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Dr Marie Ekström PhD

Dr Marie Ekström


Lecturer in Climate Risk and Resilience

School of Earth and Environmental Sciences

+44(0) 29 2068 8788
2.49, Main Building, Park Place, Cardiff, CF10 3AT
Available for postgraduate supervision


In my research career I have been fortunate to collaborate on a wide range of research projects in the regional climate space and often in a climate change context. I’m curious about methods that enable us to observe and simulate rainfall generating processes and how this knowledge can support projections about future change to regional rainfall patterns and impacts on hydrological regimes. Having had both academic and government employments, I have approached this topic from two very different perspectives – one with a focus on learning and a second that involves using my knowledge and skills to support public and private stakeholders.

My early career work in academia focused on estimating model skill in simulating rainfall extremes and testing of methods that combine different model outputs in regional projections of climate change. In recent years, my role switched to supporting projection research for Australia, both in terms of producing regional projections and in terms of providing guidance on best practice when using climate change information to support climate adaptation activities, with a particular focus on the robustness of downscaled information.

In my current position, as a Lecturer in Climate Risk and Resilience with Cardiff University, I attempt to combine these two perspectives in pursuing improved understanding about future change to the regional climate and consequential impacts on our society and environment.


  • Lecturer in Climate Risk and Resilience (2020-)
  • Research Fellow in Climate Change Impacts at the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences (2017-2020)
  • Senior Hydroclimate Researcher with the Water Resource Management program. Land and Water Business Unit of the Australian Commonwealth Science Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) (2009-2017).
  • Lecturer at Department of Geography, University of Exeter (2007-2009)
    Research fellow at the Centre for Air Transport and the Environment, Manchester Metropolitan University (2006-2007)
  • Associate Fellow at the Climatic Research Unit, University of East Anglia (2006-2007)
    Marie-Curie Intra-European research fellow at the Climatic Research Unit, University of East Anglia (2004-2006)
  • Senior Research Associate at the Climatic Research Unit, University of East Anglia, working on the EU-funded project SWURVE (Sustainable Water: Uncertainty, Risk and Vulnerability in Europe). (2002-2004)
  • PhD at the Department of Physical Geography and Ecosystems Analysis, Lund University, Sweden. The position was linked with the EU-funded project “WEELS” (Wind Erosion on European Light Soils), co-ordinated by A. Warren, University College London, UK. (1998-2002)
  • Research engineer at the Department of Physical Geography, Lund University, Sweden (1996-1997):
    o             EU-funded project “ADVICE” (Annual to Decadal Variability In Climate in Europe) co-ordinated by T. D. Davies and P.D. Jones, CRU, University of East Anglia, UK.
    o             EU-funded project “Pine sawfly pheromones for sustainable management of European forests”, co-ordinated by O. Anderbrant, Department of Ecology, Lund University, Sweden.
    o             Swedish National Environment Protection Board project “Climate and forest damage” co-ordinated by P. Schlyter Department of Physical Geography, Lund University, Sweden.
    o             NCM (Nordic Council of Minister’s) funded project “ACROSS” (Atmospheric Circulation Related to Sea-Ice and Salinity), co-ordinated by P. Frich, Danish Meteorological Institute, Denmark.
  • Filosofie Magister, Department of Physical Geography, Stockholm University, Sweden (1996)

Honours and awards

Corporate recognition of research service and excellence:

  • Certificate of Appreciation for “… demonstrating commitment to CSIRO’s role as a trusted advisor by delivering a series of ‘Climate Change in Australia 2014’ briefings to Federal Government Ministers and senior Government officials, awarded by the CSIRO Ocean and Atmosphere Flagship.
  • CSIRO Land and Water award for Excellence in Research for contribution to the South East Australian Climate Initiative (2012).
  • Recipient of the CSIRO Office of the Chief Executive (OCE) Payne-Scott Career

Professional memberships

Member of the Royal Meteorological Society

Academic positions

  • Lecturer, Department of Geography, Exeter University (2007-2009)

Speaking engagements

  • Invited seminar to the Department of Geography, University of Sheffield, November 2019. “The production of climate change projections – and Australian perspective”.
  • Invited seminar to the Faculty of Engineering, McGill University Canada, April 2018. “Different perspectives on the value of fine resolution climate change information
  • Invited seminar at the Earth Systems Engineering Research group, University of Newcastle, 20th November 2017. On the topic “Producing climate projections – the Antipodean approach”.
  • Invited talk to the Australian Water and Energy exchange (OZEWEX) research initiative 3rd national workshop, Canberra, Australia, December 14-15 2016. Session: Towards unified and diversified streamflow prediction – connecting research, operations, and decision making “We need to talk about runoff-projections”.
  • Invited talk at the International Conference on Regional Climate – Coordinated Regional Downscaling Experiment in May 2016 (ICRC-CORDEX2016), Stockholm Sweden. “Estimating change in future streamflow based on a limited sample of different downscaling products
  • Invited to participate in public roadshow on ‘Climate of understanding’ organised by Northern Tablelands Local Land service (
  • Invited seminar at the School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, 25th June 2014 “Confidence rated climate projections for Australia’s Natural Resource Management regions”.
  • Keynote talk at the International Congress on Modelling and Simulation, Adelaide, Australia 2013 (MODSIM2013). “Regional climate projections – application ready and locally relevant”.
  • Invited seminar at the School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, University of Newcastle, 22nd March, 2006 “Spatio-temporal estimation of rainfall - an attempt at assessing spatial uncertainty in gridded rainfall estimates.
  • Invited talk at the closing meeting for PRUDENCE (Prediction of Regional scenarios and Uncertainties for Defining EuropeaN Climate change risks and Effects), Toldedo the 6th-10th of September 2004."Uncertainties in RCM projections for European River Catchments".
  • Invited seminar at the Department of Mathematics and Computing at University of Southern Queensland, Australia, the 29th of August 2002. "Relationship between dust storm activity and the atmospheric circulation in Australia (1960-1999)"

