Heat transport in the Denman region

Cross-shelf heat transport in the Denman region of Antarctica: pathways, processes, and impacts

Degree type


Closing date

18 July 2022



Citizenship requirement


About the research project

Glaciers in the Denman region have been melting rapidly over the last few decades. The melting is believed to be driven by the transport of warm Circumpolar Deep Water onto the shelf and toward the glaciers. The Antarctic Slope Current (ASC) and associated strong lateral density gradient pose a barrier to the heat transport in this region. The heat transport across the barrier is accomplished by eddies, tides, and the variability of the ASC. The efficiency of these processes at transporting heat and the associated heat pathways are expected to be sensitive to details of bathymetry in this region (e.g., continental slope, canyons, abyssal hills) which are poorly known from direct soundings. Bathymetry products available for this region, mainly based on satellite measurements and various inversion techniques, show significant differences at a range of scales across various bathymetry products. Processes and pathways for the heat transport and how they are controlled by bathymetry remain to be investigated.

This project will address some of the gaps in our understanding of the processes that regulate the heat transfer from the deep ocean to the continental shelf in the Denman region. A suite of perturbation experiments with a novel high-resolution regional model will be used to quantify the cross-shelf heat transport and heat pathways. Specifically, the project aims to:

  • Identify and understand the pathways of heat from the open ocean onto the shelf, and then toward glaciers
  • Identify, understand, and quantify processes responsible for this heat transport, e.g., tides, eddies, dense water export, forcing
  • Understand the controlling role of bathymetry. Specifically, which topographic scales and features affect the heat transport and via which processes

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Maxim Nikurashin


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.

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).

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:

  • Strong physical and mathematical background
  • Strong oral and written communication skills
  • High-level programming experience in Matlab, Python or equivalent
  • Good understanding of dynamical oceanography

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Experience working in a Unix environment
  • Experience working in a high performance computing environment
  • Ability to produce high quality graphics to illustrate results

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 Maxim Nikurashin 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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