Dr. Martin Singh - Honours Projects

There is potential for a $7.5k scholarship as the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science has honours scholarships available for students interested in working on climate science projects. These scholarships competitive and award will be based on academic merit, the project area, and your commitment to your program of study.

Mechanisms for the formation of intense tropical thunderstorms

Supervisor: Martin Singh
Field of study: Atmospheric science
Support offered: Potential for honours scholarship through the Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes, no required support for the research itself.

Climate models predict that the energy available to tropical thunderstorms will increase under a future warmer climate. However, the mechanisms that lead to this increase in potential energy, and its implications for tropical thunderstorms remain uncertain. This project will apply observational data from Darwin, NT, to the task of understanding the fundamental mechanisms that lead to intense tropical thunderstorms. A recently proposed theory for the energy available to tropical thunderstorms suggests that the rate of mixing between clouds and their environment is an important factor in determining the potential strength of updrafts within such storms. This project will investigate if evidence for this effect may be found in the observations over Darwin.

For further information contact: Martin Singh

Severe hail in the tropics: how often does it occur?

Supervisor(s): Rob Warren & Martin Singh.
Fields of study: Atmospheric Science

Research into the behaviour of severe local thunderstorms has historically been focused on midlatitude continental regions, particularly the eastern USA, because such regions have the highest density of storm reports. However, analyses of the frequency of occurrence of large-scale environmental conditions conducive to severe storms reveal the potential for substantial severe weather in tropical regions in addition to the midlatitudes. Furthermore, a recent satellite-based study has found that the frequency of severe hail (> 2.5 cm diameter) is as high in some tropical continental regions as in known hotspots for severe weather in the midlatitudes.
In this project, we will examine 16 years of radar observations from Darwin, NT, in order to assess the frequency and distribution of surface hail in a well-observed tropical location. Using the dual polarisation capabilities of the Darwin radar, we will apply and evaluate the effectiveness of hail diagnostics originally developed for midlatitude storms in a tropical context. Furthermore, we will use our results to assess the accuracy of satellite-based estimates of tropical hail frequency. Together these analyses will lead to a greater understanding of the prevalence of hail and severe hail in tropical regions, a topic which has so far received little attention in the literature.
This project involves computational analysis of large data sets, and so strong coding skills, including familiarity with a language such as Python, R, or MATLAB are highly desirable.

For further information contact: Martin Singh

Tropical precipitation extremes in a warming climate

Supervisor(s): Martin Singh & Bethan White.
Fields of study: Atmospheric Science

The heaviest precipitation events (precipitation extremes) are expected to become more intense as the climate warms and the concentration of water vapour in the atmosphere increases. However, the rate at which precipitation extremes will increase remains highly uncertain, particularly in the tropics. Recent studies have suggested that the intensity of precipitation extremes is related to the tendency of thunderstorms to organise into clusters in the tropics. A high degree of organisation results in heavier precipitation rates. It has been suggested that such convective organisation may increase in a warming climate, and this could have important implications for precipitation extremes under anthropogenic climate change.
In this project, we will investigate convective organisation in the tropics in satellite precipitation data and in climate models. By analysing such data sets from an event-based perspective, we will tackle such questions as: is convective organisation increasing in the tropics? Does the intensity of precipitation extremes in climate models depend on how they represent convective organisation? Does the representation of convective organisation in such models change under warming, and how does this relate to projections of tropical precipitation extremes?
This project involves computational analysis of large data sets, and so strong coding skills, including familiarity with a language such as Python, R, or MATLAB are highly desirable.

For further information contact: Martin Singh