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Personal profile


After completing my PhD, I held postdoctoral positions at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and the University of Munich. I returned to Monash University as a Lecturer in the Department of Mathematics, rising through the ranks to become a Full Professor. I am now a Professor in the newly-formed School of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment.

Research interests

My research has been focused principally on the science of weather producing systems (such as fronts, extra-tropical cyclones, hurricanes, gravity waves). This work is a blend of theory, computer modelling and observations (having been a chief investigator in 12 major field experiments in Australia and overseas).

My early research concentrated on the dynamics of the summertime cold fronts that affect southeastern Australia. I was one of the first researchers to explain the role of the planetary boundary layer in the processes of frontogenesis (Reeder and Smith 1986), and in one of the most influential papers in the field, I explored the dynamical differences between cold fronts and gravity currents (Smith and Reeder 1988). More recently, I have focused this attention on the cold fronts that affect the continental subtropics and have explained why these fronts strengthen and accelerate at night, but virtually disappear during the day (Smith et al. 1995, Reeder et al. 2000).

My work has made major contributions to understanding the how gravity waves are generated by non-orographic sources, including fronts and jets (Reeder and Griffiths 1996), sea breezes (Goler and Reeder 2006) and tropical convection (Lane et al. 2001). The key contributions in these areas have been to: determine how gravity waves are generated by tropical convection; clarify the role gravity waves play in organizing tropical convection; discover the diurnal modulation of fronts over the central part of the continent and determine how this leads to solitary wave generation (the southerly morning glory); and explain the dynamics processes by which jet-front systems emit gravity waves.

I work also in the field of bushfire science. The most important contribution to this area has been a coupled atmosphere-bushfire model capable of simulating bushfires in realistic atmospheric conditions and in complex topography (Clarke et al. 2003). The model developed attracted considerable media attention. Although it has long been known that the interaction between the atmosphere and the bushfire plays a key role in determining the behaviour and spread of the fire, little quantitative work has been done on the problem - this is the main direction of my current bushfire research.

Outside of the areas mentioned above, I have made contributions to the understanding of baroclinic instability, extratropical cyclogenesis, tropopause folding, monsoon onset and variability, the MJO, tropical convection and tropical cyclones.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 13 - Climate Action

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or