Interested in doing a Ph.D. or honours project in climate science?

There are always opportunities available for good students to do research here at the CCRC. Check here for a wide variety of potential topics offered by the faculty.

To get an idea of the kind of topics/projects you could do with me you can take a look at my current Research Team. A few other potential topics are given below. This is just to give you a flavour of the research topics available. I am always happy to discuss other ideas for topics as well.

Scholarship are available for Ph.D. students

  1. For Australian or New Zealand citizens or residents a First class honours or equivalent will put you in the running for an Australian Postgraduate Award and a CCRC top-up.

  2. For international applicants several scholarships are available. They are however very competitive and you will generally need a very good academic record (first class honours and/or masters by research), as well as a publication in a recognized scientific journal, and you need to pass the English language requirements. Details on all these things can be found through the Graduate Research School.
There are also scholarships for honours students. See details here.

Potential Ph.D. projects

Ph.D. projects all involve analysis of large observational and model datasets, often involve running model experiments (usually regional climate models), and may involve some model development. Here are some possible Ph.D. topics, other topics can also be discussed.

  • Development of a high resolution Planetary Boundary Layer (PBL) parametrization within a lower resolution atmospheric model. Atmospheric motion in the PBL often occurs on scales that are much smaller than those that dominate in the free troposphere. While it is too computationally intensive to have higher resolution throughout the atmosphere, it is still desirable to have it within the PBL. This project will develop and test the coupling between a high resolution PBL and low resolution atmosphere, and use it to model phenomena such as sea breezes.
  • Land-atmosphere coupling: can the metrics be trusted? A number of different measures have been introduced to measure the strength of the coupling between the land and atmosphere. How do these measure compare? What do they really tell us? Do they tell us about a general property of the system or are they specific only to the data used to calculate them?
  • How has the expansion of Sydney's urban area affected the water supply for the city? The water supply reservoirs for Sydney are downwind of most of the weather systems that deliver the precipitation. How has the growing urban heat island and pollution source affected the production of precipitation over Sydney's reservoirs?
  • The behaviour of large bushfires is strongly affected by land-vegetation-fire-atmosphere coupling. In fact, some atypical fire behaviour such as fire channelling and pyrocumulus events require this coupling. This project will develop the WRF-fire model to include phenomena such as the release of embers and spotting. The new model will be used to investigate these atypical fire phenomena.
  • Using back-trajectory techniques to identify the water vapour source regions for rain falling in the Murray-Darling basin. How are these source regions affected by assumptions in the back-trajectory technique? How much rain is recycled within the basin?

Potential Honours projects

Honours projects are designed to give you a taste of climate research and build your skills in data analysis. They all involve analyzing datasets using programming languages like Python, Matlab, R or NCL. Topics generally include analysis of both model output and observational data.

Possible topics:

  • How was tropical cyclone Yasi affected by the sea surface temperatures?
  • What are the projected trends in climate for south-east Australia?
  • How is the South Pacific Convergence Zone projected to change in the future?
  • How will global warming impact the water resources of south-east Australia?
  • Will bushfire be more severe in the future due to global warming?
  • Evaluation of the GEWEX unified satellite products over Australia.
  • How do large burned areas in the Australian Snowy Mountains impact the following winters snow cover?


UNSW    This page is maintaind by Jason Evans | Last updated 31st January 2008