Dr Thomas Pugh

Dr Thomas Pugh

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Reader in Biosphere-Atmosphere Exchange

Contact details

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Tom Pugh is a scientist interested in interactions and feedbacks between the terrestrial biosphere and the global climate system, which he primarily investigates using computer models and big data synthesis. Read more about Tom's research at bioatmo.wordpress.com.


  • BSc (Hons) Environmental Science
  • PhD Environmental Science


Tom completed a PhD at Lancaster University studying the effects of tropical rainforests and oil palm plantations on tropospheric chemistry. He then carried out a postdoc at Lancaster investigating the interactions between plants and urban air pollution, before moving to IMK-IFU in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, where he broadened his horizons to work with global vegetation and climate models on questions of land-use change, forest mortality and food security. In 2016 he took up the position of Lecturer in GEES at Birmingham, where his work is closely linked with the Birmingham Institute of Forest Research (BIFoR). In 2018 he became Reader in Biosphere-Atmosphere Exchange at the University of Birmingham. In 2020 he took up a new position at Lund University in Sweden and currently splits his time between Lund and Birmingham.

Postgraduate supervision

Tom Pugh welcomes enquiries from students with interests in the interaction between terrestrial vegetation, biogeochemical cycles and climate. Please contact him if you are interested in working with him on the following core topics, or more generally within this theme.

> Interactions and feedbacks between climate change and forest mortality.
> CO2 fertilisation of vegetation and the global terrestrial carbon sink.
> Effects of biotic agents on forest vitality and biogeochemical cycling.
> How anthropogenic actions modify the structure and function of our forests.


Tom Pugh is a scientist interested in interactions and feedbacks between the terrestrial biosphere and the global climate system, which he primarily investigates using computer models and big data synthesis. Read more about Tom's research at bioatmo.wordpress.com.


Recent publications


Franke, JA, Müller, C, Minoli, S, Elliott, J, Folberth, C, Gardner, C, Hank, T, Izaurralde, RC, Jägermeyr, J, Jones, CD, Liu, W, Olin, S, Pugh, TAM, Ruane, AC, Stephens, H, Zabel, F & Moyer, EJ 2022, 'Agricultural breadbaskets shift poleward given adaptive farmer behavior under climate change', Global Change Biology, vol. 28, no. 1, pp. 167-181. https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.15868

Wayman, JP, Sadler, JP, Pugh, TAM, Martin, TE, Tobias, JA & Matthews, TJ 2022, 'Assessing taxonomic and functional change in British breeding bird assemblages over time', Global Ecology and Biogeography. https://doi.org/10.1111/geb.13468

Hartmann, H, Bastos, A, Das, AJ, Esquivel-muelbert, A, Hammond, WM, Martínez-vilalta, J, Mcdowell, NG, Powers, JS, Pugh, TAM, Ruthrof, KX & Allen, CD 2022, 'Climate change risks to global forest health: emergence of unexpected events of elevated tree mortality worldwide', Annual Review of Plant Biology, vol. 73, no. 1. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-arplant-102820-012804

Usman, H, Pugh, T, Ahlström, A & Baig, S 2021, 'Climate change projections of terrestrial primary productivity over the Hindu Kush Himalayan forests', Earth System Dynamics, vol. 12, no. 3, pp. 857–870. https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-12-857-2021

Müller, C, Franke, J, Jägermeyr, J, Ruane, AC, Elliott, J, Moyer, E, Heinke, J, Falloon, PD, Folberth, C, Francois, L, Hank, T, Izaurralde, RC, Jacquemin, I, Liu, W, Olin, S, Pugh, TAM, Williams, K & Zabel, F 2021, 'Exploring uncertainties in global crop yield projections in a large ensemble of crop models and CMIP5 and CMIP6 climate scenarios', Environmental Research Letters, vol. 16, no. 3, 034040. https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/abd8fc

Wang, X, Müller, C, Elliot, J, Mueller, ND, Ciais, P, Jägermeyr, J, Gerber, J, Dumas, P, Wang, C, Yang, H, Li, L, Deryng, D, Folberth, C, Liu, W, Makowski, D, Olin, S, Pugh, TAM, Reddy, A, Schmid, E, Jeong, S, Zhou, F & Piao, S 2021, 'Global irrigation contribution to wheat and maize yield', Nature Communications, vol. 12, no. 1, 1235. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-21498-5

