Melissa Hart has used her role as Graduate Director in the ARC Centres of Excellence for Climate System Science and Climate Extremes to develop a national, cross-institutional graduate program which has reimagined the traditional Australian PhD. With a vital combination of breadth, depth, support, and collaboration, the program has provided over 160 PhD students with the skills, knowledge, and experience fundamental to developing world leading climate science researchers.
Melissa’s research looks at the impact of cities on climate and climate on cities, in particular the impact of land-use, surface characteristics and anthropogenic activities on the climate of cities, and quantification of the magnitude of urban heating. She also works in the area of air pollution meteorology, in particular air pollution impacts from hazards reduction burns. Melissa leads the citizen science project- SWAQ (Schools Weather and Air Quality) which has improved urban weather and air quality measurements around Sydney by placing meteorological and air quality sensors in its schools. Students collect and analyse research quality data for use in science and geography curriculum-aligned classroom activities.
Melissa is a strong advocate for gender equity in science and is former chair of the Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society’s equity and diversity committee, and was a proud participant of the 2018 Homeward Bound Women in STEMM leadership initiative.