International Journal of Climatology 28(1):1–20.

Gergis, J. and Fowler, A. (2006). How unusual was late Twentieth Century El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO)? Assessing evidence from tree-ring, coral, ice and documentary archives, A.D. 1525-2002. Advances in Geosciences, 6: 173-179.

Gergis, J., Fowler, A., Braganza, K., Risbey, J. and Mooney, S (2006). Reconstructing El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) from high- resolution palaeoarchives. Journal of Quaternary Science, 21(7):707-722.

Gergis, J. and Fowler, A. (2005). Classification of synchronous oceanic and atmospheric El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events for palaeoclimate reconstruction. International Journal of Climatology, 25: 1541–1565.

Reports

Steffen, W., Bambrick, H., Hussey, K., Gergis, J., Bourne, G., Brailsford, L. and Dean, A. (2019). Welcome to Queensland: Renewable one day, and the next, and next. Climate Council of Australia, pp 52.

Steffen, W., Vertessy, R., Dean, A., Hughes, L., Bambrick, H., Gergis, J. and Rice, M. (2018). Deluge and Drought: Australia’s Water Security in a Changing Climate. Climate Council of Australia, pp 92.

Gergis, J., Lorrey, A., Abram, N., Henley, B.J., Phipps, S.J., Saunders, K.M., and Aus2k Workshop Participants. (2016). 4th Aus2k workshop report – Australasian palaeoclimate of the last 2000 years: Inter-comparison of climate field reconstruction methodologies, modeling, and data synthesis approaches. PAGES Magazine 24 (1): 42.

Gergis, J., Phipps, S.J., Lorrey, A., Abram, N., Henley, B.J., Saunders, K.M., and Aus2k Workshop Participants. (2016). Australasian palaeoclimate of the last 2000 years: Inter-comparison of climate field reconstruction methodologies, modeling, and data synthesis approaches. Quaternary Australasia 31(1): 23–25.

PAGES Regional 2K consortium including Aus2K coauthor Gergis, J. (2014). PAGES 2k — A framework for community-driven climate reconstructions during the past two millennia. Eos 95 (40): 361-362.

Gergis, J., Hope, P., Abram, N., Brown, J., Phipps, S.J., Henley, B., Lorrey, A., Roop, H., and Tyler, J. (2014). Australasiaʼs past climate variability. Quaternary Australasia 31(2): 20–23.

Hope, P., Gergis, J., Abram, N., Brown, J., Phipps, S., Henley, B., Lorrey, A., Roop, H., and Tyler, J. (2014). Australasiaʼs past climate variability: strengths drawn from palaeoclimate and model data over the last 2000 years. Bulletin of the Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society 27(5): 92–95.

Gergis, J., Hope, P., Abram N. and Henley, B. (2014). Australasiaʼs climate variability: clues drawn from paleoclimate and model data over the last 2000 years. PAGES News 22 (2): 101.

Von Gunten, L., D.M. Anderson, B. Chase1, M. Curran, J. Gergis, E.P. Gille, W. Gross, S. Hanhijärvi, D.S. Kaufman, T. Kiefer, N.P. McKay, I. Mundo1, R. Neukom, M. Sano1, A. Shah, J. Tyler, A. Viau, S. Wagner, E.R. Wahl and D. Willard (2013). The backbone of PAGES 2k: data management and archiving. PAGES News 21(3): 87.

Gergis, J., Grierson, P., Lorrey, A., Palmer, J. and Phipps, S.J. (2011). 2nd Aus2K regional network workshop: data synthesis and research planning. Quaternary Australasia 28(1): 21–22.

Gergis, J., Grierson, P., Lorrey, A., Palmer, J. and Phipps, S.J. (2011). 2nd Australasia 2k Network workshop: Data synthesis and research planning. Meeting of the PAGES Aus2k Working Group – Perth, Australia, 27–29 April 2011. PAGES News, 19 (2): 74–75.

Turney, C., Gergis, J., Lorrey, A., Palmer, J., Phipps, S.J., van Ommen, T. (2010). The 1st Australasia 2k regional workshop: Towards data synthesis, Melbourne Australia, 31 May – 2 June 2010, PAGES News, 18 (2): 91– 92.

Gergis, J. and Gallant A. (2010). Communicating climate change: advice from Science meets Parliament 2010. Bulletin of the Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society 22 (2):4–6.

Phipps, S., Gergis, J. and Petherick, L. (2009). PAGES 1st Young Scientists Meeting and 3rd Open Science Meeting, Quaternary Australasia 26, 8–9.

Gell, P., Gergis, J. Mills, K., Baker, P., De Deckker, P., Finlayson, M., Hesse, P., Jones, R., Kershaw, P., Pearson, S., Treble, P., Barr, C., Brookhouse, M., Drysdale, R., Haberle, S. Karoly, D.J., McDonald, J., Reid, M., Thoms, M., and Tibby, J. (2009). Palaeoclimate studies relevant to natural resource management in the Murray–Darling Basin, in Murray-Darling Basin Authority Science Review, Canberra, Australia.

