Applications are invited for a high-level PhD scholarship to work on a project investigating poorly understood physics related to the dynamics of the Southern Ocean circulation and its role in the climate system, in particular the magnitude, distribution, and mechanisms of mixing by horizontal eddy motions at length scales of less than 100 kilometres. An understanding of eddy mixing mechanisms and how to represent them in coarse resolution ocean and climate models are presently acute weaknesses in our understanding of ocean dynamics and our representations of ocean physics in ocean and climate system models.
The aims of the study are 1. to develop a process-based understanding of eddy mixing focussing on eddy mixing in association with jet-topography interactions through a combined theoretical and observational approach, and 2. to implement this understanding by assessing and potentially improving the representation of these effects in state-of-the-art climate models. The project will involve the design and implementation of experiments with a numerical model of the interaction of an idealised Southern Ocean circulation with topography, and the analysis of a variety of observations of Southern Ocean circulation to motivate these experiments and test the relevance of the understanding derived from them. There is the opportunity to apply this understanding to the task of climate model evaluation and improvement through an evaluation of the physics under investigation in a state-of-the-art climate model.
The PhD scholarship is tenable for a period of 3 years + 6 months extension (if granted), with the successful candidate able to shape a project to match their background, interests and expertise. Applicants should have a strong academic track record including an upper-level Honours Class I or equivalent. Honours graduates with a strong academic track record in physics and/or mathematics are particularly encouraged to apply. International students are also encouraged but must additionally apply for a UNSW International Research Scholarship, the deadline for which is 31 August 2012. Successful applicants who obtain an APA scholarship in either the current or future rounds may be awarded a top-up award with additional funds then available for project and travel support.
Further details of the CCRC, its research activities and staff can be viewed at www.ccrc.unsw.edu.au.