Home » Case Studies » Managing Climate Variability: PhD Intern Uncovers Riverflow Trends


When the Bureau of Meteorology set out to advance Australia’s understanding of climate change, it brought on PhD expertise in a first-of-its-kind research project.

Utilising the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute’s national PhD internship program, APR.Intern, the Bureau was matched with the skillset of Jie Jian, a PhD student from the University of Melbourne.

Specialised in hydrological modelling, supercomputing and large data, Jie was able to provide the skills needed to study changes in river flows over the last decades for the Bureau of Meteorology Atmospheric high-resolution Regional Reanalysis for Australia (BARRA) project. BARRA reproduces the Australian weather over the past 29 years and this enables studies of its impact in river catchments where had not been monitored in the past.

Over the five-month internship, Jie’s research accelerated the Bureau’s investigation into  river flows across the country. In turn, providing valuable new climate data for Australia’s research community and water managers to act on.

“BARRA’s dataset provides a greater understanding of the Australian present climate, allowing for better planning and management to reduce future risk,” said Dr Chun-Hsu Su, Bureau of Meteorology Research Scientist and Jie’s Industry Supervisor.

“Jie’s results are valuable for informing the next phase of re-analysis and highlight the potential for BARRA to improve the Bureau’s collection of key climate datasets,”


Dr Peter Steinle, Bureau of Meteorology Team Leader in Data Assimilation

The internship was also an opportunity for Jie to work with talented researchers and see the transferability of PhD skills.

“During my time at the Bureau, I was able to build long-term relationships and gain invaluable experience working in teams. As well as working with cutting-edge climate data and tools, I gained a deeper understanding of the role government agencies play in Australia,” 


Jie Jian, former PhD Intern at the Bureau of Meteorology 

To-date, the Bureau has engaged with nine PhD interns in its mission to remain at the forefront of Australian weather services.


This internship was supported by the Australian Government Department of Education, through the ‘Supporting more women in STEM careers: Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute (AMSI) – National Research Internship Program’.