A farmer saves a sheep from a dried out dam. In case you were wondering, yes, the sheep survived. Picture: Jasper Wilde (Unsplash)


  • Dr. Sanaa Hobeichi ( s.hobeichi@unsw.edu.au )
  • Dr. Gab Abramowitz ( gabriel@unsw.edu.au )

Location: The Climate Change Research Centre – University of New South Wales, Sydney.

The Millennium drought devastated much of Southern Australia during 1996-2010 and altered the water and energy cycles on the land surface. These cycles play an important role in influencing the climate and determining how the drought impacts are felt on land by humans and ecosystems (Yin et al., 2014). This project will explore changes in two key energy and water variables during the Millennium drought: latent heat flux (LH) and sensible heat flux (SH). These variables help us understand the drought impacts on the land and have been measured by flux towers in different regions over Australia, together with net radiation and ground heat flux.

In this project, you will learn more about the effects of the Millennium drought on the surface energy budget, particularly on the ratio of sensible heat flux to latent heat flux (i.e. SH/LH). You will use measurements taken during the drought period (2000 – 2010) and after the drought period, from both impacted and non-impacted sites to guide analysis and conclusions. The flux measurements will also be used to evaluate the ability of gridded estimates of sensible and latent heat fluxes (e.g. FLUXCOM; Jung et al., 2018) – which are based on satellite observations rather than direct measurements – to capture this drought event.


Jung, M., Koirala, S., Weber, U., Ichii, K., Gans, F., Gustau-Camps-Valls, Papale, D., Schwalm, C., Tramontana, G. and Reichstein, M.: The FLUXCOM ensemble of global land-atmosphere energy fluxes, , 1–14, doi:10.1038/s41597-019-0076-8, 2018.

Yin, D., Roderick, M. L., Leech, G., Sun, F. and Huang, Y.: The contribution of reduction in evaporative cooling to higher surface air temperatures during drought, Geophys. Res. Lett., 41(22), 7891–7897, doi:10.1002/2014GL062039, 2014.