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Research Thesis Topic

Soil moisture feedbacks on rainfall variations over northern Australia

Topic ID:

Thesis Topic/Title:
Soil moisture feedbacks on rainfall variations over northern Australia


Australia has witnessed many severe multiyear droughts and extended pluvial periods that resulted in severe stress in agriculture, ecosystems, and community welfare and huge economic losses. Understanding the causes and predictability of such hydrological extremes is thus of great societal importance. Recent studies indicate that the rainfall over northern Australia varies strongly at multiyear timescales, with land-atmosphere coupling and soil moisture feedbacks appearing to have dominant roles in the west and remote forcing from tropical ocean temperatures affecting the east. There is still a knowledge gap for understanding the effects of land–atmosphere coupling and potential soil moisture memory for promoting multiyear rainfall variations over northern Australia. The project will focus on improving our knowledge of the mechanisms of soil moisture memory and land-surface feedback, and the implications for dynamical prediction and changing climate. The goal is to better inform and prepare key agricultural sectors to better manage hydroclimate related impacts. The study will use a combination of observational and reanalysis datasets, historical coupled climate model simulations, and targeted numerical model experiments.
A self-motivated student with a background in meteorology, prior programming and data analysis experience (e.g. NCL, Python, GrADS etc.) would be desirable. Travel to Melbourne will be encouraged to carry out this research.

Principal Supervisor

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

Field of Research
  • Atmospheric Sciences

Available Academic Programs
  • Doctor of Philosophy (DPHD)
  • 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

Dr Harry Hendon and Dr Hanh Nguyen from BoM will co-supervise

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