Committees and reviewing

  • Reviewer of manuscripts for journals of the climate and water sciences, such as: Annales Geophysicae, Atmosphere, Climate Dynamics, Climate Research, Climate Change, Climate Change Research Letters, Environmental Science and Pollution Research, Frontiers in Environmental Science, Global Environmental Change, Journal of Hydrology, Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS), Hydrological Sciences Journal, Journal of Geophysical Research - atmospheres, PLOS-ONE, Meteorologische Zeitschrift, International Journal of Climatology.
  • Reviewer of research proposals for the UK research councils Natural Environment Research Councils (NERC) and Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSERC), and .

















My primary taught contributions are lectures and practial exercises focusing on atmospheric processes and climate change science. I also supervise third year dissertation topics that broadly fall within the realm of weather and climate.

My research is motivated by an interest in the wellbeing of the natural environment and communities across the globe. I have worked in both academic and corporate research environments and most of my work aim to quantify, and understand impacts of regional climate change to industries in the water resource sector and the broader community.

My expertise lies in regional climate modelling, climate extremes, and climate projection development. In my current research, I try to draw on those skills in collaborative projects focusing on climate change challenges to natural environments and built systems. These studies are often intrinsically interdiciplinary and a great opportunity to widen ones knowledge horizons.

Some examples:

In a previous role with the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), I made significant contributions to the following projects:

  • Developing a framework for climate impact and vulnerability assessment to improve climate-influenced systems and industries (2017). Funded by the South Australian Goyder Institute for Water Research. I was the CSIRO lead on the component to develop an adaptation pathway framework for regionally managed aquifer recharge systems in Adelaide.
  • Better data-driven decision making under future climate uncertainty (2017). Funded by the Water Research Australia Limited. I was a project researcher providing guidance to the multi-partner Water RA initiative to guide climate adaptation of urban utilities.
  • Water Futures (2017-2018). Funded by the Australian Earth Systems and Climate Change Hub of the National Environment Science Programme. I led research on identifying metrics and indices used by water corporations to manage and plan use of resources. Research will guide what information about hydroclimate can be provided with the next generation of Australian climate projections.
  • Victorian Climate Initiative (2013-2016). Funded by the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, the CSIRO and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. Project manager to deliver runoff projections for Victoria, and principal investigator on sub-project 6: Convective permitting simulations.
  • National Resource Management Climate Change Projections (2013-2014). Funded by the Australian Government Department of the Environment, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. Lead editor for regional reports on climate change; lead author on the Central Slopes regional report and contributing author on remaining regional reports. Member of the editorial team and contributing author on Chapter 6 in the technical report on the Australian climate change projections.
  • Water Resource Scenarios (2011). Funded by the CSIRO and National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF) Water Network. Project manager of user-engagement project to elucidate meaningful water metrics to support adaptation action in the water sector with focus on freshwater ecosystems.
  • South-Eastern Australian Climate Initiative Phase 2 (2009-2012). Funded by the CSIRO, the Australian Government’s Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, the Murray-Darling Basin Authority, the Australian Government’s Bureau of Meteorology and the Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment. Project researcher contributing to the computation and assessment of dynamical downscaling across southeast Australia.


Past projects

Academic supervisor for Ms Laura Burgin. PhD title: The impacts of weather and climate change on the spread of bluetongue disease into the United Kingdom (funded by the UK Met Office and completed in 2011). University of Exeter (UK).


I feel a responsibility to share my knowledge to the public and therefore regularly participate in events, reviews and educational activities beyond promoting my own recent research, e.g.:

  • Speaking engagement at the 29th Cardiff Public Uni event on the topic of climate change. Cardiff, March 2020.
  • Speaking to BBC Wales Radio Breakfast morning show on the topic of storm Denis and its impact on flooding in Wales, will these events become more common in the future? February 2020.
  • Participating in the third Climate Risk Assessment report stakeholder workshop organised by the UK Committee on Climate Cange, London, February 2020.
  • Speaking to the water industry at the Institute of Water, Welsh Area Autumn Forum ‘One and a half degrees, climate change and its impact on the water industry’. Techniquest Cardiff Bay, October, 2019.
  • Providing commentary to support weather related news stories in media.
  • Speaking to a public audience about the challenges of driving policy change to combat climate change at the ‘Pint of Science’ festival in Cardiff 2019.
  • Speaking to female undergraduates and early career scientists at Cardiff University on the International day of Women and Girls in Science, February 2019.

In my previous employment I regularly spoke at events to introduce climate change information products to the Australian public, or specific sectors. These events were directed towards to local stakeholders (such as local land service and land care groups), or to the wider public (e.g. as illustrated by this article in local media). Sometimes these engagements were proceeded with short interviews in radio broadcast via the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. I also enjoy speaking to young people and occasionally give talks on weather observations, the water cycle, and climate change to primary school children (in Canberra, Australia and Penarth, UK).