Image of CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Science researcher, DrWenju Cai.

CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Science researcher, Dr Wenju Cai.

Dr Wenju Cai: researching how oceans affect rainfall

Dr Wenju Cai leads research that is using climate change and variability predictions to maximise agricultural, urban and ecological water use opportunities.

  • 7 February 2011 | Updated 12 February 2014

In this article

  1. Overview
  2. Publishing History


Page 1 of 2


Dr Wenju Cai contributes to the climate and water components of CSIRO’s Wealth from Oceans, Water for a Healthy Country, and Climate Adaptation Flagships, and the Climate and Atmosphere Theme at CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research.

He and his colleagues study Australia-wide and regional influences of climate change, both marine and terrestrial, focusing on:

  • response of major modes of climate variability to climate change, and the associated  impacts
  • linking rainfall shifts and trends, changing climate baselines over various regions in Australia, and changing oceans circulation, to depletion of ozone and increasing carbon dioxide and aerosols
  • climate change impacts on Australia water supply, south-east Australian bushfires, and drought frequency, intensity and duration.

Dr Cai has advanced climate knowledge through his work here and overseas with agencies in Japan, Canada and the United States.

He has helped coordinate research in the early phases of the Indian Ocean Climate Initiative, which focuses on the drying trend of south-west Australia, and the South East Australian Climate Initiative centred on the Murray-Darling catchment.

He is a key investigator of the A$50 million CSIRO Southeast Queensland Urban Water Security Research Alliance.


Dr Wenju Cai leads research into how to best use climate change predictions to maximise agricultural, urban and ecological water use opportunities.

Dr Cai joined CSIRO in 1990 and has also held the following positions:

  • contributing author to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report, which won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2007
  • Climate and Water Stream Leader, Water for a Healthy Country Flagship (2004-07)
  • Foreign Specialist, Institute for Earth Sciences & Disaster Prevention, Japan Meteorological Agency (1997)
  • Visiting Professor, Naval Postgraduate School, United States Navy (1995, 1996 and 1998)
  • Research Fellow, Canadian World Ocean Circulation Experiment Centre, University of Newfoundland, Canada (1993)
  • Ocean Climate Characterisation and Prediction Stream Leader, Wealth from Oceans Flagship
  • CSIRO Science Leader.

He is or has been a member of several national and international bodies, including:

  • Chair, World Climate Research Program (WCRP) Climate Variability and Prediction Pacific Implementation Panel (2000-09) and as chair (2009-present)
  • Land & Water Australia Managing Climate Variability Science Advisory Committee (2006-09)
  • WCRP Drought Interest Group (2010).

Qualifications and achievements

Dr Cai received a Masters in Science in Physical Oceanography from Amoy University, China, in 1986, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Physical Oceanography from Flinders University in 1990.

He is on the editorial board of the Open Atmosphere Journal, and is an editor of Advances in Atmospheric Sciences.

He is lead author on 70 peer-reviewed science publications and has contributed to many more.

Read more about the Wealth from Oceans Flagship.