Modelling trends in atmospheric composition

Degree type


Closing date

24 September 2021



Citizenship requirement

Domestic/International Onshore

About the research project

In this project, the candidate will use Australia’s state of the art chemistry-climate model to simulate multi-decadal trends in atmospheric composition. In particular, it is now possible to constrain the recent histories of a range of atmospheric constituents using ice core records of hydroxyl, dust, organic carbon, black carbon and methane-sulfonic acid to give new insight to a range of research questions around atmospheric composition.

Global climate models including the Australian Community Climate and Earth System Simulator (ACCESS) are being developed and improved at a rapid rate. A better understanding of how models simulate atmospheric composition over long time periods is needed to ensure we are producing realistic future projections exploring the state of the earth system. Complex climate models, commonly referred to as earth system models, increasingly include a complete representation of atmospheric chemistry in addition to detailed aerosol representation. Understanding how well we are simulating primary aerosol such as dust, black carbon or organic carbon, as well as secondary aerosol such as methane-sulfonic acid and the species that are required for its oxidation (eg. hydroxyl), is an important step towards ensuring that the next generation of earth system models appropriately represent these key species, and their role within the earth system.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Sonya Fiddes


Applicants will be considered for a Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship or Tasmania Graduate Research Scholarship (TGRS) which, if successful, provides:

  • a living allowance stipend of $28,597 per annum (2021 rate, indexed annually) for 3.5 years;
  • a relocation allowance of up to $2,000; and
  • a tuition fees offset covering the cost of tuition fees for up to four years (domestic applicants only)

If successful, international applicants will receive a University of Tasmania Fees Offset for up to four years.

As part of the application process you may indicate if you do not wish to be considered for scholarship funding.


The project is open to domestic (Australian and New Zealand) and international applicants who are already in Australia (onshore) at the time of submitting their application.

Due to current Australian COVID-19 travel restrictions the University cannot accept applications from international applicants who are currently overseas.

Applicants should review the Higher Degree by Research minimum entry requirements.

Selection Criteria

The project is competitively assessed and awarded.  Selection is based on academic merit and suitability to the project as determined by the College. Applicants will be assessed and ranked according to the quality of their basis for entry research degree and institution, prior peer reviewed publications, academic awards, project-specific skills, training or relevant industry experience, referee’s reports and supervisory support.

Additional essential selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Programming skills such as python
  • Unix environment/bash scripting experience
  • Good communication skills (written and oral)
  • Honours/Masters in Atmospheric Science or other STEM degree with the relevant knowledge (maths, physics, chemistry)

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Experience handling large data
  • Experience using climate model output (eg. netCDF file formats)
  • Experience running a climate model

Application process

There is a three-step application process:

  1. Select the project, and check you meet the eligibility and selection criteria;
  2. Contact the Primary Supervisor, Sonya Fiddes, if you have any questions about the project; and
  3. Click here to submit an application by the closing date listed above.
    • Copy and paste the title of the project from this advertisement into your application. If you don’t correctly do this your application may be rejected.
    • As part of your application you will be required to submit a covering letter, a CV including 2 x referees and your project research proposal.

Following the application closing date applications will be assessed within the College. Applicants should expect to receive notification of the outcome by email.

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