Institute for Climate and Atmospheric Science (ICAS)

Physical Climate Change Group Members

Academic staff

Piers Forster

Piers Forster

Head of Group, Professor of Physical Climate Change, Royal Society Wolfson Merit Award Holder, Director for the Priestley International Centre for Climate. Researches several aspects of physical climate related to the Earth's energy budget.

Teaches various masters and undergraduate courses, including SOEE5540M: Introduction to physical climate change and SOEE1280: introduction to atmospheric sciences.

Wolfgang Buermann

Wolfgang is an Associate Professor in Ecosystem Dynamics with research interests in large-scale climate biosphere interactions. A particular focus is to better understand emerging responses of terrestrial ecosystems to changes in climate, atmospheric composition as well as land use and how such responses will feedback into the climate system. In his research, Wolfgang utilises a variety of tools including satellite Earth observations as well as Earth system models.

Alex Rap

Alex is a Senior Research Fellow. His research focuses on using various computer models to understand how aerosol and non-CO2 greenhouse gases impact our climate through changes to the Earth’s radiative balance. Alex is a module manager for SOEE1301 Intermediate Mathematics and contributes to SOEE3630 Strategic Energy Issues and SOEE3760 Terrestrial Biosphere in the Earth System.

Lauren Gregoire

Lauren Gregoire is an Earth System modeller interested in interactions between climate ice and the carbon cycle in the past, present and future. In particular, she focusses on understanding ice sheet and climate processes involved in ice sheet collapse and rapid sea level rise. For this, she uses and develops a range of different models such as 3D dynamic ice sheet models, Earth Models of Intermediate Complexity and General Circulation Models.

Ruža Ivanovic

Ruža Ivanovic is a NERC Independent Research Fellow. Her research seeks to understand abrupt climate change. Trained in both numerical modelling and analytical isotope geochemistry, her main research interests are in global-scale physical climate mechanisms, atmosphere-ocean interactions, abrupt climate change, specific palaeo (ancient) climatic events and understanding how proxy records constrain all of this.

Amanda Maycock

Amanda Maycock is an Associate Professor in Climate Dynamics and NERC Independent Research Fellow. Amanda uses state-of-the-art climate models to study the impact of changes in atmospheric composition on global and regional climate, with a particular focus on interactions between the stratosphere and troposphere. She is a Lead Author for the WMO/UNEP 2018 Ozone Assessment. Amanda teaches on various atmospheric science modules, including SOEE1433, SOEE1280, and SOEE2700.

Research Fellows

Tom Richardson

Thomas Richardson

Tom is a PDRA working on the NERC funded project Securing Multidisciplinary UndeRstanding and Prediction of Hiatus and Surge events (SMURPHS). His research focuses on improving understanding of precipitation and temperature responses to different climate forcers using analysis of the Earth’s energy budget.  

See Tom’s homepage or follow him on twitter.

Catherine Scot

Catherine Scott

Cat is a PDRA on the NERC funded project: "Developing a framework to test the sensitivity of atmospheric composition simulated by Earth System Models (ESMs) to changing climate and emissions"

She also leads on Leeds education and Forest Centre, supporting the United Bank of Carbon.

See Cat's home page and follow Cat on twitter

Leighton Regayre

Leighton is a PDRA responsible for uncertainty quantification aspects of the NERC funded project Securing Multidisciplinary UndeRstanding and Prediction of Hiatus and Surge events (SMURPHS) and the Copernicus Atmospheric Monitoring Service Climate Forcings (CAMS74) project. Leighton has experience analysing large perturbed parameter ensembles using statistical methods and has an interest in the climatic importance of regional forcings on decadal timescales.

See Leighton's homepage or follow him on twitter.

Chris Smith

US DoE funded PDRA working on the RFMIP project as part of CMIP6. Formally a EPSRC funded MSc and PhD student, researching the impact of climate change on solar energy, and feedbacks between large solar arrays and regional climate.  

Research Projects Management and Support

Rosaleen McDonnell (Research Administrator)

Rosaleen is Project Administrator to the NERC project Securing Multidisciplinary UndeRstanding and Prediction of Hiatus and Surge events (SMURPHS), the EPSRC/NERC Integrated Assessment of Geoengineering Proposals (IAGP), and  the Radiative Forcing Model Intercomparison Project (RFMIP) funded by U.S. Department of Energy / University of Colorado Boulder. She also provides administrative and management support to the charity, the United Bank of Carbon.

