Member Profile

Yohanna Villalobos Cortes

PhD Student

The University of Melbourne


Yohanna Villalobos Cortes comes from Antofagasta city, Chile, one of the driest regions in the world, called "La Perla del Norte". Yohanna completed her bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering with honors in 2012 at Universidad Catolica del Norte in Antofagasta, Chile. In 2016, she was awarded by the National Commission for Scientific and Technological Research (CONICYT-Chile) scholarship to pursue her studies as PhD student in Science at Melbourne University, Australia. Currently, she is under the supervision of Peter Rayner and Jeremy Silver working on the estimation of surface fluxes of CO2 in Australian continent using the assimilation of satellite data through an inverse modelling system.

THESIS: Regional Inverse Modeling for the Estimation of CO2 fluxes in Australia using satellite observations from the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2)

Yohanna's project focuses on the estimation of CO2 surface fluxes over the Australian continent using the assimilation of satellite data. In her investigation she uses a Bayesian variational assimilation technique employing the Community Multi-scale Air Quality Modeling System (CMAQ) and its adjoint. Along with her colleagues, she is working towards a better quantification of the Australian Carbon fluxes with less uncertainty and a better understanding of how the Australian carbon cycle responded to the El niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO). It is well known that climate extremes associated with ENSO modulate strongly terrestrial carbon fluxes and recent studies suggest that semiarid ecosystems such as Australia may be particularly sensitive. Understanding how the carbon cycle behaves in taking up CO2 emissions will improve the predictability of future climate.