Meet Simon Torok

Simon is a Director of Scientell, and an Honorary Fellow at the University of Melbourne

Simon is a founder and co-Director of Scientell. He has spent decades here and overseas helping researchers, research agencies, governments and other organisations explain and translate the work that they do and the importance of science in our lives and its role in understanding the environment. With a PhD in climate change science, Simon has been at the forefront of communication in this field. He regularly applies the lessons learned to a diverse range of topics, including Antarctic science, alternative energy, agriculture and astronomy – just to name the ‘a’s.

He has worked in communication for 25 years, including as communication manager for CSIRO in Canberra and in Melbourne, as the communication manager for the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research in England, and as editor of science magazines for young people in Australia.

He is an Honorary Fellow at the University of Melbourne, on the Advisory Board of the Monash University TV Weather Presenters as Climate Communicators project, and is on the Expert Advisory Committee of the Australian Institute of Performance Sciences. He is a member of the Australian Science Communicators and of the Ecological Society of Australia.

Simon completed a PhD in climate change science at the University of Melbourne, and has a Graduate Diploma in Science Communication from the Australian National University. He has published more than 150 newspaper, magazine and scientific journal articles and, with Scientell’s co-Founder Paul Holper, he has co-authored 20 popular science and climate change books, several of which have been translated into Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean and Hungarian.

He has made numerous appearances on television and radio, and performed science shows around Australia with the Shell Questacon Science Circus.

Publications by Simon Torok

Ozone the greenhouse gas: much less ocean uptake than we thought ECOS, June 2019 https://ecos.csiro.au/category/2019/issue-256/

 

Climate influence from the other side of the world. ECOS, March 2019 https://ecos.csiro.au/ocean-interactions/

Predicting the climate of the 2020s. ECOS, November 2018 https://blogs.csiro.au/ecos/decadal-forecasting

Holsworth: funding Australia’s next generation of ecologists. The ESA Bulletin, 48 (3), September 2018, pp. 1-3. Ecological Society of Australia

Preparing for the future: confronting climate change on the coast. Bulletin of the Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society, September 2018, pp. 12-13

Think local on Southern Ocean’s global impact. ECOS, June 2018 https://blogs.csiro.au/ecos/think-local-on-southern-oceans-global-impact

Torok, S.J (2017) Trawling for information on trawl fishing. ECOS, September 2017

Torok, S.J., Holper, P.N. et al (2016) Tracking Antarctica: An update on the state of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. WWF, Melbourne.

Hassol, S. J., Torok, S. J., Lewis, S and Luganda, P. (2016). (Un)Natural Disasters: Communicating Linkages Between Extreme Events and Climate Change. World Meteorlogical Organization Bulletin, Vol 65 (2), pp. 2-9.

Going with the throughflow, CSIRO News, 23 June 2014 (http://csironewsblog.com/2014/06/23/going-with-the-throughflow/)

Four mysteries of the Indian Ocean, ECOS, June 2014 (http://www.ecosmagazine.com/?paper=EC14117)

Waschka, M. and Torok, S. (2013). “Communication of information for adaptation”, in Climate Adaptation Futures (eds J. Palutikof, S. L. Boulter, A. J. Ash, M. S. Smith, M. Parry, M. Waschka and D. Guitart), pg 143 – 160, John Wiley & Sons, Oxford. doi: 10.1002/9781118529577.ch14

Torok, S., Leitch, A., and Ashworth, P. (2012). Communicating climate change in the 2010s: the journey and ‘are we there yet?’. Planet Under Pressure, London, 26 – 27 March 2012.

Torok, S., 2011. Earth on the Edge: Science for a Sustainable Planet. Bulletin of the Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society

Harris, C., Torok, S., and Clement, K. (2010) “Disaster coverage”, in Hornig Priest, S. Ed. Encyclopedia of science and technology communication, pg 227-232, Sage Publications, California. ISBN 978-1-4129-5920-9.

Torok, S., 2009. Climate Change. Chemistry in Australia, v76 n6 (July 2009): 32

Torok, S., 2008. Climate change: Observations, projections and responses. The Voice of Pensioners and Superannuants of NSW, June 2008.

Torok, S., 2008. Climate change: Observations, projections and responses. Heritage and the Land Forum, April 2008.

