December 2017
Message 20

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[Met-jobs] PhD opportunity- Investigating uncertainties in the attribution of heatwaves

To "" <>
Cc Sarah Kirkpatrick <>
Date Fri, 8 Dec 2017 00:34:41 +0000


PhD opportunity
ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes
UNSW Sydney, Australia
“Investigating uncertainties in the attribution of heatwaves”

Heatwaves are Australia’s deadliest natural disaster. As human influence on the climate continues to increase, climate models project that the frequency, intensity and duration of heatwaves will also increase. In recent years, methods that ascertain the human contribution behind a specific extreme event, such as a heatwave, have become very popular. The employment of these methods, which are heavily based on physical climate models, result in a statement of how the likelihood of the event in question has altered due to anthropogenic forcing on the climate. However, the latest research suggests that underpinning sources of uncertainty may not be appropriately quantified, which therefore affects the quality and integrity of these attribution claims.

This PhD will examine particular sources of uncertainty behind the attribution of heatwaves, which includes but is not limited to climate model resolution, the simulation of appropriate physical mechanisms, statistical and statistical model uncertainty, and the implicit use of natural and anthropogenic forcings within a given climate model. Through the innovative application of various statistical methods to climate model data, this research will be at the forefront of the rapidly growing global field of the detection and attribution of climate extremes.

The project will be based at the Climate Change Research Centre (CCRC) at UNSW Australia. It will be jointly supervised by Dr Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick of the CCRC, and Prof Scott Sisson of the School of Mathematics and Statistics. 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 (The University of New South Wales, Monash University, The University of
Melbourne, The University of Tasmania and The 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 outstanding graduates with a strong academic record including an Honours Class I or equivalent. Graduates with a strong background in statistics, mathematics, physics, mathematics, climate or atmospheric science, or similar quantitative sciences are welcome. A demonstrated track record in both statistics and climate science is desirable but not essential. Programming experience with Matlab, Python, R or a similar language is also desirable.

Informal enquiries may be directed to Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick ( A CV, full academic transcript, and the names of up to three academic referees should be sent to by the closing date of January 8, 2018 (for international applicants) and March 30, 2018 (for domestic applicants).

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

Dr. Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick


Climate Change Research Centre, UNSW 

Twitter: @sarahinscience


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