School of Earth and Environment

Declan Finney Dr Declan Finney

Research Fellow

Telephone number: +44(0) 113 34 38643
Email address:
Room: FH 1.13

Affiliation: Institute for Climate and Atmospheric Science


Declan is a post-doctoral researcher within the Institute for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences (ICAS) at the University of Leeds. He is currently working on the HyCRISTAL project (see below) researching moist convective processes in East Africa using a convection-permitting model applied to present-day and future climates.

An extension to the HyCRISTAL project has been funded, "Where East meets West: Convection and rainfall over Ethiopia and South Sudan under climate change". Declan is the Principal Investigator, working with partners in the IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Centre.

Declan's undergraduate degree was in Physics at the University of Bath, during which time he undertook a 6 month placement at the Centre of Ecology and Hydrology studying the representation of frozen soil hydrology in the JULES land-surface model. His PhD involved the investigation of the global representation of lightning in models, the impact of lightning on atmospheric chemistry, and the potential changes in lightning as a consequence of climate change.


  • PhD - "Present-day and future lightning, and its impact on tropospheric chemistry", University of Edinburgh (2017)
  • MPhys - Physics, University of Bath (2012)


Associate Fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society

Research Interests

  • Tropical meteorology and climate
  • Moist convective processes
  • Convection-permitting models
  • Earth-system models and climate change
  • Lightning and its impacts on atmospheric chemistry

Project details

Project title

Integrating Hydro-Climate Science into Policy Decisions for Climate-Resilient Infrastructure and Livelihoods in East Africa (HyCRISTAL)


John Marsham - University of Leeds


Department for International Development (DFID) and Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)

Project outline

HyCRISTAL will develop new understanding of climate change and its impacts in East Africa, working with the region’s decision-makers to manage water for a more climate-resilient future.

Availability of water is fundamental for development in East Africa. However, this vital resource is already under stress from land degradation, pollution and overfishing. Climate change adds to these problems, greatly increasing the vulnerability of the poorest people in the region.

Climate projections show a warming trend in East Africa in the decades ahead, but changes in rainfall and weather extremes are currently uncertain. HyCRISTAL will tackle current uncertainties which exist around climate change projections for the region, concentrating in particular on what they mean for the availability and management of water.

HyCRISTAL will improve our understanding of key climate-water processes in the region, and then work in partnership with a wide range of stakeholders to apply this knowledge in two different settings: rural communities that rely on agriculture and fishing; and urban populations where water supply and sanitation are under pressure.

By developing climate science and helping water users assess their vulnerabilities, the HyCRISTAL project will increase the resilience of communities in East Africa. This will include the production of new, accessible, understandable and easy to- use tools for water resource management in a changing climate. The methods and tools developed will then be applied to decision making processes.