Dr Helen Phillips

Associate Investigator

Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies

Sandy Bay Campus, University  of Tasmania, Hobart

Phone: (03) 6226 2996
Email: h.e.phillips@utas.edu.au

  • B.Sc., 1985, Oceanography and Meteorology, The Flinders University of South  Australia.
  • Grad. Dip. Computer Science, 1987, University of Tasmania.
  • B.Sc. (HONS-1st class), 1990, Physical Oceanography, The Flinders University of South Australia. Thesis Title: Interfacial form drag in the Antarctic Circumpolar Current.  Advisor: John Bye.
  • Ph. D., 2000, Physical Oceanography, University of Tasmania. Thesis Title: Mean flow, eddy variability and energetics of the Subantarctic Front south of Australia.  Advisors: Steve Rintoul, Nathan Bindoff and Richard Coleman.


Dr Phillips is a Physical Oceanographer who is interested in the role of ocean circulation in the climate system. Dr Phillips uses novel instruments to measure the fine detail in the currents not able to be seen with traditional observing methods, and not resolved in global climate models. In this detail is information about how the ocean absorbs heat from the atmosphere, mixes it, moves it from one place in the ocean to another, and releases some of it back to the atmosphere. Understanding these small-scale processes is a vital step in both understanding how the ocean influences climate, and in making more robust predictions of the future climate.

Dr Phillips obtained her PhD at the University of Tasmania in 2000, studying the role of Southern Ocean eddies in the climate system. She was awarded Postdoctoral Scholarships to work at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution on the interannual variability of the North Atlantic Ocean circulation, and at CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research on salinity change in the Indian Ocean resulting from the El Nino-Southern Oscillation phenomenon. Dr Phillips is currently a Research Fellow at the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies at the University of Tasmania. Her present focus is on the velocity structure of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, and currents in the South Indian Ocean. She supervises 4 PhD students working on related projects, and contributes to mentoring other early career researchers.

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