Department of Geography and Planning

Ann Henderson-Sellers

GEOPLAN - Ann Henderson-SellersPosition: Emeritus Professor
Telephone: +61-2-9850 4076
Fax: +61-2-9850 8420


Until 2007, Professor Ann Henderson-Sellers was the Director of the United Nations' World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) based in Geneva at the headquarters of the World Meteorological Organisation. Henderson-Sellers is an international leader in climate science. She has championed the scientific need for action to mitigate and adapt to climate change for over 35 years. Professor Henderson-Sellers now holds an Australian Research Council Professorial Fellowship in the Department of Physical Geography of Macquarie University.

Professor Henderson-Sellers has been an Earth Systems scientist all her life spearheading the description and prediction of the influence of land-cover and landuse change on climate and human systems. She has a BSc in mathematics, undertook her PhD in collaboration with the U.K. Meteorological Office and earned a D.Sc. in climate science in 1999. She is an elected Fellow of Australia's Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering and was awarded the Centenary Medal of Australia for Service to Australian Society in Meteorology in 2003. Ann is an ISI "most highly cited" author of over 500 publications, including 14 books ( ) and an elected Fellow of America's Geophysical Union and the American Meteorological Society.

In the 1990s she served as a Council member of the International Council of Science's International Geosphere- Biosphere Programme (IGBP) and as a Convening Lead Author for the Second IPCC Assessment Report. Ann chaired a national investigation into Women in Science, Engineering and Technology in the 1990s and contributed to many Academy of Sciences' National Committees She served on Australia's Science and Technology Council, chaired the Australian National Committee for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences and has been a member of the Greenhouse Science Advisory Committee. Professor Henderson-Sellers served as the President of International Association of Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences' International Commission for Climate between 1991 and 1995 and has led the WCRP Global Energy and Water Cycle Experiment's Project for the Intercomparison of Land-surface Parameterisation Schemes since 1992 (see Prior to leading the WCRP Ann was the Founding Director of the Climatic Impacts Centre at Macquarie University, headed the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation's Institute for Nuclear Geophysiology and was the Deputy Vice Chancellor at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) University.

Return To Top


Professor Henderson-Sellers participates in Macquarie's Climate Risk CORE. This CORE has the aims of focusing on the risks associated with climate change in an environment of increasing vulnerability. The Climate Risk CORE is premised on the fact that the science of climate change is now well established: governments, business and much of industry now accept the scientific evidence that climate is already changing due to human activity. Through the establishment of this CORE, and its participation in the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF), the University has accepted the challenge of how to quantify and assess climate change-associated risks for key sectors such as economies, financial markets and national security as well as more traditional impact areas including water, food and biodiversity,

Professor Henderson-Sellers research builds on the Climate Risk CORE strategy and NCCARF's lead themes to use science and impact assessment infused by and packaged within a framework of economic, financial, and legal risk. Her research comprises an intentional re-development of traditional climate science, in which she has excelled for 30 years, to communicate directly in the language of economics, policy, and regulation. Her expertise in climate change predictions, downscaling and probability forecasting are now being directly applied to: (i) Identifying activities that have potential to contribute to the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions and adaptation to climate change within various sectors of Australian society; (ii) Estimating the financial impact and contribution of actions to mitigation or adaptation; (iii) Developing models for governments (national, regional/state and local) to assist in guiding capital and recurrent cost and the return on investment; and (vi) Structuring such models so the results may be incorporated into ongoing analyses addressing social, environmental, economic and governance factors.

Return To Top


Details of Professor Henderson-Sellers' extensive publications can be found at which ranks her as one of the most highly cited researchers in the world.