University of New South Wales, Faculty of Built Environment/Climate Change Research Centre

Mesoscale meteorology is particularly important for urban climate analysis – many weather phenomena that directly impact human activities occur at this scale and the effects of urban roughness, heat, pollutant, and moisture on the atmospheric boundary layer have important mesoscale implications. Accordingly, mesoscale modeling is a powerful tool for the analysis of urban climate and further prediction and management of urban heat and pollution.

In mesoscale models, urban climate parameters on timescales of hours to days depend on multiples spatial scales from the street-scale through to synoptic scales. Given contemporary computational resources, however, it is not feasible to resolve building shapes as well as synoptic and mesoscale impacts at the same time. Therefore, mesoscale models must parameterize the subgrid-scale exchanges of momentum, pollutant, moisture, and heat. The proposed PhD project is focused on developing and enhancing such Urban Canopy Parameterizations (UCP) for a more realistic representation of urban neighbourhoods in large-scale modeling.                    

This project will apply state-of-the-art computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations of microscale urban flow such as Large Eddy Simulations (LES) to develop a 1-D multi-layer model of turbulent flow with detailed parameterization regarding the role of geometry, surface heating and material, and vegetation. In particular, the student will aim to analyze and formulate the overall exchange of heat, momentum, and scalar within the building canopy and to the atmosphere above, which can be further used to inform a range of mesoscale models as well as resistance (single-layer) models of the urban canopy.

The project will be based at the Faculty of Built Environment joint with the Climate Change Research Centre (CCRC) at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), Australia, under the supervision of Dr. Negin Nazarian, Associate Professor Melissa Hart, and Professor Andrew Pitman.

The successful candidate will become part of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes, an international research consortium of five Australian universities (University of New South Wales, Monash University, University of Melbourne, University of Tasmania and Australian National University) and a suite of outstanding national and international partner organizations. The Centre provides excellent opportunities for travel and graduate student development.

We are looking for expressions of interest from outstanding graduates with a strong academic record including Honours Class I or equivalent. Graduates with a strong background in Fluid Dynamics, Atmospheric Science, Boundary-Layer Meteorology, Physics, Engineering or similar quantitative sciences are particularly encouraged to apply. Programming experience with Python and Fortran is desirable.

Expressions of interest including a CV, full academic transcript, and the names of up to three academic referees should be sent to Dr. Negin Nazarian (

Note: this is not an official application, if your expression of interest is accepted, we will guide you through the application process.