Dr. Shayne McGregor - Honours Projects

Assessing the initiation of El Nino events

Supervisor: Shayne McGregor

El Nino events have dramatic impacts on climate and extreme weather around the globe, including floods, droughts and tropical cyclone formation and landfall. While many institutions around the globe offer routine forecasts of these events, the events continue to surprise the experts and defy forecasts. This is despite the improvement in our understanding, numerical models and observations of the tropical Pacific region. This apparent unpredictability is largely thought to stem from the stochastic nature of the event initiation. This study will use a cluster analysis technique to identify the spatial characteristics and synoptic scale phenomena of these stochastic events.

For further information contact: Shayne McGregor

How many observations are enough?

Supervisor: Shayne McGregor

Successfully forecasting climate phenomena, like the El Nino-Southern Oscillation, has valuable benefits for society and agriculture in many regions around the globe. Forming the foundation of forecasts of El Nino events are observations of the current state of the tropical Pacific Ocean. These are required to accurately initiate the numerical forecast models. However, observations are expensive and the moored buoys of the tropical Pacific observing system were one of the first things neglected during the US budget crisis of 2014. This neglect resulted in data only being collected from 40% of the 55 tropical Pacific moored buoys. This raises the question, how many moored buoys are needed to accurately observe key quantities required to understand and predict El Nino events. These questions and more will be investigated using high resolution numerical model output as part of this honours project.

For further information contact: Shayne McGregor