Precipitation in Shallow Convection: Comparing the Southern Ocean against the North Atlantic

This PhD project is based at the University of Melbourne with a 12 month stay at University of Manchester.

Project Description:

The best constructions of the Earth’s climate continue to be challenged by large errors in the energy budget over high-latitude oceans, with large biases in precipitation estimates directly contributing to these errors. A poorly represented energy budget not only limits the ability of climate models to simulate future climate in these regions, it also has far-reaching impacts across the globe via key climate processes such as carbon uptake, heat and momentum transport, and air-sea feedback.

The objectives of this PhD project are to (1) quantify the precipitation (including the frequency, intensity and thermodynamic phase) generated from the shallow mesoscale cellular convection (MCC) commonly present over the mid- and high-latitude oceans, and (2) develop a fundamental understanding of key physical processes that underpin the production of precipitation in shallow convection.

The project structure will be to take both existing and emerging remote-sensing observations and aircraft data to develop a precipitation climatology for open and closed MCC over the Southern Ocean and the North Atlantic. Representative cases will be simulated with a convection-permitting model to investigate the meteorology that underlies the evolution of these systems and associated precipitation. Connection between the nature of the MCC and aerosol concentrations will also be explored to elucidate any systematic hemispheric contrast and human impacts.

Ideal PhD candidates must demonstrate a genuine interest in meteorology, strong computing skills and expertise in analysing large datasets. Graduates with a strong academic record (e.g. Honours Class I or equivalent) in Physics, Atmospheric Science, Mathematics, Engineering or an equivalent quantitative discipline are particularly encouraged to apply.

Supervision team:
Dr Yi Huang, Prof Todd Lane, Prof Peter Rayner (The University of Melbourne)
Dr Jonathan Crosier, Dr Paul Connolly, Dr Keith Bower (The University of Manchester)