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Dr Seth Westra

Telephone +61 8 8313 1538
Position Senior Lecturer
Email swestra@civeng.adelaide.edu.au
Fax +61 8 8313 4359
Building Engineering North
Floor/Room 1 07
Campus North Terrace
Org Unit School of Civil, Environmental and Mining Engineering

To link to this page, please use the following URL:
http://www.adelaide.edu.au/directory/seth.westra

Biography/ Background

Dr Seth Westra has ten years of industry and research experience in fields of flood hydrology, hydroclimatology, and hydrological statistics.

Seth's primary research areas currently include statistical downscaling to estimate future rainfall extremes at very short (sub-daily) timescales to use as the basis for flood estimation; generation of synthetic rainfall sequences at ungauged locations; evaluation of the capabilities of global climate models to simulate hydrological time series; and the development of seasonal rainfall and streamflow forecasts at lead times of up to 12 months. Seth is also actively contributing to various aspects of the revision of the Australian Rainfall and Runoff flood guidelines, including work on continuous rainfall simulation as well as the investigation of the coincidence of extreme rainfall and coastal storm surge for coastal flood assessments.

Before joining Adelaide University, Seth worked as a senior research associate in the hydrology group at the University of New South Wales (2009-2011) and as a hydrologist at Sinclair Knight Merz (2007-2008).

For more information check out my blog or find me on LinkedIn.


Awards

Recipient of the 2013 Australian Institute of Policy and Science (AIPS) Tall Poppy Award.

Education

  • 2007: PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering (UNSW)
  • 2004: Master of Engineering Science (Water Resources; UNSW)
  • 2002: Bachelor of Environmental Engineering (Hons Class 1; UNSW)

Employment history

  • 2011 - present   Senior Lecturer, University of Adelaide
  • 2009 - 2011       Senior Research Associate, University of NSW
  • 2007 - 2008       Water Resources Engineer, Sinclair Knight Merz
  • 2004 - 2007       PhD Candidate, University of NSW
  • 2002 - 2003       Graduate Engineer, URS Australia

PhD Students

  • Ms Danlu Guo (Principal supervisor, 51%), current
  • Ms Edith Cortes (Principal supervisor, 51%), current
  • Mr David Wright (Co-supervisor, 49%), current

Publications

Currently under review

  1. Zheng, F., Leonard, M. & Westra, S., 2014, An efficient integration method for joint probability analysis of flood risk, submitted to Water Resources Reserach (January 2014).
  2. Xun, S., Renard, B., Thyer, M., Westra, S. & Lang, M., A global analysis of the asymmetric impact of ENSO on extreme precipitation", submitted to Journal of Climate (December 2013).
  3. Westra, S., Thyer, M., Leonard, M., Kavetski, D. & Lambert, M., A strategy for diagnosing and interpreting hydrologic non-stationarity, submitted to Water Resources Research (September 2013). 

