Regional climate change guidance

Regional climate change guidance for local action: Reducing uncertainty in regional climate projections

Degree type


Closing date

25 September 2023



Citizenship requirement

Domestic / International


$31,500pa for 3.5 years

About the research project

This PhD research is aligned with project 2.5 ‘Regional climate change guidance for local action’ of the National Environmental Science Program Phase 2 Climate Systems Hub, which will deliver enhanced methods, data and understanding to increase confidence around changes to hazards and extremes at regional to local scales. The improved confidence comes from multiple components including enhanced process representation in projections from regional climate models (RCMs), and statistical methods employed when using the model outputs. The project will focus on the hazards of extreme rainfall (including associated flood risk factors), extreme wind (including damaging wind gusts from storms) and extreme heat (including related fire weather extremes). The Hub project will be informed and implemented through co-design to connect stakeholder adaptation needs to applied science and prioritise the underpinning science development.

This PhD research will work to advance our understanding of dynamical downscaling methods using RCMs such as the Conformal Cubic Atmospheric Model (CCAM), the Weather Research and Forecast Model (WRF) and the Bureau of Meteorology Atmospheric Regional Projections for Australia (BARPA) to reduce uncertainty in climate change impacts at regional to local scales. Weather and climate processes, regional downscaling approaches, and statistical methods will be evaluated through the combined analysis of existing RCM ensemble outputs, regional reanalysis, and targeted RCM simulations with a focus on Tasmania as a case study. This evaluation will support the development of the most suitable methods to produce the next generation of regional climate projections for Tasmania.

Possible PhD research questions could include:

  • How well are synoptic weather patterns represented in regional climate simulations, particularly those associated with extreme events, and how does this inform our confidence in the projections and our understanding of the processes that are driving regional climate change?
  • How can we improve the accuracy and resolution of regional climate model simulations using CCAM, BARPA and WRF, and what are the trade-offs between the different downscaling methods?
  • How can we better account for local-scale processes and feedbacks in regional climate models, and how does this affect our projections of extreme weather events such as heavy rainfall, strong winds, and extreme heat?
  • What are the uncertainties associated with regional downscaling methods using CCAM, BARPA and WRF, and how can we better quantify and communicate these uncertainties to stakeholders and decision makers?
  • How can we use co-design approaches to better integrate stakeholder needs and local knowledge into regional climate modelling, and how does this improve the relevance and usability of climate projections for local decision making?
  • How can we use machine learning and artificial intelligence techniques to optimize regional downscaling methods using CCAM, BARPA and WRF, and what are the potential benefits and limitations of these approaches?
  • How can we use high-performance computing and cloud-based infrastructure to improve the scalability and efficiency of regional climate modelling using CCAM, BARPA and WRF, and what are the implications for future climate research and applications?

These are a few potential research questions that could be explored in the context of the NESP2 Climate Systems Hub project on regional climate change guidance for local action. Depending on your specific interests and expertise, there may be other related research questions that could be pursued as well.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Kathleen Beyer


The successful applicant will receive a scholarship which provides:

  • a living allowance stipend of $31,500 per annum (2023 rate, indexed annually) for 3.5 years
  • a relocation allowance of up to $2,000
  • 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.

Other funding opportunities and fees

For further information regarding other scholarships on offer, and the various fees of undertaking a research degree, please visit our Scholarships and fees on research degrees page.


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

Ensure your eligibility for the scholarship round by referring to our Key Dates.

Additional eligibility criteria specific to this project/scholarship:

  • Applicants must be able to undertake the project on-campus

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.

Additional essential selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Background in atmospheric or climate science, physics, meteorology, engineering or a related quantitative field
  • Good knowledge of statistics and quantitative error analysis
  • Strong skills in programming, data analysis and data visualisation (e.g. Python, MATLAB, FORTRAN and similar languages)
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Experience working with high performance computing
  • Experience handling large datasets and familiarity with netCDF format
  • Experience in parallel programming, particularly FORTRAN and Python
  • Experience in climate science including climatology, modelling, climate change projections and impacts

Application process

  1. Select your project, and check that you meet the eligibility and selection criteria, including citizenship;
  2. Contact Dr Kathleen Beyer to discuss your suitability and the project's requirements; and
  3. In your application:
    • 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.
    • Submit a signed supervisory support form, a CV including contact details of 2 referees and your project research proposal.
  4. Apply prior to 25 September 2023.

Full details of the application process can be found under the 'How to apply' section of the Research Degrees website.

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

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