The 2013 JH Michell Medal

Terry O'Kane

The committee for the 2013 JH Michell Medal has unanimously agreed to nominate Dr Terry O’Kane of CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research for this award.

Dr O’Kane has made outstanding original contributions to difficult and important problems in applied mathematics. His achievements span theoretical and computational fluid dynamics, statistical dynamics and statistical mechanics, ensemble prediction, data assimilation, subgrid-scale parameterisations, wave turbulence interactions in atmospheric and oceanic flows, numerical methods for integro-differential equations, Markov and non-Markov processes, Gaussian and non-Gaussian processes, applications to climate variability and change. O’Kane devised the first computational implementation of a tractable statistical dynamical closure theory for general inhomogeneous turbulent flows. This has been a milestone achievement in statistical fluid dynamics, allowing the direct computation of the statistics of realistic flows. He has made further pioneering contributions to the statistical dynamics of ensemble prediction, data assimilation and subgrid modelling. He has also made important contributions to ensemble prediction methods for operational numerical weather forecasting and ocean circulation prediction. He has around 80 publications and is a regular contributor to ANZIAM’s CTAC conferences.

Dr O’Kane received his PhD from Monash University in 2003, under the supervision of Dr. Jorgen Frederiksen (CSIRO) and Prof. David Karoly (Univ. Melb.). Prior to his PhD O’Kane obtained a H1A in applied mathematics at La Trobe University and a H1A Masters (by Research) in theoretical physics at The University of Melbourne. After his PhD, O’Kane continued to work at CMAR with Dr Frederiksen as a postdoctoral researcher and subsequently with Dr Steve Rintoul (CSIRO) as a research fellow at the Antarctic, Climate & Ecosystems CRC. O’Kane took up his first permanent position at the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) as ensemble prediction scientist in 2007.

Following nearly 2 years at the BoM, during which time he developed the Australian Global & Regional Ensemble Prediction System (AGREPS), O’Kane returned to CMAR where he is currently a senior research scientist. He was awarded an Australian Research Council Future Fellow position in 2012.


  • Tony Roberts, University of Adelaide (Chair)
  • Carlo Laing, Massey University
  • Frances Kuo, University of New South Wales

Updated: 12 Feb 2013