Eastern Australia has experienced its 4th major flood in 18 months. While the dynamics between these weather events can vary, one thing they all have in common is strong atmospheric water vapour transport over the east coast contributing to prolonged rainfall. Narrow regions of strong water vapour transport in the atmosphere are called Atmospheric Rivers and research indicates that these weather systems are likely to occur more frequently over the globe with a warming climate. While the total frequency may increase, there will likely be regional differences such that some locations may actually experience a decrease in extreme rainfall. Recent CLEX research found that days with high atmospheric water vapour transport over Sydney may become 80% more likely by the end of the 21st Century.

The aim of this project is to quantify trends in atmospheric water vapour transport over the east coast of Australia in order to help us understand how rainfall patterns may change in the future. The student will start by examining the historical trends in water vapour transport over the east coast. If time permits this may be extended to evaluating the representation of water vapour transport over the east coast in the latest generation of climate models in order to then examine future climate projections.

Experience with atmospheric sciences is ideal but candidates with maths, physics and computer science backgrounds are also encouraged to apply.

Candidates should have completed at least one second year undergraduate maths subject (e.g. vector calculus, differential equations, probability and statistics).

Previous experience with programming is desirable (e.g. Python, Matlab, R), but will accept people who are willing to learn.

To apply: the Undergraduate Scholarship application form can be found here.


Kimberley Reid, Monash University

Prof. Julie Arblaster, Monash University

This project will be based at Monash University.

Some background reading: