July 15, 2019 | Published by |


  • Dr Nicky Wright,
  • Assoc Prof Nerilie Abram

Location: ANU or UNSW

Time: Any

Australia is influenced by a number of climate drivers, including El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), and the Southern Annular Mode (SAM).

Recent observations have indicated a positive trend in the SAM and more frequent positive IOD events, both of which are linked to a decrease in rainfall in Australia. But how significant are these current trends? Have such events occurred in Australia before anthropogenic climate change, or are recent extremes unprecedented?

This project will use output from state-of-the-art climate simulations of the Last Millennium (850–2005 CE) to explore the long-term variability of an Australian climate driver of the student’s choice. The student will explore the natural variability of that driver to determine its long-term context, and compare with palaeoclimate reconstructions (proxies) where possible.

Requirements: Some prior programming experience (e.g. Python, Matlab, etc.) or a willingness to learn, and an interest in palaeoclimate.