Torok, S., 2007. Tropical Deforestation Accounts for 20 Per Cent of Global Carbon Emissions. Australian Forest Grower, v30 n2 (Winter 2007): 10

Torok, S., 2007. Understanding the regional impacts of climate change. 23rd Australian Turfgrass Conference Proceedings, pp 8-13.

Torok, S. 2007. Climate change in South Australia. The Voice, Multicultural Communities Council of SA, p.2.

Beer, T., Fraser, P. J., Holper, P. N., Borgas, M. S., Torok, S. J., and Bouma, W. J. (2007). Australia’s state of environment report 2006 atmosphere. 14th IUAPPA World Congress Clean air partnerships: coming together for clean air. Brisbane 2007 conference proceedings, incorporating the 18th CASANZ Conference hosted by the Clean Air Society of Australia and New Zealand, Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre. Brisbane: IUAPPA; CASANZ. 6 p.

Pearce, K. B., Macadam, I., and Torok, S. J. (2007). Report on GREENHOUSE 2007 Sydney, 2nd-5th October. Bulletin of the Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society, 20 (6): 137-138.

Beer T, Borgas M, Bouma W, Fraser P, Holper P and Torok S 2006, Atmosphere, theme commentary prepared for the 2006 Australian State of the Environment Committee, Department of the Environment and Heritage, Canberra.

Beer, T., Fraser, P. J., Holper, P. N., Borgas, M. S., Torok, S. J., and Bouma, W. J. (2007). Australia’s state of environment report 2006 atmosphere. 14th IUAPPA World Congress Clean air partnerships: coming together for clean air. Brisbane 2007 conference proceedings, incorporating the 18th CASANZ Conference hosted by the Clean Air Society of Australia and New Zealand, Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre. Brisbane: IUAPPA; CASANZ. 6 p.

Plummer, N., Coughlan, M., Jones, D. A., Power, S., Tennant, S. E., Torok, S. J., and Voice, M. (2006). Communicating on climate change. In: Climate change research in the Bureau of Meteorology : abstracts of presentations at a workshop held on 10 February 2006, Melbourne, Vic., S. B. Power, and K. B. Pearce (editors) (BMRC Research Report, no. 125) . Melbourne, Vic.: Bureau of Meteorology Research Centre. 81-82 .

Picturing Climate Change. Feature, Artlink magazine, Vol 25 no. 4, December 2005. https://www.artlink.com.au/articles/2224/picturing-climate-change/

Holper, P. N., Abbs, D. J., McInnes, K. L., and Torok, S. J. (2005). Potential impacts of climate change on the Kiama local government area / report prepared by CSIRO for Kiama Municipal CouncilC/1107. Aspendale, Vic.: CSIRO Atmospheric Research. iii, 12 p.

Plummer, N., Coughlan, M., Jones, D. A., Power, S., Tennant, S. E., Torok, S. J., and Voice, M. (2005). Communicating on climate change. Greenhouse 2005: action on climate change: conference handbook, Melbourne. Aspendale, Vic.: CSIRO. p. 168.

Voice, M., Glantz, M., Plummer, N., Simmonds, I., and Torok, S. J. (2005). Evolving needs for education on climate change. Greenhouse 2005: action on climate change: conference handbook, Melbourne. Aspendale, Vic.: CSIRO. p. 172.

Simon Torok and Penny Whetton, 2005. Climate change and buildings: a two-way street. Environment Design Guide, Mat 2005, pp 1-2.

Conjuring and killing off planet mysteries. Torok, S. and Holper, P. Feature article, The Canberra Times, 1 November 2004.

Fighting the big meltdown. Torok, S. and Porteous, J. Feature article, The Canberra Times, 30 August 2004.

Global climate change and Norfolk. Torok, S., Watkinson, A. and Minns, A. Home Climate Gardens calendar 2004, published by Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and Norwich Gallery.

Methane levels out. News article, ECOS magazine, Jan-Mar 2004 p. 7.

Ozone hole hope. News article, ECOS magazine, Jan-Mar 2004 p. 7.

Better predictions from WAs climate initiative. News article, ECOS magazine, Jan-Mar 2004 p. 7.

Wind Forecasting Makes Winning Americas Cup A Breeze. Ship2Shore, April 2003.

Torok, S. (2003). Seasonal Climate Predictions. Feature article, Crop Science Society Newsletter, July 2003, pp.9-11

Torok, S. and Watkinson, A. (2002). Global climate change and Norfolk. Feature article, Norfolk Coast Guardian, Summer 2002, p.7
Signs and portents. Feature article, Kew magazine, Spring 2002 pp12-15.

