Current group members

MetSoc conference, Dunedin, 2022

Alex Aves (PhD student)

Alex is an environmental science PhD candidate, based at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch. Alex completed a Bachelor of Science (Environmental) at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) before moving to the University of Canterbury to complete a Postgraduate Certificate and Masters in Antarctic Studies. Alex’s research looks into the emergence of microplastics as an airborne pollutant, the impact these have on remote regions with a focus on Antarctica and necessary method developments for microplastic analysis and monitoring. As well as completing her PhD, Alex works on outreach programs to engage primary and high school students in Antarctica and taking up STEM.

Hunter Douglas (PhD student)

Hunter is a Geophysics PhD candidate from Wellington with a background in engineering. He has a Bachelor of Science in Civil & Environmental Engineering from Duke University and Master of Engineering degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Singapore University of Technology and Design. Hunter also brings five years of industry experience as an environmental engineer working in the US and New Zealand. He’s motivated to study climate change to do his part in enacting a rapid, informed, and equitable transition to a low-carbon society.

Hunter researches climate change emergence in the latest generation of global climate models. His project investigates the influence of emissions pathways on the spatio-temporal patterns of how the climate change signal emerges from the background noise of natural variability. In particular, Hunter’s research compares emissions pathways between model generations and the reversibility of emergent patterns under net-negative emissions.

Dr Abhi Venugopal (Postdoctoral fellow)

Abhi is a post-doctoral fellow in the cloud and aerosol modelling program of the Deep South National Science Challenge project jointly led by the University of Canterbury and the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA). Abhi’s research focusses on developing the New Zealand Earth System Model to more realistically represent sea salt and sulfate aerosols over the Southern Ocean.

Abhi’s PhD at Victoria University of Wellington involved measuring aerosol chemistry in ice cores and reconstructing past climate. He is a trained ice core paleoclimatologist and glacio-chemist. Post-PhD, Abhi worked as a post-doctoral fellow at GNS Science investigating tipping points in the climate system. He also shares expertise in marine biology and oceanography mostly gained during his master’s research, conducted back home in India.

In addition to research, Abhi likes to participate in international research leadership programs, particularly on polar climate and currently serves as a co-leader in the Scientific Council for Antarctic Research (SCAR)-Instabilities and Threshold in Climate System (INSTANT) program. He also has served as a reviewer in the first order draft review of IPCC AR-6 report as a part of early career scientist’s consortium.

Yusuf Bhatti (PhD student)

Yusuf is a physics PhD student at the University of Canterbury researching natural aerosols over the Southern Ocean using an Earth System Model. His BSc was in Geology, with a specialization in volcanology where he was involved in numerous fieldwork campaigns in researching the volcanic activity in Italy. He completed a Master of Research at the University of Leeds in Climate and Atmospheric Science where he connected his greater interests in atmospheric science with his love of volcanoes. The thesis examined climate model simulations of hypothetical volcanic eruptions from Mt. Agung, understanding how volcanic aerosol formed and was transported within the stratosphere.

Yusuf is involved in developing the New Zealand Earth System Model, and looking at the process of sulfate aerosol formation from phytoplankton within the Southern Ocean. It’s a complicated and not very well-understood field causing large uncertainties in future climate change projections. He’s also been questioning the idea that the Southern Ocean atmosphere is completely pristine, through the lens of stratospheric ozone depletion.

Thalia Day (PhD student)

Thalia is a PhD student at the University of Canterbury, studying both environmental science and atmospheric chemistry. Her multidisciplinary research explores the role and impact of atmospheric microplastics in the Southern Ocean region. Thalia previously worked as a plastic pollution consultant in London for 3 years, and recently as a Microplastic Research assistant for Archipelagos Institute for Marine Conservation in Lipsi, Greece. She was awarded PCAS (Postgraduate Certificate in Antarctic Studies) in 2019, following an MSc in Environmental Management and Sustainable Development where she completed a thesis in dendrochemical research of Scots Pine (Pinus Sylvestris) species in the UK.

Fergus Robertson (MSc student)

CMIP6 and CCMI analysis; stratospheric ozone-surface climate coupling