Will Hobbs

UTAS Home Dr Will Hobbs

Will Hobbs

Physical Oceanographer

Room 309.8, IMAS Hobart Waterfront Building, Hobart CBD Campuses

+61 3 6226 2970 (phone)

+61 (0)3 6226 2440 (fax)

Dr Will Hobbs is a Physical Oceanographer in the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre (ACE CRC). His primary work is on ocean change detection and attribution, with a particular interest in Southern Ocean sea ice trends.


Will gained his PhD in 2009 from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where he studied the role of the atmosphere in driving large-scale variability of Southern Ocean sea ice. Following his PhD, Will was a post-doctoral researcher in the Ocean Circulation group at the NASA/Caltech Jet Propulsion Laboratory. His work at JPL involved combing satellite data with Argo float data to estimate the strength and heat transport of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC). This ground-breaking time series is regularly updated and is widely used in the AMOC community.He came to Hobart in 2012 to take up a position in Ocean Detection and Attribution with the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS), before moving to ACE CRC in March 2015.

Career summary


Degree Thesis TitleUniversityCountryDate of Award
PhDThe Southern Hemisphere Quasi-Stationary Eddies and their relationship with Antarctic Sea IceUniversity of California, Los AngelesUSA30/6/2009
MScGCM response to large volcanic eruptionsUniversity of ReadingUK1/10/2004
MEng (Hons)

Vehicle Air Conditioning Powered by Exhaust Waste Heat

University of SheffieldUK30/6/1995

Languages (other than English)



Professional practice

  • 2005-present: American Geophysical Union
  • 2005-present: American Meteorological Society


Climate Change Detection and Attribution, Climate variability, Sea ice physics

Teaching expertise

Teaching responsibility

View more on Dr Will Hobbs in WARP


  • Climate analysis of satellite retrievals, in situ observations, hydrographic data, reanalysis data and climate model output.
  • Model-observation intercomparison
  • Climate change detection and attribution
  • Circulation of the atmosphere and ocean in the Southern Hemisphere high latitudes
  • Management and analysis of large ensemble climate model experiments

Research Themes

Will's work is aligned to the UTas research themes of Antarctic and Maritime and Environment. The Southern Ocean may seem very far away, but the ocean circulation around Antarctica is responsible for absorbing about 30% of the CO2 emitted into the atmosphere by humans, and about 75% of heat trapped on the planet by that CO2. There is a trade off for this invaluable service – namely sea level rise and ocean acidification – but without this service climate change would be an even bigger problem. Understanding how the Southern Ocean 'works' and is changing now is essential to understanding how much the climate will change in the future. Will's work is driven by the need to know how much heat the ocean can absorb, and how much it will absorb in the future.Sea ice is an essential part of the heat uptake. Each year an area of the Southern Ocean 2-3 times the size of Australia freezes over, and then melts away 4-6 months later. This staggering seasonal cycle – the largest on our planet – is partly responsible for the deep vertical ocean convection that moves heat and carbon into the deep ocean, where it can remain for many centuries.


Will has ongoing collaborations with scientists at the UK Met Office, working on global energy balance in coupled climate models. He also works extensively with colleagues in the US at UCLA, UC Boulder, NASA and Caltech JPL in the fields of Southern Ocean sea ice change, and ocean heat content.

Current projects

  • Detection and Attribution of Southern Ocean sea ice trends
  • Assessment of sea ice physics in global coupled climate models
  • Energy conservation in global coupled climate models
  • Changes in the Southern Ocean salinity budget

Fields of Research

  • Physical Oceanography (040503)
  • Atmospheric Dynamics (040102)
  • Climate Change Processes (040104)
  • Physical Geography and Environmental Geoscience (040699)
  • Ecological Impacts of Climate Change (050101)
  • Climatology (excl. Climate Change Processes) (040105)
  • Glaciology (040602)
  • Geodesy (090902)
  • Geodynamics (040402)
  • Seismology and Seismic Exploration (040407)
  • Geophysical Fluid Dynamics (040403)

Research Objectives

  • Effects of Climate Change and Variability on Antarctic and Sub-Antarctic Environments (excl. Social Impacts) (960306)
  • Global Effects of Climate Change and Variability (excl. Australia, New Zealand, Antarctica and the South Pacific) (excl. Social Impacts) (960310)
  • Climate Variability (excl. Social Impacts) (960304)
  • Climate and Climate Change (960399)
  • Climate Change Models (960303)
  • Expanding Knowledge in the Earth Sciences (970104)
  • Effects of Climate Change and Variability on the South Pacific (excl. Australia and New Zealand) (excl. Social Impacts) (960309)
  • Physical and Chemical Conditions of Water in Marine Environments (961104)
  • Natural Hazards in Antarctic and Sub-Antarctic Environments (961001)


