Our 2017 Winter Research projects cover a range of meteorology topics.

All projects will be based at UQ's St Lucia campus.

They will be supervised by Hamish McGowan, Professor of Atmospheric Sciences.

How to apply

Applications open on 6 March 2017.

Visit the UQ Winter Research Program website for application details and to hear from previous scholars.

Visualising forest fire from radar data

Project description

This project will involve using Bureau of Meteorology radar datasets from large bushfires around Australia. It will make use of one or more 3D visualisation tool.

Dates and duration

Duration: 6 weeks (20-36 hours per week)

Preferred start date: 26 June 2017

Expected outcomes

The expectation for this project is a proof of concept from a single event using previously collected radar data. A focus of the project is on the ability to communicate meaning from visualisations. A report and end of project meeting are deliverables.

Prerequisites

Some experience with 3D visualisation tools. Experience with Unity, but other game engines are acceptable. In exceptional circumstances, a strong background in Python will be sufficient for initial data exploration.

 

Extreme bushfire weather in Southern and Central Queensland

Project description

Throughout the 2016-2017 bushfire season, severe to extreme fire weather occurred in both central and southern Queensland. This presents a unique risk for public safety, typically being regions that don't regularly experience such conditions.This project will investigate the synoptic and mesoscale meteorological conditions for extreme fire weather in either Southern or Central Queensland. Case studies of fire and fire weather events will be used to look for large scale signals that can be looked for in historical and future climate simulations.

Dates and duration

Duration: 6 weeks (20-36 hours per week)

Preferred start date: 26 June 2017

Expected outcomes

It is expected that this project will begin with basic statistical investigations into the climatology of such extreme fire weather events, and then following on from that, some case study analysis of the prevailing synoptic and local weather conditions. An end of project report and meeting will be delivered to the supervisors.

Prerequisites

A prerequisite for this project is some experience in meteorology and analysis of meteorological data acceptable to project supervisor.

 

Low-level jets and abnormal fire spread

Project description

There has been varied documentation of the occurance of low-level jets throughout Queensland. In the 2016-2017 bushfire season, three fires experienced unexpected overnight behaviour, suspected to be as a reuslt of low level jets over the firegrounds. This project will form a short investigation into the interaction of low level jets and firegrounds in Queensland.

Dates and duration

Duration: 6 weeks (20-36 hours per week)

Preferred start date: 26 June 2017

Expected outcomes

It is expected that this project will deliver, at minimum, two case studies of low-level jets impacting on firegrounds. Initial work will be conducted through observations and fire reports, but there is also opportunity for modelling experience. An end of project report and meeting will be delivered to the supervisors.

Prerequisites

A prerequisite for this project is some experience in meteorology and analysis of meteorological data acceptable to project supervisor.

Bushfire reconstruction methodology

Project description

This projects seeks to refine a simple and repeatable methology for estimating the spread of a small to medium size wildfire. Some fieldwork may be necessary, but the focus will be on seeking the most time effective way to use  weather data, fire reports,and post fire mapping for validating fire spread predictions.

Dates and duration

Duration: 6 weeks (20-36 hours per week)

Preferred start date: 26 June 2017

Expected outcomes

Using one case study, this project will produce a report that can be applied to other events. The methodology should therefore be the focus, and the development of procedures to apply to other examples. An end of project report and meeting will be delivered to the supervisors.

Prerequisites

A prerequisite for this project is some experience in meteorology and analysis of meteorological data acceptable to project supervisor.

Sea breezes and fireground safety

Project description

Sea breezes are normal local meteorological feature of much of Australia, including Queensland. There is specific operational interest in the response of bushfire behaviour to sea breezes. This project will form a short investigation into the interaction of sea breezes and firegrounds in Queensland.

Dates and duration

Duration: 6 weeks (20-36 hours per week)

Preferred start date: 26 June 2017

Expected outcomes

It is expected that this project will deliver, at minimum, two case studies of sea breezes impacting on firegrounds. Initial work will be conducted through observations and fire reports, but there is also opportunity for modelling experience. An end of project report and meeting will be delivered to the supervisors.

Prerequisites

A prerequisite for this project is some experience in meteorology and analysis of meteorological data acceptable to project supervisor.