PhD students

James Norman

James' PhD research seeks to understand how the latest seasonal climate prediction tools can be used to inform decision making within the energy industry. Supervised by Dr Amanda Maycock and Prof Suraje Dessai he also collaborates with a Dr Alberto Troccoli, Director of the World Energy Meteorology Council (WEMC). Prior to his PhD James worked as a Research Translation Fellow on the Yorkshire Integrated Catchment Solution’s Project (iCASP) and as a Research Assistant supporting the Climate Change Adaptation Group within the Sustainability Research Institute (SRI) at the University of Leeds. His Master’s degree from the University of Copenhagen focused on the quantification of uncertainty in centennial climate projections. 

Adele Dixon

Adele is an MRes Climate and Atmospheric Science student. Her research focuses on the impact of climate change on ecological interactions between marine ecosystems in the tropics. She will be using downscaling techniques to explore future changes in sea surface temperature in the Coral Triangle and potential responses of coral reefs, mangroves and sea grass beds.

Peter Joyce

Peter is a 1st year NERC DTP student supervised by Wolfgang Buermann. His research aims to understand the drivers behind the increasing trend of the seasonal CO2 amplitude over northern latitudes. 

Will Rolls

Will's background is in the UK forestry industry where he worked for a number of years for both the Forestry Commission and Forest Research, mainly looking at the development and support of the UK biomass sector. In 2013 he began work as a self-employed consultant supporting clients with biomass and forestry work, he continued this whilst working part-time on an MSc until 2017 when he began his PhD studies. Will is working on the links between forest management, biomass fuel, carbon emissions and climate change.

You can find out more about what Will is up to, on twitter (@w_rolls) or via his website (

Thomas Wood

Tom is a NERC DTP PhD student who joined the group in January 2017.  Tom is working with Amanda Maycock and Piers Forster to examine the apparent widening of the tropical belt using model intercomparisons, studying the magnitude and rate of the phenomenon as well as the potential drivers and impacts.

Natasha Aylett

Tash is a NERC DTP PhD student supervised by John Plane in Chemistry. Her research aims to assess how a close encounter with a comet might affect the chemistry of our atmosphere or potentially the climate. To do this Tash uses a global chemistry climate model (WACCM) with a significantly increased meteoric input flux. Tash also using a photochemical aerosol flow reactor to grow synthetic meteoric smoke particles, which would be injected into the upper atmosphere in the event of a close encounter.

Charlotte Weaver

Charlotte is an EPSRC funded Bioenergy PhD student. Her research focuses on how bioenergy production, and therefore bioenergy crop cultivation and wood use, affects global land use change, deforestation and the climate.

Andreas Chrysanthou

Andreas is a LARS PhD student who joined the group in October 2016. He studies the meridional circulation of the stratosphere, and its projected changes under increasing greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations. He is designing and implementing experiments with various versions of the UK Met Office (UM) global climate model in order to investigate how Brewer Dobson circulation trends depend on the representation of physical climate processes.

Niall Gandy

Niall is a glacial geomorphologist and numerical modeller. He started his PhD in October 2016. Using mapping and modelling together, he is interested in the collapse of the British-Irish Ice Sheet at the end of the last Ice Age. The relative importance of climate change, sea level change, and ocean warming for this collapse is important when considering how Antarctica may change in our current changing climate.

Matthew Rowlinson

Matt is a NERC DTP PhD student who joined the group in October 2015. His work focuses on short lived climate pollutants, looking into the effectiveness and side effects of climate mitigation using sources of atmospheric methane, ozone and black carbon.

Jennie Dentith

Jennie is a NERC funded PhD student. Her research involves incorporating chemical ocean circulation tracers into complex numerical climate models to better understand the chain of events surrounding abrupt climate transitions which are known to have occurred during the last deglaciation.

Ilkka Matero

Ilkka is a NERC funded PhD student who joined the group in 2014. His research focuses on better understanding the deglaciation of the North American ice sheet and its impact on the climate during the early Holocene.



