PhD Project: Wake interference by swimming crocodiles

Crocodiles, including the saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) have the remarkable ability to swim underwater at high speed while barely making a ripple at the surface. It has been hypothesized that crocodiles are able to do this because the bony ridges on the crocodile’s back (called scutes or osteoderms) produce destructively interfering wake patterns at the water surface, like noise-cancelling headphones. Understanding and replicating this phenomena could have important implications for submarine and ship hull design.

In this project, we will evaluate this hypothesis using a combination of theory, numerical modelling, and laboratory experiments using 3D-printed crocodile models in a wave flume. Experience with Python programming is essential. This project will be co-supervised by Dr Geoff Vasil (U. Sydney), Dr Chris Lustri (Macquarie) and Dr Shane Keating (UNSW).

Click here for key dates and to submit your application online.

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 (http://swot.jpl.nasa.gov), 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.

PhD Project: Observation Impact Assessment using Data Assimilation

Quantifying the impact of new high-resolution ocean observations – such as autonomous gliders, coastal radar, or satellite imagery – is critical for the efficient deployment of observing infrastructure. In this project, we will quantify how particular observing platforms contribute to ocean state estimates, allowing us to determine the most effective locations and parameters to observe, e.g targeting extremely expensive ship-based sampling vs agile autonomous glider measurements to areas where they will add most value.

Data Assimilation (DA) is a powerful tool used to combine observations with a numerical model to produce a “best estimate” of the ocean state. We will perform a series of DA experiments to test the sensitivity of the estimated ocean state to various observation platforms. The results of this project will assist in guiding the types and location of observations that will best improve the model forecasts at the least cost. This project will be co-supervised by Dr Colette Kerry (UNSW), Prof Brian Powell (U. Hawaii), Prof Moninya Roughan (UNSW), and Dr Shane Keating (UNSW).

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.