Climate and Earth System Modelling

climate and earth system Our research aims to quantify and understand the process of past climate and Earth System change with a view to developing better model simulations and predictions of future global change. 

We utilise a wide range of models, which enables us to investigate the Earth system over timescales from days to millions of years over a variety of spatial scales.

  • biogeochemical cycling of carbon and other elements through the Earth system
  • how the carbon cycle has changed over Earth history
  • patterns of regional climate change
  • the development and validation of statistical downscaling methods
  • the interaction between key components of the Earth system, e.g., atmospheric dust, aerosols and vegetation, oceans and sediments, and the physical climate
  • data assimilation methods to combine climate simulations with empirical proxy data

    Academic staff

    Dr Sarah Greene (Geosystems)


    Sarah is a palaeoclimatologist, geobiologist, and numerical modeller studying the biogeochemical cycling of carbon between the atmosphere, the ocean, and marine sediments. Particular research interests include mass extinctions and other rapid carbon cycle perturbations, multi-mullion year carbon cycle trends (co-evolution of life and the carbon cycle), and how biogeochemical cycling within marine sediments influences the rock record. Sarah also studies microbially-mediated carbonate rocks, such as stromatolites, to gain insight into past climates and environments. 



    Dr Peter Hopcroft  (Geosystems)

    Peter is interested in understanding and predicting climate change in both the past and future. Peter specialises in using Earth System models, particularly as applied to the periods prior to industrialisation.


    Dr Steve Jones (Geosystems)

    Steve Jones is a numerate geologist who studies the influence of the deep earth on climate. His published work spans mantle and crustal processes, oceanography and atmospheric science.




    Gregor C. LeckerbuschDr Gregor C. Leckebusch (Environmental Health Sciences)

    Dr Gregor Leckebusch is a leading expert in natural science research on meteorological and climatological extreme events and related impact assessments. He played a key role in multiple national and international interdisciplinary projects dedicated to natural variability of and anthropogenic changes in extremes and impacts. Focus of his actual research is a better understanding of physical processes in the coupled climate system in order to quantify related uncertainties from different sources.



    Dr Tom Pugh (Environmental Health Sciences)thomas-pugh

    Tom Pugh is a scientist who works on in interactions and feedbacks between the terrestrial biosphere and the global climate system at the regional and global scales. His focus topics are currently rates of carbon turnover and tree mortality in forest ecosystems, influence of forest management on the global carbon sink, and the response of forests and crops to elevated carbon dioxide. He investigates these processes using a combination of computer modelling and big data analysis.


    Dr Martin Widmann  (Geosystems)Martin Widmann

    Martin Widmann is a climate scientist. His current main research area is regional climate change, in particular the development and validation of statistical downscaling methods. He also studies past climates; the main activity in this field is the development of data assimilation methods to combine climate simulations with empirical knowledge from proxy data.

    Research students and assistants

    Mohammad Alharbi (

    PhD titled Red Sea Trough situations and their role for meteorological extremes in Western Saudi Arabia and the Red Sea Area

    Gavkhar Mamadjanova (

    PhD titled An investigation into large-scale triggering mechanisms of mudflows in Uzbekistan

    Anastasios MatsikarisAnastasios Matsikaris

    Anastasios Matsikaris is undertaking doctoral research into Data Assimilation in palaeoclimatology. His work involves assimilating palaeoclimate proxy data into General Circulation Models, using an ensemble member selection technique, in order to reconstruct the climate of key periods in the Last Millennium. This work is conducted in collaboration with the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, in Hamburg.

    Michael Walz (

    PhD titled Hazard Uncertainty and related damage potentials of extra-tropical cyclones

    Michael Walz is a trained Meteorologist undertaking doctoral research into extreme extra-tropical cyclones and their potential impact on domestic properties (e.g. housing).  The major task is to identify and to quantify uncertainties related to probabilistic seasonal to decadal forecasts of these extreme events and to see how these meteorological uncertainties eventually affect economic loss models (e.g. CAT models). Funded by NERC through the CENTA DTP.

    S. Wild

    PhD titled Twentieth Century Storminess: Developing a Coherent Understanding of Long-term Trendsand Decadal Variability 


    Auwal Farouk AbdussalamAuwal Farouk Abdussalam

    PhD titled Climate Change and Variability: The Impacts on Climate-Sensitive Diseases in the 2050s for North-Western Nigeria. Auwal’s doctoral research focused on the impacts of climate change on meningitis and cholera in North-Western Nigeria. He used station data, health data, and climate simulations in the statistical modeling of the impact. Auwal is now a senior Lecturer at Kaduna University (Nigeria).

    Jonathan Eden (PhD 2007-2012)

    Jonathan’s research focused on estimating regional precipitation from Global Climate Model simulations using model output statistics.

    Kerstin Prömmel (PhD 2004-2008)
    Kerstin’s PhD was on Regional climate simulations over the Alps. In conjunction with the GKSS Research Centre, Geesthacht, Germany, with Julie Jones.


    The University of Birmingham is well-placed for climate and Earth system modelling research. All researchers have access to a state-of-the-art high performance computing service known as BEAR (Birmingham Environment for Academic Research: This currently consists of approximately 2000 computer cores, a research data storage facility, and a dedicated research computing support team. Birmingham is also part of the HPC Midlands+ consortium ( funded by EPSRC, which provides additional resources for the activities such as high-resolution numerical modelling.