Davies, P., Moorcroft, H. and Torok, S. (2002). Tideline: Photographs of the Norfolk Coast by Peter Davies. Text by Hilary Moorcroft and Simon Torok. University of Central Lancashire, 32pp.

Simon Torok (2002). “The world’s changing climate”, Focus Feature, in Hutchinson Encyclopedia, Twelfth edition, pp396-397.

Adger, N., Huq, S. and Torok, S. (eds) (2002). Adaptation to Climate Change: Setting the Agenda for Development Policy and Research. Tyndall Centre Symposium Synopsis 2.

The scientific evidence for human-induced climate change. SciDev.Net Dossier Feature article, 2001.

How real is the threat of sea-level rise? Sci Dev Dossier Feature article, 2001.

Global warming: are humans really changing the Earth’s climate? Outstanding, November 2001.

Twentieth Century Climate Change. BBC Weather Centre feature, June 2001.

Morning Glory. Feature article, New Scientist, 20/1/01

Torok, S.J., C.J. Morris, C.Skinner and N.Plummer, 2001. Urban heat island features of southeast Australian towns. Aust. Met. Mag. 50,1-13

Berkhout, F. and Torok, S. (2001). Insurance and climate change: can business adapt? Global Reinsurance, 2001.

Dockerty, T. and Torok, S. (eds) (2001). Sustainable approaches to climate change. Tyndall Centre Symposium Synopsis 1.

Hulme, M. and S. Torok, 2001. New Tyndall Centre to encourage integrated climate research. Ocean Challenge, vol 10, no. 3.

Torok, S., 2001. Climate of ideas. HERO (Higher Education and Research Opportunities in the UK)

Torok, S., 2001. A climate of choice? Feature article, NERC News, Spring 2001.

Torok, S., 2001 Communicating climate change. Trends in Science Communication today: bridging the gap between Theory and Practice. The Sixth International Conference on Public Communication of Science and Technology. Geneva, Switzerland. February 2001.

Reach For The Sky. Feature article, New Scientist, 23/9/00

Athletes blown away by Olympic stadium. Feature, Canberra Times, 31/8/00.

High-tech sports. Feature article, National Geographic World, August 2000.

Tree Trade. Newswire article, New Scientist, 19/6/00.

Flat-white futures: genetic decaf. Feature, Canberra Times, 18/3/99.

The Science of life By S. Anthony Barnett, Book Review, Canberra Times, 4/3/99.

Power, S.B., Tseitkin, F., Mehta, V., Lavery, B., Torok, S. and Holbrook, N. 1999. Decadal climate variability in Australia during the 20th century. International Journal of Climatology 19, 169-184.

Howard Florey: Maker of the Miracle Mould. Feature, The Lab, 24/9/98. http://www.abc.net.au/science/slab/florey/story.htm

Inspired by first space harvest. Feature, Canberra Times, 19/2/98.

Great weather for a climate. Feature, Canberra Times, 12/2/98.

T.C. Peterson, D.R. Easterling, T.R. Karl, P.Groisman, N. Nicholls, N. Plummer, S. Torok, I. Auer, R. Boehm, D. Gullet, L. Vincent, R. Heino, H. Tuomenvirta, O. Mestre, T. Szentimrey, J. Salinger, E. J. Førland, I. Hanssen-Bauer, H. Alexandersson, P. Jones And D. Parker 1998. Homogeneity Adjustments of In Situ Climate Data: A Review. International Journal of Climatology, 18, 1493-1517.

Power, S., Tseitkin, F., Torok, S., Lavery, B., Dahni, R. and McAvaney, B. 1998. Australian temperature, Australian rainfall and the Southern Oscillation, 1910-1992: Coherent variability and recent changes. Australian Meteorological Magazine 47, 85-101

Power, S., Tseitkin, F., Mehta, V., Lavery, B., Torok, S., and Holbrook, N. 1998. Decadal variability in Australia during the 20th century. Bureau of Meteorology Research Centre Research Report No. 67. April 1998, 33 pp.

Digging for Broken Hill’s future. Feature, Canberra Times, 30/10/1997.

Beasts thrive on area’s mystical waters. Feature, Canberra Times, 23/10/1997.

Extinct, and in a suburb near you. Feature, Canberra Times, 16/10/1997.