Wayman, JP, Sadler, JP, Pugh, TAM, Martin, TE, Tobias, JA & Matthews, TJ 2021, 'Identifying the drivers of spatial taxonomic and functional beta-diversity of British breeding birds', Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, vol. 9, 620062. https://doi.org/10.3389/fevo.2021.620062

Liu, D, Zhang, C, Ogaya, R, Fernández-Martínez, M, Pugh, T & Peñuelas, J 2021, 'Increasing climatic sensitivity of global grassland vegetation biomass and species diversity correlates with water availability', New Phytologist, vol. 230, no. 5, pp. 1761-1771. https://doi.org/10.1111/nph.17269

Zabel, F, Müller, C, Elliott, J, Minoli, S, Jägermeyr, J, Schneider, JM, Franke, JA, Moyer, E, Dury, M, Francois, L, Folberth, C, Liu, W, Pugh, TAM, Olin, S, Rabin, SS, Mauser, W, Hank, T, Ruane, AC & Asseng, S 2021, 'Large potential for crop production adaptation depends on available future varieties', Global Change Biology, vol. 27, no. 16, pp. 3870-3882. https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.15649

Dalagnol, R, Wagner, FH, Galvão, LS, Streher, AS, Phillips, OL, Gloor, E, Pugh, TAM, Ometto, JPHB & Aragão, LEOC 2021, 'Large-scale variations in the dynamics of Amazon forest canopy gaps from airborne lidar data and opportunities for tree mortality estimates', Scientific Reports, vol. 11, no. 1, 1388. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-80809-w

Wang, C, Wang, X, Jin, Z, Müller, C, Pugh, TAM, Chen, A, Wang, T, Huang, L, Zhang, Y, Li, LXZ & Piao, S 2021, 'Occurrence of crop pests and diseases has largely increased in China since 1970', Nature Food. https://doi.org/10.1038/s43016-021-00428-0

Ringeval, B, Müller, C, Pugh, TAM, Mueller, ND, Ciais, P, Folberth, C, Liu, W, Debaeke, P & Pellerin, S 2021, 'Potential yield simulated by global gridded crop models: using a process-based emulator to explain their differences', Geoscientific Model Development, vol. 14, no. 3, pp. 1639-1656. https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-14-1639-2021

Ruane, AC, Phillips, M, Müller, C, Elliott, J, Jägermeyr, J, Arneth, A, Balkovic, J, Deryng, D, Folberth, C, Iizumi, T, Izaurralde, RC, Khabarov, N, Lawrence, P, Liu, W, Olin, S, Pugh, TAM, Rosenzweig, C, Sakurai, G, Schmid, E, Sultan, B, Wang, X, de Wit, A & Yang, H 2021, 'Strong regional influence of climatic forcing datasets on global crop model ensembles', Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, vol. 300, 108313. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agrformet.2020.108313

Forestplots.net 2021, 'Taking the pulse of Earth's tropical forests using networks of highly distributed plots', Biological Conservation, vol. 260, 108849. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2020.108849


Palahí, M, Valbuena, R, Senf, C, Acil, N, Pugh, TAM, Sadler, J, Seidl, R, Potapov, P, Gardiner, B, Hetemäki, L, Chirici, G, Francini, S, Hlásny, T, Lerink, BJW, Olsson, H, González Olabarria, JR, Ascoli, D, Asikainen, A, Bauhus, J, Berndes, G, Donis, J, Fridman, J, Hanewinkel, M, Jactel, H, Lindner, M, Marchetti, M, Marušák, R, Sheil, D, Tomé, M, Trasobares, A, Verkerk, PJ, Korhonen, M & Nabuurs, GJ 2021, 'Concerns about reported harvests in European forests', Nature, vol. 592, no. 7856, pp. E15-E17. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-021-03292-x

View all publications in research portal


vegetation-climate interactions; terrestrial carbon cycle; tree mortality; climate impacts on forests/agriculture; carbon storage in ecosystems