Heatwaves in the ocean can cause severe damage to marine ecosystems, such as large-scale coral bleaching. While marine heatwaves occur all over the ocean and are becoming more frequent with global warming, scientists are only now at the forefront of understanding these extreme temperature events. 

What Students will do

In this project, students will learn the fundamentals of marine heatwaves and use real satellite data and statistics to identify the temporal and spatial distribution of these extreme temperature events over the last 40 years, analyse the physical mechanisms driving these events and investigate their impact on marine ecosystems. This project will provide students with experience in coding with python and statistical analysis which are highly desirable skills for careers in big data. 


  • Physics
  • Earth & Environmental Science
  • Investigating Science 

Areas of Student Interest

  • Climate
  • Weather
  • Oceans
  • Atmosphere
  • Maths
  • Statistics 


Lead Academic: Dr Angela Maharaj - Lecturer, Climate Change Research Centre

Angela Maharaj

Angela is a lecturer in the Climate Change Research Centre at UNSW and Associate Investigator with the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science (ARCCSS). Her research is in understanding  the role of the ocean in climate variability particularly through satellite oceanography. Angela studies interannual to decadal scale processes which dominate climate variability with a strong focus on the Indo-Pacific and the role of the ocean.Angela also has interest in learning and teaching and knowledge transfer from the tertiary to secondary education sector, particularly with regards to promoting numerical literacy and physical sciences.


PhD Student: Annette Stellema 

Annette Stellema

Annette is a PhD student at the Climate Change Research Centre, UNSW. Her research involves developing Lagrangianphysical and biogeochemical models to understand future changes to water transport, Iron and Oxygen in the equatorial Pacific Ocean. Her previous work investigated how and why South Indian Ocean circulation is projected to change in a future of increasing greenhouse gas emissions using an ensemble of coupled climate models. She obtained a Bachelor of Science majoring in Physics and Physical Oceanography, with honours in Climate Science, at the University of New South Wales.