Lauren Marshall

Lauren is a NERC DTP funded PhD student who joined the department in October 2014. Her research involves looking at the effects of explosive volcanism on the climate. This project specifically focuses on disentangling the effects from different eruption source parameters, such as the eruption latitude, SO2 injection amount, injection height and atmospheric circulations.   

Michael O'Sullivan

Michael started his PhD in September 2014 working with Wolfgang Buermann and Dom Spracklen. His research focuses on a better understanding of the controlling mechanisms of terrestrial carbon fluxes, and the regional distribution of sinks/sources. The initial focus of the project is addressing the increase in the global land sink since the start of this century by using process based models to identify and quantify the controlling mechanisms.

Past members

Rhian Rees-Owen

PhD student working on reconstructing past hydrological change over Antarctica during periods of ice sheet retreat. The research involves measuring oxygen isotopes in ancient plant cellulose and running isotope-enabled general circulation models to track changes in moisture sources and climate more broadly. In 2017 Rhian moved to the University of St Andrews.

Anja Schmidt

Anja was an Academic Research Fellow in the Institute for Climate and Atmospheric Science between February 2013 and August 2017. Anja's research combines expertise in atmospheric science and volcanology to advance the current understanding of volcanic impacts and hazards. In particular, she investigates the impact of volcanism on atmospheric chemistry, climate, air quality, human health, ecosystems and aviation using a wide range of atmospheric models and volcanological datasets. She also applies her atmospheric chemistry and aerosol modelling skills to non-volcanic topics in atmospheric and climate sciences. Anja took up a Lectureship at the University of Cambridge in September 2017. 

Susanne Lorenz

Susanne Lorenz

NERC funded PhD student from 2011. Research focuses on uncertainties in climate projections and their consequences for adaptation strategies. The aim of the research is to develop a framework for building adaptation strategies accounting for physical climate uncertainties.

Lawrence Jackson

Lawrence Jackson

PDRA working on the DiFD funded IMPALA project. Previously a EPSRC/NERC funded PDRA on the Integrated Assessment of Geoengineering Proposals (IAGP) Project and a NERC funded PhD focussed on the relationships between surface energy fluxes and diurnal temperature range.

Julia Crook

Julia Crook

PDRA working on the NERC funded VERA project, previously a EPSRC/NERC funded PDRA on the Integrated Assessment of Geoengineering Proposals (IAGP) Project and a NERC funded PhD student looking at causes of high latitude warming.

Annabel Jenkins

Annabel Jenkins

 PDRA as part of the Integrated Assessment of Geoengineering Proposals (IAGP) group. Previously a EPSRC/NERC funded PhD student, with a MET Office CASE award. Expert in using the WRF/Chem mesoscale model to investigate the potential effectiveness and side-effects of marine stratocumulus cloud brightening.

Jayne Windeatt

Jayne Windeatt

EPSRC funded MSc and PhD student. Research on the effectiveness of biochar as a geoengineering method. Work will examine the physical science of biochar, from production methods to char characteristics and effects on the biosphere.

Sarah Lebel

PhD funded by FIRS (fully-funded international research scholarship)

Water harvesting for rainfed Africa: System sustainability under climate change. Main supervisors: Dr Luuk Fleskens and Dr Brian Irvine (Geog)

Joanes Atela

PhD student mainly supervised by Claire Quinn.

Looking at impacts integrated management of Kakamega Forest, Kenya, for climate change adaptation


Natalie Suckall

Natalie Suckall

ESRC/NERC funded PhD student looking the climate-driven human migration in Malawi. Now an Environmental consultant in London

Amber Leeson

Amber Leeson

National Centre for Earth Observation (NCEO)  PhD student looked at the evolution of supraglacial lakes on the Greenland ice sheet. Now PDRA at Leeds

Neil Gordon

Neil Gordon

NERC funded PDRA working on diagnosing climate feedback from observations. Now at PCMDI in sunny California.

Tim Andrews

Tim Andrews

2007-2010 NERC funded MPhil and PhD student.  Researched new concepts of radiative forcing and surface forcing. Now working at the Met Office.

Elisabeth Simelton

Elisabeth Simelton

NERC funded PDRA working towards global food security and more specifically the vulnerability of agricultural systems to droughts as part of the QUEST Project.

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