Key Research Interests

My main research interests are in the field of instrumental climate change.  These involve the analysis of instrumental series of temperature, precipitation and pressure measurements taken around the world.  Before any analyses, it is important to assess the quality of the data and remove any inhomogeneities that may arise from changes to station locations, changes to instruments, changes to the methods of calculating daily and monthly averages and also potential changes in the environment around each site.  The main emphasis in the research has been the development of gridded datasets, on regular latitude/longitude grids.  In this form, the data can be more easily visualized and analysed, and subsequently compared with climate model output (from GCMs and RCMs) and also with Reanalysis output.  When the temperature grids are averaged, the well-known global temperature record is developed.  Gridded observational datasets are essential components in the assessment of GCM output and in the Detection and Attribution of climate change, from anthropogenic and natural causes.

The instrumental record extends back to about 1850, with longer records in Europe back to 1750.  To extend the record back further, it is necessary to use proxy climate reconstructions from natural proxies (such as trees, ice cores and corals) and also from written documentary sources in Europe and eastern Asia.  I have been involved in a number of the multi-proxy reconstructions that have been developed for the last 1000 years.

Another research interest is the development of long precipitation and riverflow records from the UK.  In the UK, we have long precipitation records, but relatively short records of riverflow measurements.  Long records of both variables are important for putting recent extremes into a longer context.  During the course of my career, I have developed almost 100 long precipitation records back to the 1850s and 15 monthly riverflow reconstructions back to 1865.

A final research interest is the use of these datasets for climate impact assessment, principally in the UK.  I have been involved in the latest set of UK Climate Projection (UKCP09) co-ordinated by the Met Office Hadley Centre for DEFRA.  My involvement was in the development of the weather generator, which is an integral part of the UKCP09 pacakge, enabling users to produce future weather sequences which they need to put through their impact-specific models for their particular sector.
Publications: EPrints Digital Repository

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