Standing meanders in the Southern Ocean

How do standing meanders brake the Antarctic circumpolar current?

Degree type

PhD

Closing date

18 July 2022

Campus

Hobart

Citizenship requirement

Domestic/International

About the research project

Changes in the Southern Ocean are substantial and widespread (Bindoff, Cheung et al. 2019) and different to other regions (Meredith, et al 2019). In particular the winds have strengthened, water masses have changed, and oxygen has declined.  New dynamical understanding and observations have shown that there are several hotspots of high poleward heat transport from eddies towards Antarctica (Foppert et al, 2017). These hot spots of eddy driven poleward heat flux are associated with standing meanders tied to large bathymetric features (Thompson and Naviera-Garabato, 2014).  The observed increase in kinetic energy (and poleward heat flux) is in contrast to the fact that the transport of the ACC has remained almost constant (Hogg et al, 2014).

While standing meanders occur in the vicinity of large bathymetric features, the dynamics controlling the length, amplitude, and variability of these meanders remains largely unknown. The circulation associated with standing meanders plays an important role in determining the strength and transient response of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, and the ventilation of fluid in the abyssal ocean and poleward heat transport (Thompson and Naviera-Garabato, 2014). Given the crucial role played by standing meanders and related circulations it is now urgent that we understand how these meanders will respond to changing winds and surface buoyancy forcing, at weather and climate time scales.

The significance of this project relates to the role of standing meanders as a focus for changing poleward transports of heat and the how this heat transport could accelerate with changing climate, with consequences for the redistribution of heat within the polar gyres and the future melt of the Antarctic Ice Sheet.  The response time of meanders to changes in surface forcing has widely ranging estimates (eg Armour et al, 2017) and new estimates of response time is a key outcome of this project.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Edward Doddridge

Funding

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 $28,854 per annum (2022 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, applicants will also receive a top-up scholarship of $6,000 per annum for 3.5 years. This scholarship is funded from the Australian Government as part of the Antarctic Science Collaboration Initiative program through the Australian Antarctic Program Partnership (AAPP).

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.

Eligibility

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

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:

  • Strong mathematical background.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills.
  • Programing experience in Python, Matlab, or equivalent.

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Good understanding of dynamical oceanography.
  • Experience working with high performance computing and Unix environments.

Application process

There is a three-step application process:

  1. Select your project, and check you meet the eligibility and selection criteria;
  2. Contact the Primary Supervisor, Dr Edward Doddridge to discuss your suitability and the project's requirements; and
  3. 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 by the advertised outcome date.

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