Downscaling of Australian marine climate

Dynamical downscaling of near-shore marine climate, extremes, and biogeochemistry around Australia

Degree type


Closing date

18 July 2022



Citizenship requirement


About the research project

As with most of planet Earth, ocean temperatures around Australia have been increasing under global warming. Associated with this ocean warming, the intensity, duration, and frequency of marine heatwaves – periods of prolonged, warm ocean temperature extremes – have also increased (Oliver et al., 2018). Much effort has focussed on understanding changes in the average state of the offshore warming and their forcing mechanisms (e.g., Cai et al. 2005, Cai 2006, Sun et al. 2012, Oliver and Holbrook 2014). However, comprehensive investigations of the coastal effects of this warming, and how this affects ocean temperature extremes, have been limited due to the paucity of coastal oceanographic observations and the absence of high-resolution model data across the continental shelf. In particular, understanding the impact of global warming on coastal marine heatwaves is of great importance.

High-resolution predictions of ocean variability on Australia's continental shelf are essential for characterising how the complex near-coastal marine climate (e.g., circulation, temperature, salinity) and ecology will change in the coming decades.  Existing observations are too sparse in time and space to adequately characterise the relevant coastal oceanographic processes. Some regions (e.g. the coasts of South Australia, New South Wales, and the Great Barrier Reef) have employed high-resolution regional models to address this limitation through dynamical downscaling, but for other regions such downscaling or regional modelling is lacking.

This project will aim to:

  • Develop a high-resolution model to enable the dynamical downscaling of coarser resolution model output to continental shelf and coastal regions around Australia
  • Examine historical climate model simulations to understand the processes and mechanism driving ocean climate extremes
  • Explore possible climate futures for coastal and near-shore regions around Australia

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Jules Kajtar


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, 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.


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:

  • First Class Honours (or equivalent) or Masters degree in physical oceanography, atmospheric science, physics or mathematics

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Experience with coding in MATLAB or python
  • Experience handling climate data in a Unix environment
  • Demonstrably strong quantitative skills (mathematics and physics background)

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 Jules Kajtar 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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