Julia Kukulies receives this year’s Doctoral Thesis Award


Julia Kukulies's thesis describes precipitation processes on the Tibetan Plateau which provides knowledge for anyone working on regional climate change. In addition, Julia has made contributions to the development of climate data analyses. She is now awarded the Faculty of Science's Doctoral Thesis award in 2023.

Julia Kukulies

How does it feel to receive this year’s Doctoral Thesis Award?
− I feel incredibly humbled and honoured to receive the Doctoral Thesis Award. It is a nice feeling to get this type of additional acknowledgement after five years of hard work.

What is your research about?
− My research focuses on precipitation processes and storm systems in the Tibetan Plateau region. I combine observations and numerical climate models to gain better insights in the processes that cause precipitation. A crucial question in my research is how we can improve our model simulations of precipitation at regional scales to better understand future changes of precipitation changes in mountain regions. 

How might your research benefit society?
− The type of climate models I am working with are the primary tool to understand future risks of precipitation changes on regional scales. Such risks encompass, for instance, flooding and water scarcity that will affect billions of people, especially around mountain regions.

What are you doing now?
− I got the Advanced Study Program Postdoc Fellowship at National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. I just moved to Colorado and am excited that, for the next two years, I will continue to do research on precipitation and storm systems in high-resolution climate models. In my proposed project, I will, however, not only focus on the Tibetan Plateau region but on the whole globe. In particular, my aim is to come up with new creative ways of combining remote sensing data with climate models to better evaluate the climate models.

Award motivation

Julia Kukulies doctoral thesis represents a remarkable achievement, combining scientific excellence, originality, and comprehensive contribution to Earth System Science. Her work sheds light on precipitation processes in one of the world’s largest mountain regions, the Tibetan Plateau, providing crucial insights that extend beyond regional interest. The methodologies and scientific findings presented in the thesis have relevance and implications for the global science community working on regional climate changes.

The thesis is clearly written and effectively communicates the scientific challenges and advances. Julia demonstrates a commendable ability to synthesize and critically discuss the results, highlighting major challenges in the field of regional climate modeling. Additionally, Julia has made significant contributions to the development of climate data analysis methods, proposing a new framework for automatically tracking storm systems and associated precipitation in satellite observations and model output data.

About the Doctoral Thesis Award

The award is given for successful and innovative research presented in a well-written doctoral thesis. The author receives a diploma and an award. The award ceremony will be held on October 19.