Joint PhD: Mapping large scale ESM response characteristics and their inherent “reproducibility” with emulators - or limitations

Joint PhD: Mapping large scale ESM response characteristics and their inherent “reproducibility” with emulators - or limitations

This PhD project will examine the strengths and weaknesses of so-called emulators of climate models. Such emulators are being developed to obtain additional information on the future evolution of the climate system that go beyond the direct output of complex, large-scale Earth System Models (ESMs). Through the use of emulators, the ESM results can for example be bias corrected, can be examined for underlying dominating processes and can be interpolated to future forcing scenarios that were not simulated by the ESM itself.

Despite the growing use of emulators in climate research, their robustness is currently not clear. In this project, we aim for a systematic analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of ESM emulators to guide their use in future research and policy design, for example.

This project will exploit the existence of very large ensembles from individual ESMs, such as the CESM large ensemble or the MPI Grand Ensemble. In these ensembles, the same climate model was run tens of times for identical external forcing conditions. The individual simulations thus only differ because of the, often substantial, impact of chaotic internal climate variability. We will use information based on a subset of these simulations, and examine how well an emulator can simulate the full range of simulation trajectories given by the full ensemble. Additionally, we will examine in as how much an emulator based on a single given scenario of future emission pathways can emulate simulations based on other scenarios. A third topic we will cover will be the possibility to use emulator results to assist in the tuning of complex ESMs.

We expect the results of this project to provide insights that allow both a better understanding of the climate system of the Earth, and a more robust design of future modelling activities with ESMs.

If successful, the PhD candidate will be enrolled at both the University of Melbourne and Universität Hamburg. The candidate will be co-supervised by supervisors at both institutions, will be based at the University of Melbourne and will spend at least twelve months at Universität Hamburg. 

The application process is competitive, with higher than the equivalent of a University of Melbourne 80% in a relevant degree expected. Information on the University of Melbourne entry requirements can be seen here, and Universität Hamburg requirements can be viewed here

The successful applicant will be enrolled in the Faculty of Science at the University of Melbourne. They will be part of the Australian-German Climate and Energy College, the University of Melbourne, and a member in the ‘School of Integrated Climate and Earth System Sciences (SICCS)’the Center for Earth System Research and Sustainability (CEN), Universität Hamburg. SICSS is a graduate school originating from the Cluster of Excellence on Integrated Climate System Analysis and Prediction (CliSAP, 2007-2018). SICSS is now part of the newly installed Cluster of Excellence CLICCS (2019-2025). SICSS offers education, guidance and supervision from leading experts in integrated climate science. Universität Hamburg and its partners provide a wide-ranging research infrastructure in climate science and an international campus atmosphere with students and lecturers from all over the world. 

The candidate's scholarship will include a 100% fee remission scholarship, a living allowance for three years with a possible 6-month extension, and funding for travel.

Application Deadline: Monday 21 October. 
  • A/Prof Malte Meinshausen is Deputy Academic Convenor of the College at The University of Melbourne since 2012 and is affiliated with the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Germany. He...
  • Dirk Notz is a Professor for sea-ice research at the University of Hamburg and Head of the Research Group "Sea ice in the Earth system" at Max Planck Institute for Meteorology. His research interests...
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