Study With Us: PhD opportunities at 21st Century Weather

The ARC Centre of Excellence for the Weather of the 21st Century explores how Australia’s weather is being reshaped by climate change. We are currently offering multiple PhD opportunities to outstanding candidates.

The Centre includes five Australian universities (The University of New South Wales, Monash University, The University of Melbourne, The University of Tasmania and The Australian National University) and a suite of major national and international Partner Organizations.

We offer PhD opportunities with world-leading climate and weather researchers and modellers hailing from a range of disciplines. Most projects are supervised across universities and/or co-supervised by experts from industry or our national and international research partners. The Centre offers a supportive, progressive, exciting and welcoming work environment to build research careers – either in academia or beyond.

Research is particularly focused in the following areas:

  • Weather system dynamics
  • Climate variability and weather systems
  • Weather systems in a warmer world
  • Weather resources
  • High impact weather modelling science

Some available projects are listed below.

If you’re a student with strong quantitative skills (e.g. mathematics, physics, climate, model development, etc) and wish to express an interest in studying with us, click the button below to complete the expression of interest form.

21st Century Weather PhD Projects

Midlatitude weather systems in a warmer climate

As the world warms, the moisture content of the atmosphere increases, causing changes to the dynamics of weather systems. In this project, we will investigate how these changes affect rainfall in the midlatitudes, using a high-resolution atmospheric model. By simulating midlatitude weather in idealised warmer worlds, we will investigate how changes in surface temperature and temperature gradients influence large-scale midlatitude weather patterns and the weather systems, such as fronts and cyclones, embedded within them that ultimately produce rainfall.
Supervisory team: Marty Singh (Monash), Shayne McGregor (Monash)

A recipe for the Australian Monsoon

Variability of the Australian monsoon, its long-term observed trends, and its future projections with climate change are all poorly understood at present. In this project we propose to investigate key processes that influence variations in the monsoon at all time scales, with an emphasis on idealised model simulations using ACCESS. Assessment of those processes in climate models may improve our understanding of future projections.
Supervisory team: Sugata Narsey (BoM), Julie Arblaster (Monash), Jo Brown (University of Melbourne), Marty Singh (Monash)
Note: BoM top-up of $10,000 AUD per year is a possibility, but the student must be an Australian citizen.

Tropical cyclone connections to heatwaves in climate models

Severe heatwaves in south-eastern Australia have previously been associated with outflow from tropical cyclones in northern Australia. This project will examine the mechanisms associated with these tropical-extratropical interactions using high-resolution climate models. The ability of lower resolution models to capture broad scale processes will also be examined in order to understand how these may change in a warming climate.
Supervisory team: Liz Ritchie-Tyo (Monash), Julie Arblaster (Monash), Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick (ANU)

The future of Hot + Humid heatwaves

Heatwaves are projected to increase in their intensity, frequency, and duration as global temperatures rise. However, changes in humid heatwaves and their impact on human health are lesser known. Combining contemporary knowledge on the physiological effect of hot and humid conditions with physical climate models, this project will seek to determine health-relevant projections of hot + humid heatwaves. Projections will be assessed across climate models that vary in resolution and other structural and physical properties to help determine whether improvements on the quality and accuracy of hot + humid projections are made when certain model properties are present. The project will also identify and explore how the underpinning weather systems of hot + humid heatwaves will change in the future.
Supervisory team: Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick (ANU), Steven Sherwood (UNSW), Negin Nazarian (UNSW)

The Southward extent of the Madden Julian Oscillation and its impact on Australian rainfall

The Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) is known to make a southward detour around the Maritime Continent, primarily in the Austral summer, which can cause enhanced rainfall over Northern Australia. However, we don’t know how the characteristics of this southward detour influences rainfall in tropical Australia, or the conditions under which this is most likely to occur. In this project, we will explore the favourable conditions for the southward deflection of the MJO. We will characterise how the southward deflection influences Australian rainfall and consider the implications of the findings for the future climate.
Supervisory team: Claire Vincent (University of Melbourne)

Weather Systems Crucial to Australia’s Water Resources

Australian water resources depend heavily upon ocean evaporation that is transported to the continent by weather systems. Interruptions to this atmospheric water transport can lead to drought, causing shocks to the Australian economy and our communities. In contrast, relatively few days of very heavy rainfall from the return of key weather systems can break droughts and restore water resources. In this project you will evaluate climate models’ ability to reliably simulate weather systems crucial to Australia’s water resources, including how these weather systems interact with major modes of climate variability. You will then use this new information to constrain future projections of water resources changes in a warmer world.
Supervisory team: Chiara Holgate (ANU) and Ailie Gallant (Monash)