Robust estimates of Antarctic ice sheet melt

Degree type


Closing date

18 July 2022



Citizenship requirement


About the research project

Ocean-driven Antarctic mass loss is a large source of uncertainty in future sea level rise. To date, there has been no broad-scale comparison and evaluation of mass loss predictions from ocean-ice sheet interaction models. This project will analyse data from a range of circum-Antarctic ocean models, assessing their performance in matching observed ice-shelf melt rates over a range of spatial and temporal scales, with a first focus on the Amery Ice Shelf that has been substantial Australian-based focus of research over the last two decades. This project will contribute to the WCRP-supported Realistic Ice-sheet/Ocean State Estimates (RISE) project.

This PhD project will build on initial data collation and analysis undertaken under RISE by an AAPP postdoc. Beyond simply examining where models agree and disagree, this project will:

  • Incorporate a broader dataset to assess the impact of oceanographic context on model performance
  • Assess whether the models agree in trend and variability of melt and develop new understanding of the sensitivity of melt to ocean forcing.
  • Provide robust evaluation against observational data from both satellite and in situ methods (e.g. autonomous radar)

The candidate will develop skills in data handling, spatial and statistical analysis. A successful completion will improve our ability to assess the models used to predict future sea level rise.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Sue Cook


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.

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:

  • Bachelor of Science with Honours (first class or equivalent) in relevant discipline
  • Demonstrably strong quantitative skills
  • A good level of written and oral science communication skills

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Experience in physical oceanography
  • Experience in spatial analysis, handling large datasets, and statistics

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 Sue Cook 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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