High Fliers. The Helix, October/November 1997.

Human body tops efficiency stakes. Feature, Canberra Times, 25/9/1997.

Green energy makes good sense. Feature, Canberra Times, 11/9/1997.

Cleaning coal’s black name. Feature, Canberra Times, 4/9/1997.

Just another face in the clouds. The Helix, August/September 1997.

Giving athletes a helping hand. Feature, Canberra Times, 19/6/1997.

Cola Clouds: An introduction to cloud science. The Helix, June/July 1997.

Gaining an edge through science. Feature, Canberra Times, 12/6/1997.

Weather & Climate: What’s the difference? The Helix, April/May 1997.

Picking the plug-hole spin. Feature, Canberra Times, 18/3/1997.

New current to drive recycling. Feature, Canberra Times, 27/2/1997.

A healthy drink of Canberra water. Feature, Canberra Times, 20/2/1997.

The forecast is for safer summers. Feature, Canberra Times, 13/2/1997.

Under Pressure. The Helix, February/March 1997.

Blue-green algae – what can we do? Rural Research, 173, Summer 1996/97.

Which way down the plug hole? The Helix, December 1996/January 1997.

The Big Blue. Australasian Science, Summer 1996.

Climate for Art’s sake. Questacon Magazine, Vol. 6 no. 1, Summer 1996.

End of the bue-green blues? Search, 27 (8), 240-242.

Tornadoes, willy-willies and fish. The Helix, October/November 1996.

Acid, acid, go away…Australasian Science, Spring 1996.

Kitchen El Nino. The Helix, August/September 1996.

Blowing in the wind. The Helix, June/July 1996.

Measuring rainfall. The Helix, April/May 1996.

Living with climate variability. Australasian Science, Autumn 1996.

Coffee Break. Australasian Science, Autumn 1996.

A Hair Hygrometer. The Helix, February/March 1996.

What’s the temperature? The Helix, December 1995/January 1996.

Salinger, M.J., R. Allan, N. Bindoff, J. Hannah, B. Lavery, Z. Lin, J. Lindesay, N.Nicholls, N. Plummer and S. Torok, 1996. Observed variability and change in climate and sea-level in Oceania. In: Greenhouse: Coping with Climate Change (editors W. Bouma, G. Pearman and M. Manning), CSIRO 1996, 100-126.

Torok, S. and Nicholls, N., 1996. An historical temperature record for Australia. Aust. Met. Mag. 45, 251-260.

Nicholls, N., Lavery, B. and Torok, S. 1996. Australian 20th century climate variations from high-quality instrumental data. Climate trends in Oceania: Symposium on climate trends in Oceania since 1500. NIWA, Auckland, New Zealand, April 1996.

Pollack, H. N., Huang, S., and Simon Torok, Recent climate history in Australia inferred from borehole temperatures, with comparisons to the meteorologic record. 4th International Workshop on Heat Flow and the Structure of the Lithosphere, June 9-15, 1996, Trest Castle, Czech Republic.

Power, S., Mehta, V., Tseitkin, F, Torok, S., Lavery, B., and Dahni, R. 1996. Decadal variability in Australian temperature, precipitation and river flow during the 20th century. JCESS/CLIVAR workshop on decadal climate variability. Columbia, MD, April 1996.

Torok, S. 1996. The development of a high quality historical temperature data base for Australia. The University of Melbourne, Ph.D. Thesis, 300 pp + appendices.

Torok, S., Corbit, C. and Kolhagen, S. 1996 Virtual Reality in science communication on the WWW. SCICOMM 96, The Fourth International Conference on the Public Communication of Science and Technology. Melbourne, Australia. November, 1996.

What a tangled web we weave. Australasian Science, Summer 1995.

Artificial snow-business. Questacon Magazine, Spring 1995.

Global link an armchair campaigner. Article, The Weekend Australian 21/10/1995.

Data Capture from the office. GIS User, October-November 1995.

Spysats come on to the market. Article, The Weekend Australian 26/8/1995.

Scientists take heat out of changes in climate. Article, The Weekend Australian 15/7/1995.

Reading El Nino: A brighter outlook. Feature, Canberra Times 3/6/1995.

A taxing debate on carbon tax. The environmental Economics Journal, June 1995.

Fears over growth of snow sheet. Article, The Weekend Australian 20/5/1995.

