July 19, 2019 | Published by |

Supervisors

  • Dr Giovanni Di Virgilio (UNSW)
  • Dr Annette Hirsch (ANU)

Heatwaves are periods of excessively hot weather, which when severe have caused crop failures, power outages and result in more deaths in Australia than any other natural hazard. If global temperatures continue to rise as predicted, heatwaves will become more frequent, intense and last longer.

Global climate models (GCMs) produce climate projections that are used by governments and businesses to plan for a future climate conducive to more extreme heatwaves, however, the coarse spatial resolution of GCMs cannot resolve the fine-scale drivers of regional climate, which is the scale where climate adaptation decisions are made.

Regional climate models (RCMs) generate high-resolution projections by dynamically downscaling GCM outputs. However, evidence of where and when RCMs provide improved information about both historical and projected heatwaves relative to driving GCMs is lacking.

This project aims to discover where and when RCMs improve (or not) on the simulation of Australian heatwaves, relative to their host GCMs.

Understanding this is vital to adaptation planning for extreme weather like heatwaves. Experience of programming in Python or similar for data analysis is essential; familiarity with high-performance computing is desirable.