Up to two prestigious Scientia PhD scholarships are available at the Climate Change Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, for the following project:


Climate Change: Polar amplification and impacts during the 21st century


Each awardee will receive a stipend for 4 years ($40,000 per annum), a tuition fee waiver for 4 years and a travel/support package of up to $10,000 per annum. Furthermore, professional and career development will be provided throughout their candidature.


Project Description

Past changes in temperature were consistently stronger toward the poles than at lower latitudes.  Climate projections for the 21st century show this too. This would enhance the potential destabilization of Antarctic ice sheets, melting of permafrost, and changes to storm track dynamics and extreme weather in mid-latitudes.

The polar amplification predicted by current climate models is too weak when compared to geologic records of warmer climate periods, implying gaps in our understanding of important processes in the climate system.  This could mean we are underestimating future climate impacts.

This project will quantify the role of potential processes by analyzing atmospheric and oceanic heat transports, changes in local radiation balance through changes in e.g. polar clouds, ocean-ice shelf interactions, and biogeochemical feedbacks.  It will span timescales from those of the geologic past to future projections.

The project therefore employs the “past-to-future” paradigm in which we make better use of the information from Earth’s past to tell us things about a future warmer Earth that are not yet confidently predictable by models.  In doing so this work will help to test and improve models used worldwide to make climate projections for the 21st century. The outcomes of this project will also inform policy makers and the public of currently uncertain global risks associated with future climate change linked to human emissions.



We seek students with a strong background in physics, chemistry or other STEM fields to attack this problem. A high GPA (or equivalent) is required and students with research experience will be given priority.



Interested applicants must apply online on or before 21 July 2017 (Sydney time) at:


In addition, applicants should contact the supervisory team, A/Prof Katrin Meissner (k.meissner@unsw.edu.au), Prof Steven Sherwood and Dr Alex Sen Gupta, with an email containing a CV, a brief statement of research interests, and a copy of their academic transcripts.

Up to two suitable applicants for this project will then be invited to complete a formal Scientia PhD application together with the supervisory team for submission to the Scientia selection process.