Braganza, K., J. L. Gergis, S. B. Power, J. S. Risbey, and A. M. Fowler (2009), A new basin-wide multi-proxy index of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation, A.D. 1525-1982, Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research Technical Report No 005: 1–74.

Gergis, J. (2007). A report on the 2nd International Young Scientistsʼ Global Change Conference and the 2nd Earth System Science Partnershipʼs Open Science Conference, Nov 5-12th 2006, Beijing, China. Quaternary Australasia, 24(2):40–42.

Braganza, K., Gergis, J., Risbey, J., Fowler, A., Turney, C. and Nicholls, N. (2006). Palaeo-evidence of historic Australian climate variability. Climatic Change Research in Bureau of Meteorology Research Centre (BMRC) Research Report No. 125, Bureau of Meteorology, Melbourne Australia.

Gergis, J., Boswijk, G. and Fowler, A. (2005). An update of modern Northland Kauri (Agathis australis) tree-ring chronologies Part 1: Puketi State Forest. New Zealand tree-ring Site Report No.19 School of Geography and Environmental Science Working Paper 29, University of Auckland, New Zealand.

Gergis, J., Boswijk, G. and Fowler, A. (2005). An update of modern Northland Kauri (Agathis australis) tree-ring chronologies Part 2: Trounson Kauri Park. New Zealand tree-ring Site Report No. 20, School of Geography and Environmental Science Working Paper 30, University of Auckland, New Zealand.

Other publications

Gergis, J. (2019). Emergency on planet Earth. Harpers Bazaar, December 2019, p 54–55.

Gergis, J. (2019). I never thought Iʼd see the Australian rainforest burning. What will it take for us to wake up to the climate crisis? The Guardian 10 September 2019.

Gergis, J. (2019). The terrible truth of climate change. The Monthly, 1 August 2019.

Gergis, J. (2018) Black skies and raging seas: how the First Fleet got a first taste of Australiaʼs unforgiving climate. The Conversation 2 April 2018.

Gergis, J. and Whetton, P. (2017). Can art put us in touch with how we feel about climate change? The Conversation 4 May 2017.

Gergis, J. (2017). Northern NSW is no stranger to floods, but this one was different. The Conversation, 7 April 2017.

Ashcroft, L., Gergis, J., and Karoly, D.J. (2017). Delving through settlersʼ diaries can reveal Australiaʼs colonial-era climate. The Conversation, 10 February 2017.

McGregor, H.V., Gergis, J., Abram, N.J., and Phipps, S.J. (2016). The Industrial Revolution kick-startedglobal warming much earlier than we realised. The Conversation, 25 August 2016.

Gergis, J. (2016). How a single word sparked a four-year saga of climate fact-checking and blog backlash. The Conversation, 11 July 2016.

Gergis, J. (2014). Southern Hemisphere climate follows the beat of a different drummer. Australasian Science 2014, Dec: 34–36.

Gergis, J. (2010). Winning the guerrilla war on climate change at Science meets Parliament 2010. University of Melbourne Science Matters, 19 March 2010.

Gergis, J. (2010) Salvaging sunken treasure. SL Magazine, State Library of New South Wales, Winter 2010, 18–21.

Gergis, J. (2009). Leaping forward through the past: how historical documents can help scientists understand climate change. University of Melbourne Collections, 4 42–44.

Karoly, D.J and Gergis, J. (2009). Turning up the heat. Sydney Morning Herald, 30 March 2009.

Gergis, J. (2007). Lessons of the elders. COSMOS Magazine, issue 18 (Dec/Jan), p74–79.

Gergis, J. (2007). Backing Australiaʼs ability? Wet Ink, issue 9 (Dec/Jan), p14–15.

Gergis, J. (2007). Portrait: The Weather Warrior (Karl Braganza). COSMOS Magazine, issue 16 (June/July) 2007. See the ABCʼs Catalyst profile based on this article.

Gergis, J. (2007). No more climate distractions. COSMOS online, 27 July 2007.

Gergis, J. (2006). Reconstructing El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO); evidence from tree-ring, coral, ice core and documentary palaeoarchives, A.D. 1525–2002. Quaternary Australasia 24(1):14.

Gergis, J. (2006). Reconstructing El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO); evidence from tree-ring, coral, ice core and documentary palaeoarchives, A.D. 1525–2002. PhD Thesis, School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of New South Wales, Australia.

In 2020, Dr Gergis will teach ENVS2004/6204 Fire, Flood and Drought and ENVS3013/ENVS6303 Climate Change Past, Present and Future.