Southern Ocean aerosol and clouds

Environmental drivers and properties of Southern Ocean aerosol and cloud formation

Degree type


Closing date

25 September 2023



Citizenship requirement

Domestic / International

About the research project

This project will focus on understanding the formation of aerosol and cloud over the Southern Ocean, and their role in the region's energy balance and precipitation. Most aerosol over the Southern Ocean are formed from breaking waves or emissions from marine microorganisms. Cloud droplets and ice crystals form around these aerosol particles. Most current generation climate models struggle to simulate aerosol and cloud properties accurately in the region. This has significant consequences for our understanding of current and future climate not just over the Southern Ocean, but globally as well. Because of this, the biological, chemical, and physical processes that govern aerosol and cloud formation over the Southern Ocean are of significant interest to the international community (Mallet et al., 2023).

A variety of approaches are needed to tackle the problem. These approaches include 1) collecting and analysing surface observations of aerosols, clouds, precipitation and radiation collected from ships and land stations; 2) performing sensitivity tests and evaluation of regional and global climate model simulations; 3) analysing and evaluating remote sensing observations from satellite platforms of cloud properties; and 4) using machine learning with inputs from a variety of surface and satellite observations as well as climate models and reanalyses to better understand physical processes and make improved predictions. This project has the flexibility to focus on one or several of these approaches depending on the skills and interests of the candidate.

The outcome of this project will be an improved understanding of the drivers and processes that govern Southern Ocean aerosol and cloud formation and their role in climate, with opportunities to translate this knowledge into climate models improvements.

Mallet, Marc D., et al. "Untangling the influence of Antarctic and Southern Ocean life on clouds." Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene 11.1 (2023).

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Marc Mallet


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.

Additional funding

This project has been approved as an AAPP project. If successful, the applicant 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).

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 by research degree in any quantitative field (e.g. data science, atmospheric or climate science, mathematics, physics, chemistry, environmental science).

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Experience with machine learning or artificial intelligence
  • Experience with unix environments and version control
  • Experience processing and exploring large and diverse data
  • Experience with laboratory or field work

Application process

  1. Select your project, and check that you meet the eligibility and selection criteria, including citizenship;
  2. Contact Dr Marc Mallet 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.

Apply now Explore other projects

Why the University of Tasmania?

Worldwide reputation for research excellence

Quality supervision and support

Tasmania offers a unique study lifestyle experience