Chiara Holgate

PhD Student

Chiara Holgate is a PhD candidate at the Centre for Water and Landscape Dynamics (Fenner School of Environment and Society), and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science. Chiara’s research focuses on the role of land-atmosphere interactions and their impact on Australian rainfall.

In her previous work as a Hydrologist and Water Resources Engineer, Chiara provided technical advice to the Australian federal, state and local governments, as well as resource companies and transport authorities. Chiara collaborated on, helped develop and executed a variety of hydrological projects, including the areas of: groundwater and surface water field investigation; hydraulic and hydrologic analysis and modelling; environmental assessment of major projects; groundwater-surface water connectivity studies; stock and domestic groundwater usage estimation; and water balance assessment.

Research interests

Thesis title: Land-atmosphere interactions and their effect on Australian rainfall

Research aim: The broad aim of my PhD is to significantly contribute to the knowledge of the mechanisms by which land-atmosphere interactions influence Australian rainfall. My research will consider rainfall under both average and extreme conditions, with a focus on drought in particular. To achieve this aim, the research is broken into three main parts:

  1. Where do the land and the atmosphere interact most strongly over the continent, and how does this interaction vary in time? What are appropriate methods and data sources to test this?
  2. What are the mechanisms underlying the identified spatio-temporal variation in land-atmosphere interaction?
  3. How do land-atmosphere interactions differ between drought and non-drought periods?

Holgate, C. M., A. I. J. M. V. Dijk, J. P. Evans, and A. J. Pitman, 2019: The Importance of the One-Dimensional Assumption in Soil Moisture - Rainfall Depth Correlation at Varying Spatial Scales. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 124, 2964–2975,

Holgate, C. M., J. P. Evans, A. I. J. M. van Dijk, A. J. Pitman, and G. Di Virgilio, 2020: Australian precipitation recycling and evaporative source regions. J. Climate, 1–40,

Holgate, C. M., A. I. J. M. V. Dijk, J. P. Evans, and A. J. Pitman, 2020: Local and Remote Drivers of Southeast Australian Drought. Geophysical Research Letters, 47, e2020GL090238,

Holgate, C. M., De Jeu, R. A. M., van Dijk, A. I. J. M., Liu, Y. Y., Renzullo, L. J., Vinodkumar, Dharssi, I., Parinussa, R.M., Van Der Schalie, R., Gevaert, A., Walker, J., McJannet, D., Cleverly, J., Haverd, V., Trudinger, C.M., & Briggs, P. R. (2016). Comparison of remotely sensed and modelled soil moisture data sets across Australia. Remote Sensing of Environment, 186, 479–500.

Holgate, C. M., van Dijk, A. I. J. M, Cary, G. J., & Yebra, M. (2017). Using alternative soil moisture estimates in the McArthur Forest Fire Danger Index International Journal of Wildland Fire, 26, 806-819.

Vogel, E., Holgate, C.M., Cairns, J., Ramchurn, A., Frost, A.J., van Dijk, A.I.J.M. (2017). Seasonal soil moisture forecasting using the AWRA landscape water balance model. In Syme, G., Hatton MacDonald, D., Fulton, B. and Piantadosi, J. (eds) MODSIM2017, 22nd International Congress on Modelling and Simulation. Modelling and Simulation Society of Australia and New Zealand, December 2017, pp. 1829-1835.