School of Earth, Atmosphere and Life Sciences,
University of Wollongong, Australia

PhD Opportunity - Climate extremes recorded in playa lakes across continental Australia

Applications are invited for a fully funded PhD available at the University of Wollongong, Australia in collaboration with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI).

Australia exhibits extreme climate variability with droughts and floods characterising the modern climate. The Australian Research Council (ARC) is funding research into climate extremes across continental Australia using terrestrial archives. We are seeking an outstanding graduate with a strong academic record including an Honours Class I or Masters by Research that will investigate climate extremes and lake responses over the instrumental record. The project will focus on the observational record and satellite era to quantify lake responses to extreme wet and dry intervals. This will advance the understanding of lake and landscape responses to atmospheric and oceanic drivers whilst also producing a water balance analysis for key lakes around continental Australia. This is an opportunity to join a research program that will reconstruct climate extremes from terrestrial records over the last millennia (ARC Future Fellowship - A/Prof Tim Cohen) in conjunction with global climate modelling.

You will work as part of a team with geomorphologists, Quaternary scientists and climatologists and you will also participate in an exchange with WHOI co-supervisor Dr Caroline Ummenhofer. Participation in the field component will be encouraged and the successful applicant will be eligible for professional training and support for conference travel.


Applicants must hold a first class honours degree or a MSc and/or publications and have a strong background in climatology, hydrology, spatial sciences, or climate modelling. Interested applicants should send a 1 -2 page cover letter as an expression of interest, outlining their academic background, their skillset and their interest in climate extremes, along with an attached CV and suggested referees. Once shortlisted we will arrange for a phone or teleconference interview.

Applications are due by the 3rd April 2020. Commencement must be by July 2020. Send to Tim Cohen


Significant project funding has been committed to this project and the position will be hosted within the ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage (CABAH). Learn more about CABAH at:

Scholarship funding is in the form of a 3-year scholarship with a minimum stipend of $27,082 AUD (tax-free) per year and includes student tuition fees, research-related expenses and research equipment.

Supervision Team

  • University of Wollongong supervisors: A/Prof Tim Cohen and A/Prof Helen McGregor
  • Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) supervisor: Dr Caroline Ummenhofer

For more information, please contact Tim Cohen at:

posted: 05 March 2020     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.