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Directors Update – August 2021

Welcome to our August 2021 newsletter.  I hope you are remaining resilient in the face of the continuing COVID-19 related impacts, which regrettably affect everyone’s work-life balance.

Despite our TERN project’s fieldwork being constantly hampered by travel and other restrictions of COVID-19, we have been busy elsewhere and are excited to launch our latest product, which is based on world-leading satellite-derived Actual Evapotranspiration data. This product will help us understand the dynamics of water use from all vegetation communities and promote accurate water balance modelling for any catchment or groundwater system in Australia.  Importantly, it will provide essential information for environmental policy-makers and managers, the Australian irrigation industry, and will help promote enhanced water resource management and ensure the nation’s food security.

Another highlight this month for TERN was the first meeting for 2021 of its Science Advisory Committee (SAC). The group met online under its new Chair, Distinguished Professor Belinda Medlyn. Other new members welcomed to SAC are Professor Andy Pitman AO FAA, from UNSW, and Professor Megan Lewis, from The University of Adelaide.  We are delighted to see the renewal of Dr Margaret Byrne (WA Dept Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions), Professor Alex McBratney FAA (University of Sydney), Professor Adrienne Nicotra (Australian National University), Dr Ross Wilkinson (independent), and Professor Jenny Davis (Charles Darwin University). We thank Dr Ashley Sparrow and Dr Helen Cleugh, outgoing SAC members, who stepped down last year from SAC at the end of their respective three-year terms – and once again thank Dr Steve Morton for his past role as the inaugural chair of SAC.

The TERN SAC’s meetings this month and into September are focused on completing an independent multi-domain scientific review of TERN’s draft strategic framework for 2021-2030 for the TERN Advisory Board, after which the document will be released for the TERN community’s comment. The framework defines the scope of TERN’s current operations and is a guide to the rationale for TERN’s aspirations and future research infrastructure investments.

The other important task in hand at present for TERN is continuing to contribute to the Australian government’s national research infrastructure Roadmap consultations. While the government’s invitation to comment on the proposed National Environmental Prediction System has closed (TERN helped with the Scoping Study over two years), there are nevertheless still a series of opportunities currently open for everyone interested in the consultation related to the Roadmap.

We wish everyone happy reading of this newsletter and look forward to catching up again next month.

Beryl

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