Quantifying Global Water Cycle Change using Ocean Observations

Global rates of rainfall and evaporation are amplifying rapidly as a consequence of global warming. Recent studies have suggested that this ‘water cycle’ could be amplifying faster than global climate models had predicted. More accurate quantification of water cycle change and its causes is urgently needed. Changes in the water cycle leave an imprint on the ocean by changing ocean salinity. The candidate will quantify water cycle change based on new observations of ocean salinity and using novel methods developed by the supervisory team. These findings will help improve predictions of water cycle change that are relied upon by society.

This project is supervised by Dr Jan Zika (UNSW Sydney). Please contact j.zika@unsw.edu.au for more information.

Submit your application by Oct 26 2018 for commencement in Term 1, 2019.

Ocean current velocimetry from ultra-high resolution satellite imagery

Particle image velocimetry (PIV) is a widely used technique for measuring flow velocities by tracking features in sequential images.

In this project, we will test the feasibility of using PIV to estimate ocean currents at the surface of the ocean from satellite images of sea-surface temperature. Knowledge of satellite remote sensing and ocean dynamics is not required, but strong computational ability in Matlab or Python is a must.

This project is supervised by Dr Shane Keating (UNSW Sydney). Please contact s.keating@unsw.edu.au for more information.

Submit your application by Oct 26 2018 for commencement in Term 1, 2019.

Fluid transport by vortex ring entrainment

Vortices are rotating bodies of fluid that remain coherent for long periods, and are frequently observed in the atmosphere, ocean, and in laboratory experiments. Observations and simulations of vortices indicate that they are important for transporting properties such as heat, biological material, or pollutants over large distances.

While some fluid is transported by the core of the vortex, there is also transport due to ambient fluid that is captured or “entrained” within the outer ring and then travels with the vortex as it propagates. In this project, we will examine transport by entrainment of fluid in the vortex ring, or of multiple vortex rings. Experience with Python is required.

This project is supervised by Dr Shane Keating (UNSW Sydney). Please contact s.keating@unsw.edu.au for more information.

Submit your application by Oct 26 2018 for commencement in Term 1, 2019.

Fluid dynamics of peloton formation

In competitive cycling, a “peloton” is a group of riders that travels together in formation in order to reduce drag and save energy. The shape of the peloton will change depending on headwind and sidewind and the strategy of individual riders or teams of riders.

In this project, we will study the fluid dynamics of cycling pelotons and investigate how collective behavior of cyclists can lead to peloton formation under different scenarios. No fluid dynamics knowledge is required, but Python programming experience is essential.

This project is jointly supervised by Dr Shane Keating (UNSW Sydney) and Dr Geoff Vasil (U. Sydney). Please contact s.keating@unsw.edu.au for more information.

Submit your application by Oct 26 2018 for commencement in Term 1, 2019.

Summer research opportunities

A number of Mathematics for Planet Earth related projects are available for summer research schemes with UNSW’s School of Maths and Stats and the Climate Extremes ARC Centre of Excellence.

These are great opportunities for domestic and international researchers to get a taste of research. Typically they are ideal for students with strong mathematical backgrounds (maths, physics, engineering majors etc) to get exposed to planet earth related topics.

The following projects are specifically proposed by Mathematics for Planet Earth contributors:

Mathematics and Statistics

Project Title: Distilling the ocean’s role in climate using phase diagrams. Supervisor(s):  Dr Jan Zika

Project Title: Lagrangian pathways and the asymmetry of the ocean’s thermohaline circulation Supervisor(s):  Dr Jan Zika

Project Title: How important are two different options for calculating specific volume in the ocean? Supervisor(s): Prof Trevor McDougall

Climate Extremes

Project Title: Pushing the ocean to extremes. Supervisor(s):  Drs Ryan Holmes and Jan Zika

Project Title: Why does the ocean look like an octopus. Supervisor(s):  Drs Jan Zika and Ryan Holmes

For complete lists of projects and details on how to apply see:

https://www.scholarships.unsw.edu.au/science-vacation-research-scholarship-ugvc1056-20182019-research-projects

https://climateextremes.org.au/2018-2019-summer-scholarships/