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Research Thesis Topic

Understanding landfalling tropical cyclones over Australia

Topic ID:

Thesis Topic/Title:
Understanding landfalling tropical cyclones over Australia


Tropical cyclones (TCs) are low-pressure systems with organized convection that form over the warm tropical oceans. TCs produce damaging winds, heavy rainfall and storm surges that can result in wide-spread flooding near the tropical coastal regions. On average, 11 TCs form in the Australian region during the TC season (November to April) of which 40% make landfall over Australia with the potential for huge socio-economic losses given the growth in coastal settlements and infrastructure developments. For example, severe TC Debbie in 2017 was one of the most destructive systems to make landfall in Australia that had a total economic loss of A$3.5 billion. A significant fraction of annual precipitation over tropical Australia has been attributed to TCs, providing 30-45% of the annual rainfall at some stations over north-west Australia. A recent study with limited datasets shows that Australia has witnessed considerable cases of inland TCs after the landfall since 1979 compared to other regions that maintained tropical characteristics over land for a few more days, enhancing the TC-related hazards. However, our present understanding of the trend of landfalling TCs is very limited, as is our knowledge of the driving mechanisms of changing characteristics after the landfall, and associated impacts on northern Australian rainfall variability.
This project will investigate what contributes to the decay, re-intensification or sustenance of an inland TC after landfall over Australia and the contribution of TCs to rainfall variability using the latest available best-track datasets, high resolution reanalyses and surface observations. The outcomes from this project will consist of a comprehensive understanding of the landfalling TCs, including an updated database of inland TCs over Australia, which will aid in better handling the model uncertainties in future projections of such events.
A self-motivated promising student with a background in meteorology and with prior data analysis experience (e.g. NCL, Python, Matlab etc.) would be preferable. Travel to Melbourne may be encouraged to carry out this research work with a possibility of paper publication(s) in high quality research journals.

Principal Supervisor

Research Affiliations
  • Institute for Agriculture and the Environment
  • International Centre for Applied Climate Sciences

Field of Research
  • Atmospheric Sciences

Available Academic Programs
  • Master of Research (MRES)

Application Open Date

Application Close Date

USQ Scholarship Applications

Other Scholarship Funding Details
The Northern Australia Climate Program will consider funding a stipend.

Pre-approved for Ethics
Not Applicable

Admission Requirements

Please review the admission requirements for the academic program associated with this Thesis Topic

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