Over the last five years, the Kempsey Speleological society have been recording the climate of various caves in the Macleay karst region of NSW mid-north coast. These caves are all wild caves situated in National Parks, and have been instrumented with temperature and relative humidity loggers and weather stations.
There are data to support honours projects for anyone interested in caves and cave climatology, in particular understanding how the variability of cave climate relates to external climate, landscape and cave morphology. There are fieldwork opportunities to visit the caves and download data – fieldwork is strenuous and would involve a small amount of non-technical caving. Basic numeracy and statistical skills would be an advantage, and further training would be provided, most notably in time series analysis.
For further reading about the caves, the locations are the same as in this hydrology paper: Baker, A., Berthelin, R., Cuthbert, M.O., Treble, P.C., Hartmann, A. and the KSS Cave Studies Team. Rainfall recharge thresholds in a subtropical climate determined using a regional cave drip water monitoring network. Journal of Hydrology, 587, 125001.
How much do cave temperatures vary, and why?
You will receive training in various aspects of data science (data handling screening and management), time series analysis and hands-on environmental monitoring skills (data download, equipment maintenance, field calibration).
Supervisor: Prof Andy Baker