PhD Project: Observation Impact Assessment of Future High-resolution Observations

Observing System Simulation Experiments (OSSEs) are a recent innovation in ocean modelling, adapted from meteorology, that use synthetic ocean observations to inform future observational strategies, e.g an artificial temperature record from a ‘toy’ glider, or sea-surface height observations from a future satellite. By assimilating these synthetic observations into a numerical model, we will investigate how well the data-stream improves the model estimates, thus guiding future observing strategies.

In this project, we will perform OSSEs to provide valuable support for the next generation of high-res ocean observing systems, both in Australia (through IMOS) and Internationally. An international example is NASA’s Surface Water Ocean Topography (SWOT) mission (, a ground-breaking future satellite to be launched in 2021. SWOT will use pioneering wide-swath radar interferometry to measure ocean features as small as 2km — more than ten times the resolution of current technologies. By comparing simulated SWOT observations with the model “truth”, we will establish a valuable baseline for calibration and validation of real SWOT data once it is launched in 2021. This project will be co-supervised by Dr Shane Keating (UNSW), Moninya Roughan (UNSW), Dr Colette Kerry (UNSW) and Dr Patrice Klein (NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory).

This projects is part of an ARC-funded research grant to develop an end-to-end ocean weather information system. Applicants require a research B.Sc. (Hons) or research Masters degree preferably in physics, mathematics, oceanography or quantitative Marine Science. Candidates are expected to apply for a Domestic Research Scholarship (Australian residents) or International Research Scholarship (non-residents). Successful applicants will be eligible for an additional top-up scholarship of $5000+ per annum for cost-of-living expenses. See here for online applications and key dates.

Applications close 12 October for commencement in 2019.