Pioneer Indian-Australian scientist improving climate and air quality predictions

Dr Ashok Luhar who works at CSIRO’s Climate Science Centre has been studying the impact of greenhouse gases and pollutants in our atmosphere for more than three decades.

He started working at CSIRO as a post-doctoral fellow in 1994 following another post-doctoral fellowship at NOAA, Oak Ridge (USA), and a Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge (UK) in Environmental Fluid Dynamics.

Dr Luhar’s pioneering work has helped improve climate models in Australia and around the world. He was a key contributor to the development of CSIRO’s TAPM air pollution model, widely used in Australia and New Zealand.

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He also oversaw the early implementation of climate-chemistry capability in Australia’s ACCESS climate model.

Over the last 30 years, he has addressed topics that include ozone dry deposition, global climate-chemistry, regulatory air pollution dispersion modelling, air-sea exchange, urban landscape influences, biomass burning and smoke plume transport, and industrial air quality.

In 2019, Dr Luhar’s team developed a new way to account for ozone in computer simulations of the climate. He observed:

“Ozone is an air pollutant that is harmful to human health. And it has implications for plant ecosystems and the economy, as ozone damages plant stomata, damaging the leaves, and hence reduces productivity. Understanding how much ozone the ocean and land remove is important because it tells us how much is left in the atmosphere.”

Dr Luhar has published more than 65 refereed papers in scientific journals, and written several book chapters, conference papers, and client reports.

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