School of Earth and Environment

Research themes

Much of our research is interdisciplinary, combining expertise from across our five institutes. Our seven research themes build on our existing core strengths, but also allow us to tackle global challenges by applying experience and knowledge from across the whole School.

Atmospheric processes

Atmospheric Science

This theme focuses on improving the global and regional atmospheric models that we use to predict meteorological processes, such as aerosol-cloud interactions, and extreme weather.  Our research includes laboratory studies, fieldwork, remote sensing and computer modelling.  Much of this work is undertaken through our academic partnerships with the Met Office and NCAS.

Physical climate change

Physical Climate Change

Our research focuses on improving international assessments of the impacts of climate change such as changes in rainfall and crop yield, and sea level rise.  We also use observations to improve the models that predict climate change, and are already leading international research efforts in this area.  Importantly, we are developing new approaches to climate modelling, providing theoretical insights on climate change, and creating a new framework for satellite observations of the cryosphere.

Adaptation to environmental change

Adapting to Climate Change

Our diverse research under this theme aims to provide solutions to the impacts of climate change, as well as inform national and international climate policy.  We are introducing a more rigorous approach to adaptation research by linking it with our Physical Climate Change theme, focusing on adaptation in Africa and Asia, and threats such as global food security.  Our work is also being enhanced by our hosting of CCCEP, as well as national and international leadership roles on the UK Climate Projection Panel and European Environment Agency’s Scientific Committee.

Ancient climates and oceans

Ancient Environments

This theme investigates past changes in global biogeochemical cycles, climate, and biodiversity, including the great mass extinctions of the past.  The focus is on times of rapid climate change and other environmental stresses such as large scale volcanism.  It brings together palaeontologists, climate modellers, geochemists and volcanologists to better understand the past in a way that helps us to predict future climate and other environmental change. 

Geochemical processes and environmental management

Environmental Processes and Management

Our research in this theme covers natural and man-made environmental changes over space and time, and tackles subjects as diverse as nuclear waste and ecosystem services.  Through our research, we are developing a deeper understanding of complex biogeochemical processes and using it to solve real-world environmental problems. At the same, we are looking at how environmental management affects both the environment and society.

Earth dynamics and geohazards

Earth Dynamics

Under this theme, we aim to make fundamental advances in understanding the processes that shape the Earth, including tectonics, volcanism and the dynamics of the Earth’s core. We are also developing cutting edge expertise in the assessment of hazards and risks associated with the dynamics of the Earth. All of this involves closer working between modellers, seismologists, geomagnetists geochemists, geologists, and geophysicists.

Energy resources and their sustainable development

Energy Pathways

This theme is addressing energy challenges through interdisciplinary research, working towards creating a low-carbon future.  It covers topics ranging from geo-engineering and resource extraction to energy futures, demand reduction and policy.  Importantly, through our work with CiPEG and CCCEP, we are ensuring that our research has real impact on creating future energy pathways.