Refereed journal papers

  1. Zheng, F., Westra, S., Leonard, M. & Sisson, S., Modelling dependence between extreme rainfall and storm surge to estimate coastal flooding risk, Water Resources Research (accepted 19/02/2014).
  2. Leonard, M., Westra, S., Phatak, A., Lambert, M., van den Hurk, B., McInnes, K., Risbey, J., Schuster, S., Jakob, D. & Stafford-Smith, M., 2014, Understanding the role of compound events in climate extremes, WIREs Climate Change, 5, 113-128 (click here).
  3. Zheng, F., Westra, S. & Sisson, S., 2013, The dependence between extreme rainfall and storm surge in the coastal zone, Journal of Hydrology, 505, 172-187, DOI: 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2013.09.054 (click here).
  4. Ishak, E.H., Rahman, A., Westra, S., Sharma, A. & Kuczera, G., 2013, Evaluating the non-stationarity of Australian annual maximum floods, Journal of Hydrology, 494, 134-145, DOI: 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2013.04.012 (click here).
  5. Bormann, K.J., Westra, S., Evans, J.P. & McCabe, M.F., 2013, Spatial and temporal variability in seasonal snow density, Journal of Hydrology, 484, 63-73, DOI: 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2013.01.032 (click here). 
  6. Westra, S., Alexander, L.V. & Zwiers, F.W., 2013, Global increasing trends in annual maximum daily precipitation, Journal of Climate, 26, 3904-3918, DOI: 10.1175/JCLI-D-12-00502.1  (click here).
  7. Westra, S., Evans, J., Mehrotra, R. & Sharma, 2013, A., A conditional disaggregation algorithm for generating fine time-scale rainfall data in a warmer climate, Journal of Hydrology 479, DOI: 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2012.11.033 (click here).
  8. Evans, J. & Westra, S., 2012, Investigating the Mechanisms of Diurnal Rainfall Variability using a Regional Climate Model, Journal of Climate, 25, DOI: 10.1175/JCLI-D-11-00616.1 (click here)
  9. Pathiraja, S., Westra, S. & Sharma, A., 2012, Antecedent Moisture in Design Flood Estimation: The Need for Continuous Simulation, Water Resources Research, 48, W06534, doi: 10.1029/2011WR010997 (click here). 
  10. Pui, A., Sharma, A., Santoso, A. & Westra, S., 2012, Impact of the El Nino Southern Oscillation, Indian Ocean Dipole and Southern Annular Mode on daily to sub-daily rainfall characteristics in East Australia, Monthly Weather Review, 140, 1665-1682, DOI: 10.1175/MWR-D-11-00238.1 (click here)
  11. Westra, S., Mehrotra, R., Sharma, A. & Srikanthan, R., 2012, Continuous rainfall simulation: 1. A regionalized subdaily disaggregation approach, Water Resources Research, 48 (W01535), DOI: 10.1029/2011WR010489 (click here).
  12. Mehrotra, R., Westra, S., Sharma, A. & Srikanthan, R., 2012, Continuous rainfall simulation: 2. A regionalized daily rainfall generation approach, Water Resources Research, 48 (W01536), DOI: 10.1029/2011WR010490 (click here)
  13. Westra, S. & Sisson, S.A., 2011, Detection of non-stationarity in precipitation extremes using a max-stable process model, Journal of Hydrology, 46(1-2), DOI: 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2011.06.014 (click here).
  14. Johnson, F., Westra, S., Sharma, A. & and Pitman, A., 2011, A assessment of GCM skill in simulating persistence across multiple timescales, Journal of Climate, 24, DOI: 101175/2011JCLI3732.1 (click here).
  15. Hardwick-Jones, R., Westra, S. & Sharma, A., 2010, Observed relationships between extreme sub-daily precipitation, surface temperature and relative humidity, Vol 37, L22805, Geophysics Research Letters, DOI:10.1029/2010GL045081 (click here).
  16. Westra, S., Brown, C., Lall, U., Koch, I. & Sharma, A., 2010, Interpreting variability in global SST data using Independent Component Analysis and Principal Component Analysis, International Journal of Climatology, 30 (3), DOI:10.1002/joc.1888 (click here).
  17. Westra, S. & Sharma, A., 2010, An Upper Limit to Seasonal Rainfall Predictability?, Journal of Climate, Vol. 23, 3332-3351, DOI: 10.1175/2010JCLI3212.1 (click here).
  18. Westra, S., Varley, I., Jordan, P., Nathan, R., Ladson, A. Sharma, A. & Hill, P., 2011, Authors reply to Discussion on “Review paper: Addressing climatic non-stationarity in the assessment of flood risk”, by Robert French, Australian Journal of Water Resources, Vol. 14, Issue 2.
  19. Westra, S., Varley, I., Jordan, P., Nathan, R., Ladson, A. Sharma, A. & Hill, P., 2010, Review paper: Addressing climatic non-stationarity in the assessment of flood risk, Australian Journal of Water Resources, Vol. 14, Issue 1 (click here).
  20. Westra, S. & Sharma, A., 2009, Probabilistic estimation of multivariate streamflow using independent component analysis and climate information, Journal of Hydrometeorology, 10 (1479-1492), DOI:10.1175/2009JHM1121.1 (click here).
  21. Westra, S., Brown, C., Lall, U. & Sharma, A., 2008, Multivariate streamflow forecasting using independent component analysis, Water Resources Research, Vol. 44, W02437, DOI: 10.1029/2007WR006104 (click here).
  22. Westra, S., Brown, C., Lall, U. & Sharma, A., 2007, Modeling multivariable hydrological series: principal component analysis or independent component analysis, Water Resources Research, Vol 43, W06429, DOI:10.1029/2006WR005617 (click here).
  23. Westra, S. & Sharma, A., 2006, Dominant modes of inter-annual variability in Australian rainfall analysed using wavelets, Journal of Geophysical Research, 111, D05102, DOI:10.1029/2005JD005996 (click here).