Universal facts elude stellar theorists. Article, The Australian 10/5/1995.

Insults inflame Net users. Article, The Australian 10/5/1995.

Terror from the skies. Feature, Canberra Times 22/4/1995.

The next generation of scientists speak out, Search, October 1994.

Plummer, N., Zhenjie Lin and S. Torok, 1994. Trends in the diurnal temperature range over Australia since 1951. Atmospheric Research, 37, 79-86.

Plummer, N., Zhenjie Lin and S. Torok, 1994. Recent changes in the diurnal temperature range. Climate Change Newsletter, Vol.6 #1.

Plummer, N., Zhenjie Lin. and S. Torok, 1994. Recent changes in the diurnal temperature range over Australia. Asymetric Change of Daily Temperature Range – Proceedings of the International Minimax workshop, September 27-30 1993, Maryland, U.S.A.

Salinger, M.J., R. Allan, N. Bindoff, J. Hannah, B. Lavery, Z. Lin, J. Lindesay, N.Nicholls, N. Plummer and S. Torok, 1994. Observed variability and change in climate and sea-level in Oceania. Greenhouse 94 proceedings, 9-14 October 1994,Wellington, New Zealand.

Torok, S. 1994. Do sheep weather alerts mean that it will rain sheep? An account of severe weather events in Australia. Bull. Aust. Met. and Ocean. Soc., Vol.7 #4,pp.72-75.

Torok, S., 1994. Greenhouse 94. Bull. Aust. Met. and Ocean. Soc. Vol. 7 p. 104.

Torok, S. and N. Nicholls, 1994. Greenhouse 94 proceedings, 9-14 October 1994, Wellington, New Zealand.

Torok, S. and N. Nicholls, 1994. A method to adjust for discontinuities in observational data. Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society National Conference. 13-16 February, Adelaide, Australia.

Watkins, A. and Torok, S., 1994. Were you dreaming of a white Christmas? Sumer snowfall events in Australia. Bull. Aust. Met. and Ocean. Soc. Vol. 7 p. 14.

Plummer, N., Zhenjie Lin. and S. Torok, 1994. Recent changes in the diurnal temperature range over Australia. Asymetric Change of Daily Temperature Range – Proceedings of the International Minimax workshop, September 27-30 1993, Maryland, U.S.A.

Torok, S., 1993. 4th International Conference on Southern Hemisphere Meteorology and Oceanography. Bull. Aust. Met. and Ocean. Soc. Vol. 6 p. 48.

Torok, S. 1993. Observations on Temperature (…and Observers). Climate Change Newsletter Vol.5 #4.

Torok, S., B. Lavery, N. Plummer, A. Kariko and N. Nicholls, 1993. Refining Australia’s Historical Climate Record. 4th International Conference on Southern Hemisphere Meteorology and Oceanography, 29th March – 2nd April, 1993, Hobart, Australia.

Torok, S., and N. Nicholls, 1993. Inhomogeneities in the Australian Instrumental Temperature Record. Preprints, 8th Symposium on Meteorological Observations and Instrumentation. 17-22 January, Anaheim, California, U.S.A., 1993.

Torok, S., and N. Nicholls, 1993. Twentieth Century Victorian Climate Change From High Quality Historical Climate Stations. Part Two : Temperature. Submission to State Electricity Commission of Victoria, 125pp.

Torok, S., Plummer, N. and Lin, Z., 1993. Minimax Workshop, Washington USA. Bull. Aust. Met. and Ocean. Soc. Vol. 6 p. 113.

Torok, S., K. Skemp, J. Mwabora and M. Keyte, 1993. Coupled Climate System Modelling : A Southern Hemisphere Perspective. Bull. Aust. Met. and Ocean. Soc. Vol. 6 #2, pp. 32-34.

Torok, S., Plummer, N. and Lin, Z., 1993. Minimax Workshop, Washington USA. Bull. Aust. Met. and Ocean. Soc. Vol. 6 p. 113.

Torok, S., K. Skemp, J. Mwabora and M. Keyte, 1993. Coupled Climate System Modelling : A Southern Hemisphere Perspective. Bull. Aust. Met. and Ocean. Soc. Vol. 6 #2, pp. 32-34.

Torok, S. and B. Coutts, 1992. Maximum and Minimum Temperatures: Same Coin, Different Sides. Bull. Aust. Met. and Ocean. Soc., Vol.5 #4, pp.62-65.