Total publications


Highlighted publications

(2 outputs)
2012Journal ArticleHobbs WR, Willis JK, 'Midlatitude North Atlantic heat transport: A time series based on satellite and drifter data', Journal of Geophysical Research - Oceans, 117 Article C01008. ISSN 0148-0227 (2012) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1029/2011JC007039 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 32Web of Science - 31


2010Journal ArticleHobbs WR, Raphael MN, 'The Pacific zonal asymmetry and its influence on Southern Hemisphere sea ice variability', Antarctic Science, 22, (5) pp. 559-571. ISSN 0954-1020 (2010) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1017/S0954102010000283 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 13Web of Science - 12


Journal Article

(25 outputs)
2018Baringer MO, Willis J, Smeed DA, Moat B, Dong S, et al., 'Meridional overturning and oceanic heat transport circulation observations in the North Atlantic Ocean [in 'State of the Climate in 2017']', Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 99, (8) pp. S91-S94. ISSN 0003-0007 (2018) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1175/2018BAMSStateoftheClimate.1 [eCite] [Details]


2018Raphael MN, Holland MM, Landrum L, Hobbs WR, 'Links between the Amundsen Sea Low and sea ice in the Ross Sea: seasonal and interannual relationships', Climate Dynamics pp. 1-17. ISSN 0930-7575 (2018) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1007/s00382-018-4258-4 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Web of Science - 1


2018Silvano A, Rintoul SR, Pena-Molino B, Hobbs WR, van Wijk E, et al., 'Freshening by glacial meltwater enhances melting of ice shelves and reduces formation of Antarctic Bottom Water', Science Advances, 4, (4) Article eaap9467. ISSN 2375-2548 (2018) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aap9467 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 4Web of Science - 4

Co-authors: Rintoul SR; Pena-Molino B; van Wijk E; Tamura T; Williams GD


2018Schroeter S, Hobbs W, Bindoff NL, Massom R, Matear R, 'Drivers of Antarctic sea ice volume change in CMIP5 models', Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 123, (11) pp. 7914-7938. ISSN 2169-9275 (2018) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1029/2018JC014177 [eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Bindoff NL; Massom R


2017Labrousse S, Sallee J-B, Fraser AD, Massom RA, Reid P, et al., 'Variability in sea ice cover and climate elicit sex specific responses in an Antarctic predator', Scientific Reports, 7 Article 43236. ISSN 2045-2322 (2017) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1038/srep43236 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 3Web of Science - 3

Co-authors: Fraser AD; Massom RA; McMahon C; Hindell MA


2017Schroeter S, Hobbs W, Bindoff NL, 'Interactions between Antarctic sea ice and large-scale atmospheric modes in CMIP5 models', Cryosphere, 11 pp. 789-803. ISSN 1994-0416 (2017) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.5194/tc-11-789-2017 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Web of Science - 3

Co-authors: Bindoff NL


2017Baringer MO, Smeed DA, Willis J, Lankhorst M, Hobbs WR, et al., 'Meridional overturning and oceanic heat transport circulation observations in the North Atlantic Ocean [in 'State of the Climate in 2016']', Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 98, (8) pp. S84-S87. ISSN 0003-0007 (2017) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1175/2017BAMSStateoftheClimate.1 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 16Web of Science - 21


2016Hobbs W, Curran M, Abram N, Thomas ER, 'Century-scale perspectives on observed and simulated Southern Ocean sea ice trends from proxy reconstructions', Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 121, (10) pp. 7804-7818. ISSN 2169-9275 (2016) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1002/2016JC012111 [eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Curran M


2016Hobbs W, Palmer MD, Monselesan D, 'An energy conservation analysis of ocean drift in the CMIP5 global coupled models', Journal of Climate, 29, (5) pp. 1639-1653. ISSN 0894-8755 (2016) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1175/JCLI-D-15-0477.1 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 17Web of Science - 14


2016Hobbs WR, Massom R, Stammerjohn S, Reid P, Williams G, et al., 'A review of recent changes in Southern Ocean sea ice, their drivers and forcings', Global and Planetary Change, 143 pp. 228-250. ISSN 0921-8181 (2016) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.gloplacha.2016.06.008 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 42Web of Science - 39

Co-authors: Massom R; Reid P; Williams G


2016Raphael MN, Marshall GJ, Turner J, Fogt RL, Schneider D, et al., 'The Amundsen Sea Low: variability, change and impact on Antarctic climate', American Meteorological Society. Bulletin, 97, (1) pp. 111-121. ISSN 0003-0007 (2016) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1175/BAMS-D-14-00018.1 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 73Web of Science - 66


