Atmosphere and Climate Physics The study of the physical processes that control the operation and variability of our global climate system is one of the most fascinating and challenging topics of research today, and is a national and international priority area. We have active research programmes on a number of important topics. One such area is the interaction of clouds in the atmosphere with radiation, which is perhaps the biggest single uncertainty in our ability to predict climate change. Research topics are under way into the shortwave reflective properties of clouds, and into the longwave infrared behaviour of different cloud types. A second area is the radiative balance of the atmosphere as a whole, and the role of water vapour in particular in amplifying the greenhouse effect due to increasing concentrations of gases such as CO2, and CH4. In this work, we are applying the rigorous rules of physics to a system of amazing complexity, in which forcing terms and non-linear feedback terms interact in a fascinating way. The research is demanding, interesting, and ultimately of enormous practical value to society: we must understand how our climate system works.

Current research topics include:

  • High spectral resolution studies of cirrus clouds and of the greenhouse effect
  • Radiation balance and atmospheric water vapour
  • Spectral signatures of climate change
  • Development of the TAFTS radiometer for aircraft measurements of far infrared atmospheric fluxes
  • Measuring carbon fluxes in the urban environment
  • Cloud studies with ground based thermal imaging camera.

Atmospheric Modelling

We have particular interest in the climate of the troposphere and stratosphere. We use a range of computer models of the lower and middle atmosphere to enable us to investigate various aspects of the complex interactions between radiation, transport and photochemistry. We are collaborating with other universities within NERC's NCAS Climate grouping for which state-of-the-art general circulation models are being developed for studies of climate and climatic variability. We are developing radiation schemes for the project and using the model to study different factors affecting climate.

Current research topics include:

  • The effect of solar variability on climate
  • State-of-the-art radiation codes
  • Stratospheric processes and their role in climate
  • Modes of variability in the atmosphere
  • Modelling climate change impacts

 Related Pages:

Staff working in these areas: