Professor of Earth System Science
- College of Life and Environmental Sciences
- University of Exeter
- Hatherly Laboratories
- Prince of Wales Road
- EX4 4PS
- +44 (0)1392 724608
My research interests span the full range of Earth system timescales, from the formation of the planet 4.6 billion years ago to current and future human-induced global change. My main research tools are a spectrum of Earth system models, which I and my group are actively developing. We use the models with available data to test hypotheses about Earth system function. I am particularly interested in the feedbacks between life and its environment and how the resulting coupled system has evolved over time. This remarkable story is told in our book Revolutions that made the Earth.
There is a nifty spinning globe on which you can find some videos of me describing the potential tipping elements in the climate system. Our report for WWF and Allianz looks in more detail at the impacts of crossing various climate tipping points. The original work won the Times Higher Education Award for Research Project of the Year 2008. I have also written an introductory article (updated March 2009), and a commentary on the policy implications. The full paper was published in PNAS and is open access. You can also get a copy from this site along with the supporting information. Currently I’m working on early warning methods for approaching climate tipping points.
Our evaluation of the climate cooling potential of different geoengineering options is in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. There is also a brief piece for the Green Room explaining what roles geoengineering might play in avoiding dangerous climate change. My recent work assesses the potential for carbon dioxide removal from the atmosphere to lower future atmospheric CO2 concentrations and limit global warming.
There’s a little bit about how I got into Earth system science in Science Careers and I was flattered to be listed among the ten most respected climate scientists by the Financial Times. For an update on climate change science see the Copenhagen Diagnosis.