2016Bindoff NL, Hobbs WR, 'Sea-ice-driven shallow overturning', Nature Geoscience, 9, (8) pp. 569-570. ISSN 1752-0894 (2016) [Non Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1038/ngeo2766 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Web of Science - 2

Co-authors: Bindoff NL


2015Baringer MO, Johns WE, Hobbs WR, Garzoli S, Dong S, et al., 'Meridional oceanic heat transport in the Atlantic Ocean [in 'State of the Climate in 2014']', American Meteorological Society. Bulletin, 96, (7) pp. S81-S82. ISSN 0003-0007 (2015) [Contribution to Refereed Journal]

[eCite] [Details]

2015Hobbs WR, Bindoff NL, Raphael MN, ' New Perspectives on Observed and Simulated Antarctic Sea Ice Extent Trends Using Optimal Fingerprinting Techniques', Journal of Climate, 28, (4) pp. 1543-1560. ISSN 0894-8755 (2015) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1175/JCLI-D-14-00367.1 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 20Web of Science - 20

Co-authors: Bindoff NL


2014Raphael MN, Hobbs W, 'The influence of the large-scale atmospheric circulation on Antarctic sea ice during ice advance and retreat seasons', Geophysical Research Letters, 41, (14) pp. 5037-5045. ISSN 0094-8276 (2014) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1002/2014GL060365 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 18Web of Science - 17


2013Cunningham SA, Roberts CD, Frajka-Williams E, Johns WE, Hobbs WR, et al., 'Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation slowdown cooled the subtropical ocean', Geophysical Research Letters, 40, (23) pp. 6202-6207. ISSN 0094-8276 (2013) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1002/2013GL058464 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 40Web of Science - 39


2013Hobbs WR, Willis JK, 'Detection of an observed 135 year ocean temperature change from limited data', Geophysical Research Letters, 40, (10) pp. 2252-2258. ISSN 0094-8276 (2013) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1002/grl.50370 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 4Web of Science - 5


2013Bindoff NL, Hobbs WR, 'Oceanography: Deep ocean freshening', Nature Climate Change, 3 pp. 864-865. ISSN 1758-678X (2013) [Letter or Note in Journal]

DOI: 10.1038/nclimate2014 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 5Web of Science - 6

Co-authors: Bindoff NL


2012Baringer MO, Cunningham SA, Meinen CS, Garzoli S, Willis J, et al., 'Global Oceans: Meridional overturning circulation observations in the subtropical North Atlantic [in 'State of the Climate in 2011']', Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 93, (7) pp. S78-S81. ISSN 0003-0007 (2012) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1175/2012BAMSStateoftheClimate.1 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 58Web of Science - 1


2012Hobbs WR, Willis JK, 'Midlatitude North Atlantic heat transport: A time series based on satellite and drifter data', Journal of Geophysical Research - Oceans, 117 Article C01008. ISSN 0148-0227 (2012) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1029/2011JC007039 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 32Web of Science - 31


2011Raphael MN, Hobbs WR, Walner L, 'The effect of Antarctic sea ice on the Southern Hemisphere atmosphere during the southern summer', Climate Dynamics: Observational, Theoretical and Computational Research on The Climate System, 36, (37-38) pp. 1403-1417. ISSN 0930-7575 (2011) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1007/s00382-010-0892-1 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 11Web of Science - 10


2010Hobbs WR, Raphael MN, 'The Pacific zonal asymmetry and its influence on Southern Hemisphere sea ice variability', Antarctic Science, 22, (5) pp. 559-571. ISSN 0954-1020 (2010) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1017/S0954102010000283 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 13Web of Science - 12


2010Lee T, Hobbs WR, Willis JK, Halkides D, Fukumori I, et al., 'Record warming in the South Pacific and western Antarctica associated with the strong central‐Pacific El Niño in 2009-10', Geophysical Research Letters, 37, (19) Article L19704. ISSN 0094-8276 (2010) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1029/2010GL044865 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 34Web of Science - 36


2009Hobbs WR, Raphael MN, 'Characterizing the zonally asymmetric component of the SH circulation', Climate Dynamics, 35, (5) pp. 859-873. ISSN 0930-7575 (2009) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1007/s00382-009-0663-z [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 12Web of Science - 11


2007Hobbs WR, Raphael MN, 'A representative time-series for the Southern Hemisphere zonal wave 1', Geophysical Research Letters, 34 Article L05702. ISSN 0094-8276 (2007) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1029/2006GL028740 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 12Web of Science - 13



(2 outputs)
2013Baringer MO, Johns WE, McCarthy G, Willis J, Garzoli S, et al., 'Meridional overturning circulation and heat transport observations in the Atlantic Ocean [in 'state of the Climate in 2012']', American Meteorological Society. Bulletin, 94, (8) pp. S65-S68. ISSN 0003-0007 (2013) [Substantial Review]

[eCite] [Details]

2013Bindoff NL, Hobbs WR, 'Deep ocean freshening', Nature Climate Change, 3, (October) pp. 864-865. ISSN 1758-678X (2013) [Review Single Work]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Bindoff NL

Conference Publication

(2 outputs)
2018Massonnet F, Ried P, Lieser JL, Bitz C, Fyfe J, et al., 'SIPN south: coordinating seasonal predictions of sea ice in the Southern Ocean', 35th SCAR Biennial Meetings, 19-23 June 2018, Davos, Switzerland, pp. A-938-0057-00117. (2018) [Conference Extract]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Lieser JL; Kusahara K

2016Curran MA, van Ommen TD, Stroeve J, Vance TR, Moy AD, et al., 'The Law Dome MSA sea ice proxy record: analysis of modern satellite data and re-examination of archival satellite imagery', IPICS 2016 Book of Abstracts, 07-11 March 2016, Hobart, Tasmania, pp. submission ID 256. (2016) [Conference Extract]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Curran MA; van Ommen TD; Vance TR; Moy AD; Roberts J; Lieser J; Poynter S; Plummer C

Grants & Funding

Funding Summary

Number of grants


Total funding



Understanding spread in sea level rise projections (2016 - 2018)$290,000
Sea level rise projections for this 21st century largely disagree in magnitude and spatial changes between climatemodels, particularly in hotspots. This project aims to investigate changes in water properties and ocean circulationmechanisms leading to intermodel spread in sea level projections. The expected outcomes will contribute towardsmore rigorous constraints on the likelihood of future warming and sea level rise projections, and are aligned withscientific deliverables required to address key questions in support of Australias climate change policy. They arealso aligned with international scientific deliverables in support of the World Climate Research Programme GrandChallenge on Regional Sea Level Change and Coastal Impacts.
Australian Research Council ($290,000)
Grant-Discovery Projects
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Domingues CM; Hobbs WR; Marsland S; Zika J
2016 - 2018
Grant Reference
Ocean forced evolution of the Antarctic Ice Sheet (2015)$50,365
Preparing for the impacts of sea level rise needs an improved understand of the response of the Antarctic Ice Sheet to changing ocean conditions. Over the last decade it has become clear that more ocean driven melting beneath ice shelves is causing the Antarctic Ice Sheet to lose ice at an increasing rate, contributing to sea-level rise. This project will explain the role of the ocean in controlling this dynamic behavior of the Antarctic Ice Sheet. We will use state-of-the-art numerical modelling and available observations to determine the key processes that govern how the Antarctic ice flows into the oceans, together with the assessment of possible future change. This proposal will provide improved understanding of the processes controlling ice sheet and sea level and will help to provide realistic estimates of freshwater and heat transport in a global ocean context.
Department of Environment and Energy (Cwth) ($50,365)
Grant-Australian Antarctic Science
Administered By
Department of Environment and Energy (Cwth)
Research Team
Galton-Fenzi B; Dinniman M; Gayen B; Gladstone R; Greve R; Heimbach P; Hobbs WR; Jourdain N; King MA; Klinck J; Klocker A; Rintoul SR; Roberts JL; Treverrow A; Warner RC; Williams GD
Earth Systems Hub (2014 - 2020)$21,621,000
Department of Environment and Energy (Cwth) ($21,621,000)
Grant-National Environmental Science Prgm (NESP)
Administered By
CSIRO-Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation
Research Team
Cleugh H; Bindoff NL; Holbrook NJ; Domingues CM; Hobbs WR; Nikurashin M; George SE; Power S; Colman R; Jakob C; Wijffels S; Karoly D; Hendon H; Roderick M; Bates B; Timbal B; McInnes K; Sherwood S; Arblaster J; Hirst T; Hennessy K; Cai W; Wang YP; Clarke J; Gerbing C; England MH
2014 - 2020
RCSS: American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting 2013 (2013)$2,500
University of Tasmania ($2,500)
Grant-Conference Support Scheme
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Hobbs WR

Research Supervision

Will currently supervises one PhD student, Serena Schroeter, who is investigating the representation of Southern Ocean sea ice trends and variability in climate models. He has also supervised some very good undergraduate students through the ARC Centre of Excellence for the Climate System Science Summer Research Scholarship program.




PhDThe response of Antarctic sea ice to anthropogenic climate change, from model and satellite observations2015
PhDDetecting Human Influence in Global Ocean Salinity Patterns2016
PhDGlobal and Regional Sea Level Sensitivity to Changing Ocean Water Mass Properties and Circulation Processes2017