Refereed conference papers

  1. Ishak, E., Rahman, A., Westra, S., Sharma, A. & Kuczera, G., 2014, Trend analysis of Australian annual maximum flood data: exploring relationship with climate and catchment characteristics, Hydrology and Water Resources Symposium, Perth.
  2. Bennett, B., Lambert, M., Thyer, M., Bates, B. & Westra, S., 2014, The impact of differences in rainfall seasonality on antecedent catchment wetness and flood risk, Hydrology and Water Resources Symposium, Perth.
  3. Zheng, F., Westra, S., Sisson, S.A. & Leonard, M., 2014, Flood risk in Australia's coastal zone: modelling the dependence between extreme rainfall and storm surge, Hydrology and Water Resources Symposium, Perth.
  4. Westra, S., Evans, J., Mehrotra, R. & Sharma, A., 2012, Changes to Sub-daily Rainfall Patterns in a Future Climate, Hydrology and Water Resources Symposium, Sydney.
  5. Westra, S., Thyer, M., Leonard, M., Kavetski, D. & Lambert, M., 2012, Diagnosing non-statoinary behaviour in a hydrological model, Hydrology and Water Resources Symposium, Sydney.
  6. Westra, S., 2011, “Investigation into the joint dependence between extreme rainfall and storm surge in the coastal zone”, Hydrology and Water Resources Symposium, Brisbane.
  7. Westra, S., Mehrotra, R., Sharma, A. & Srikanthan, S., 2011, “Continuous simulation of rainfall at ungauged locations – A non-parametric disaggregation approach”, Hydrology and Water Resources Symposium, Brisbane.
  8. Ishak, E.H., Rahman, A., Westra, S., Sharma, A. & Kuczera, G., 2011, “Trends in Peak Streamflow Data in Australia: Impact of Serial and Cros-correlation”, Hydrology and Water Resources Symposium, Brisbane.
  9. Ishak, E.H., Rahman, A., Westra, S., Sharma, A. & Kuczera, G.,  2010, “Preliminary analysis of trends in Australian flood data”, World Environmental and Water Resources Congress, American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), 16-20 May 2010, Providence, Rhode Island USA.
  10. Westra, S. & Sharma, A., 2010, “An Upper Limit to Seasonal Rainfall Predictability”, Advances in Statistical Hydrology, May 23-25, Taormina, Italy
  11. Westra, S., Pui, A. & Sharma, A., 2009, “Assessing the quality of generated continuous rainfall sequences”. Hydrology and Water Resources Symposium.
  12. Westra, S. & Sharma, A., 2009, “Estimating the seasonal predictability of global precipitation – an empirical approach”, 18th World IMACS / MODSIM Congress, Cairns, Australia 13-17 July 2009.
  13. Westra, S., Hill, P., Jordan, P. & Varley, I., 2008, “Recent developments in climate science – implications for Australian flood guidelines”, Stormwater Industry Association conference, Sunshine Coast Queensland.
  14. Westra, S. and Ball, JE, 2008, “On the propagation of errors in catchment modelling systems”, Proc. 11th ICUD, Edinburgh, Scotland, published as a CD.
    Ball, JE and Westra, S, 2007, “The propagation of errors in catchment modelling systems”, Proc. XXX1 IAHR Congress, Venice, Italy, published as a CD.
  15. Westra, S., Sharma, A., Brown, C. & Lall, U., 2006, “Stochastic generation of rainfall and streamflow time series at multiple sites using independent component analysis”, 30th Hydrology and Water Resources Symposium, 4-7 December 2006, Launceston.
  16. Westra, S. & Sharma, S., 2005, “An exploratory study of seasonal rainfall in Australia using independent component analysis”, Modelling and Simulation (MODSIM) conference, 12-15 December 2005, Melbourne.
  17. Westra, S. & Sharma, A., 2005, “An investigation of the nature of variability in Australian rainfall using wavelets”, 29th Hydrology and Water Resources Symposium, 20-23 February 2005, Canberra.
  18. Westra, S. and Ball, JE, 2005, The influence of autocorrelated errors on Catchment Modelling Systems, 29th Hydrology and Water Resources Symposium, Institute of Engineers Australia, Canberra, Australia.
  19. Ball, JE and Westra, S, 2004, “On the Propagation of Errors in Catchment Modelling Systems”, Proc. Hydroinformatics 2004, Singapore, pp 340-350.

