Modelling cloud-aerosol interaction

Using the cleanest air in the world to improve cloud-aerosol interactions in atmospheric models

Degree type


Closing date

25 September 2023



Citizenship requirement

Domestic / International

About the research project

The project will seek to better understand aerosol-cloud interaction in pristine clouds at Kennaook/Cape Grim using both field campaign data and a regional atmospheric model

Kennaook/Cape Grim, located on the northwest coast of Tasmania, is considered as an excellent location to observe 'baseline' air, i.e. pristine Southern Ocean airmasses (Gras & Keywood, 2017). Such pristine airmasses provide an excellent opportunity to understand atmospheric processes away from the influence of human activity, which can help us understand how our weather and climate is changing.

Climate and weather models still produce large significant Southern Ocean radiation biases that have been attributed to the poor simulation of aerosol-cloud processes in such pristine environments (Fiddes et al., 2022; Mallet et al., 2023). One of the primary reasons for this problem is the limited availability of observations in the area, leading to a lack of understanding of crucial cloud formation processes specific to the Southern Ocean (McFarquhar et al., 2020).

Beginning in April 2024, the Cloud and Precipitation Experiment at Kennaook (Cape-K) campaign will begin, through to September 2025 (Mace et al., 2023). This campaign will be complemented by a comparison voyage of the RV Investigator and a potential flight campaign. These extensive and co-ordinated field campaigns, targeting aerosol-cloud interaction, provide a rare opportunity for processes understanding, model evaluation and development across a range of seasons.

1.What are the microphysical and aerosol properties of different cloud types in pristine Southern Ocean airmasses?
2.Can a high-resolution model represent these microphysical and aerosol properties?
3.Can we improve the representation of these cloud properties by improving the aerosol and cloud microphysics in the model, or with machine learning?
4.What is the seasonal dependence of cloud properties with respect to aerosol sources and can we replicate this in an atmospheric model?

Primary Supervisor

Meet Miss 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 $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:

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

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Experience with coding in python (preferably)
  • Experience handling large climate data in a Unix environment
  • Experience running a climate model
  • Demonstrably strong quantitative skills (mathematics and physics background)
  • Good communication skills (written and oral)

Application process

  1. Select your project, and check that you meet the eligibility and selection criteria, including citizenship;
  2. Contact Miss Sonya Fiddes 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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