Edited conference procedings

  1. Westra, S. (ed), 2012, 34th Hydrology and Water Resources Symposium, 19-22 November 2012, Dockside, Cockle Bay, Sydney, Australia. Engineers Australia. ISBN: 9781922107626 (CD-ROM).

Peer-reviewed reports for the Australian Rainfall and Runoff Flood Estimation Guidelines

  1. Westra, S., 2012, Australian Rainfall and Runoff Revision Project 18: Interaction of Coastal Processes and Severe Weather Events: Phase 1 – Pilot Study into Joint Probability Modelling of Extreme Rainfall and Storm Surge in the Coastal Zone, 82pp, ISBN: 978-085825-8747, available online from: http://www.arr.org.au/Website_links/ARR_Project18_Stage2_Report_Final.pdf.
  2. Westra, S., 2010, Implications of Climate Change on Flood Estimation: Discussion Paper for the Australian Rainfall and Runoff Climate Change Workshop No. 2., available online from:  http://www.ncwe.org.au/arr/Website_links/CC_Workshop_DiscussionPaper_Final.pdf.
  3. Westra, S., Mehrotra, R., Sharma, A., Srikanthan, R., 2010, Australian Rainfall and Runoff Revision Project 4: Continuous Rainfall Sequences at a Point, Stage 2 Report (currently under review), 108pp.
  4. Westra, S., Sharma, A., 2010, Australian Rainfall and Runoff Revision Project 4: Continuous Rainfall Sequences at a Point, Stage 1 Report, ISBN: 978-085825-8976, 97pp, available online from http://www.ncwe.org.au/arr/Website_links/ARR_Project_4_Stage1_report_Final.pdf.

Miscellaneous publications

  1. Shand, T.D., Wasko, C.D., Westra, S., Smith, G.P., Carley, J.T. & Peirson, W.L., 2012, Joint Probability Assessment of NSW Extreme Waves and Water Levels, Water Research Laboratory Technical Report 2011/29, April 2012. 
  2. Westra, S., 2011, Adapting to Climate Change – Revising our Approach to Estimating Future Floods, Discussion Paper for the Australian Climate Change Adaptation Research Network for Settlements and Infrastructure.
  3. Locke, P., Clifton, C. & Westra, S., 2011, Extreme Weather Events and the Mining Industry, Engineering and Mining Journal, 212, 3.
  4. Westra, S., 2009, invited book review for ‘Hydroclimatology: Perspectives and Applications’ by M.L. Shelton, published in Progress in Physical Geography, 33(2).
  5. Westra, S., 2004, Investigation of the correlation structure of residuals in a conceptual rainfall runoff model for Powell Creek catchment, Sydney, Australia, Masters of Engineering Science Thesis.
  6. Westra, S., 2007, Probabilistic forecasting of multivariate seasonal reservoir inflows: accounting for spatial and temporal variability, PhD Thesis.

 

Expertise for Media Contact

CategoriesEngineering, Environment
ExpertiseFlood; rainfall; drought; climate change; climate variability; El Nino; ENSO; water; water supply; reservoir; environment; engineering
NotesPhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering
Mobile0414 997 406
After hours0414 997 406

Entry last updated: Sunday, 13 Apr 2014

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