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 with a keen interest in interactions and feedbacks between the terrestrial biosphere and the global climate system, processes he investigates using powerful computer models.


  • 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).

Postgraduate supervision

Tom welcomes enquiries from students with interests in the interaction between terrestrial vegetation, biogeochemical cycles and climate. Please contact him at the email address above 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 

Current students:

Andy Krause (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology) - Climate change-land use change interactions with the terrestrial carbon cycle.


Tom's research investigates the interactions and feedbacks between the terrestrial biosphere and the atmosphere. His particular interests are:

  • Interactions and feedbacks between climate change and forest mortality, including ecosystem disturbances
  • CO2 fertilisation of vegetation and the global terrestrial carbon sink
  • Effects of environmental change and pollution on crop yields
  • How anthropogenic actions modify the structure and function of global forests

Tom is PI of the TreeMort project, which aims to improve our understanding of tree mortality across the globe

His primary tools for investigating these questions are computational models, particularly the dynamic global vegetation model LPJ-GUESS. In previous research he has used the Earth System Model EC-Earth, and outputs from ensembles of global climate models.

Tom has for several years been an active participant in the Global Gridded Crop Model Intercomparison, attempting to answer questions relating to how crop yields and water usage will develop under future climates. His current efforts here are particularly focused on disentangling the response of different crop models to rising atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations.

He has also worked calculations of carbon emissions from land-use change, including how these are influenced by agriculture, by interactions between climate and society, and by spatial heterogeneities below the spatial resolution of global modelling studies. He continues to work on these questions as part of the pan-European LUC4C project.


Arneth, A., Sitch, S., ... Pugh, T.A.M. et al.: Historical carbon dioxide emissions due to land use changes possibly larger than assumed. Nature Geoscience 10, 79-84, 2017.

Schauberger, B., Archontoulis, S., ... Pugh, T.A.M. et al.: Consistent negative response of US crops to high temperatures in observations and crop models. Nat. Commun. 8, 13931, 2017.

Prestele, R., Arneth, A., ... Pugh, T.A.M. et al.: Current challenges of implementing anthropogenic land-use and land-cover change in models contributing to climate change assessments. Earth Syst. Dyn., in press.

Frieler, K., Schauberger, B., … Pugh, T. A. M. et al. Understanding the weather signal in national crop-yield variability, Earth's Future, in press.

Müller, C. , Elliott, J., ... Pugh, T.A.M. et al.: Global gridded crop model evaluation: benchmarking, skills, deficiencies and implications. Geosci. Model Dev. 10, 1403-1422, 2017.

Hantson, S., Knorr, W., Schurgers, G., Pugh, T.A.M., Arneth, A. Global isoprene and monoterpene emissions under changing climate, vegetation, CO2 and land use. Atmos. Environ. 155, 35-45, 2017.

Porwollik, V., Müller, C., Elliot, J., Chryssanthacopoulos, J., Iizumi, T., Ray, D.K., Ruance, A.C., Arneth, A., Balkovic, J., Ciais, P., Deryng, D., Folberth, C., Izaurralde, R.C., Jones, C.D., Khabarov, N., Lawrence, P.J., Liu, W., Pugh, T.A.M., Reddy, A., Sakurai, G., Schmid, E., Wang, X., de Wit, A., Wu, X.: Spatial and temporal uncertainty of crop yield aggregations. Eur. J. Agron. in press. doi:10.1016/j.eja.2016.08.006, 2016.

Pugh, T.A.M., Müller, C., Elliott, J., Deryng, D., Folberth, C., Olin, S., Schmid, E., Arneth, A.: Climate analogues suggest limited potential for intensification of production on current croplands under climate change. Nat. Commun. 7, 12608. doi:10.1038/ncomms12608, 2016.

Pugh, T.A.M., Müller, C., Arneth, A., Haverd, V., Smith, B.: Key knowledge and data gaps in modelling the influence of CO2 concentration on the terrestrial carbon sink. J. Plant Physiol. 203, 3–15. doi:10.1016/j.jplph.2016.05.001, 2016.

Zhu, Z., Piao, S., Myneni, R.B., Huang, M., Zeng, Z., Canadell, J.G., Ciais, P., Sitch, S., Friedlingstein, P., Arneth, A., Liu, R., Mao, J., Pan, Y., Peng, S., Peñuelas, J., Poulter, B., Pugh, T.A.M., Stocker, B.D., Viovy, N., Wang, X., Wang, Y., Xiao, Z., Yang, H., Zaehle, S., Zeng, N.: Greening of the Earth and its drivers. Nat. Clim. Chang. 6, 791–795. doi:10.1038/NCLIMATE3004, 2016.

Deryng, D., Elliott, J., Folberth, C., Müller, C., Pugh, T.A.M., Boote, K.J., Conway, D., Ruane, A.C., Gerten, D., Jones, J.W., Khabarov, N., Olin, S., Schapho, S., Schmid, E., Yang, H.: Regional disparities in the beneficial e ects of rising CO2 concentrations on crop water productivity. Nat. Clim. Chang. 6, 786–790. doi:10.1038/NCLIMATE2995, 2016.

Bodin, P., Olin, S., Pugh, T.A.M., Arneth, A.: Accounting for interannual variability in agricultural intensi fi cation : The potential of crop selection in Sub-Saharan Africa. Agric. Syst. 148, 159–168. doi:10.1016/j.agsy.2016.07.012, 2016.

Krause, A., Pugh, T.A.M., Bayer, A.D., Lindeskog, M., Arneth, A.: Impacts of land-use history on the recovery of ecosystems after agricultural abandonment. Earth Syst. Dyn. 7, 745–766. doi:10.5194/esd-7-745-2016, 2016.

Liu, B., Asseng, S., Müller, C., Ewert, F., Elliott, J., Lobell, D.B., Martre, P., Ruane, A.C., Wallach, D., Jones, J.W., Rosenzweig, C., Aggarwal, P.K., Alderman, P.D., Anothai, J.A., Basso, B., Biernath, C., Cammarano, D., Challinor, A., Deryng, D., De Sanctis, G., Doltra, J., Tereres, E., Folberth, C., Garica-Vila, M., Gayler, S., Hoogenboom, G., Hunt, L.A., Izaurralde, R.C., Jabloun, M., Jones, C.D., Kersebaum, K.C., Kimball, B.A., Koehler, A.-K., Kumar, S.N., Nendel, C., O’Leary, G., Olesen, J.E., Ottman, M.J., Palosuo, T., Vara Prasad, P. V, Priesack, E., Pugh, T.A.M., Peynolds, M., Rezaei, E.E., Rötter, R.P., Schmid, E., Semenov, M.A., Shcherbak, I., Stehfest, E., Stöckle, C.O., Stratonovitch, P., Streck, T., Supit, I., Tao, F., Thorburn, P., Waha, K., Wall, G.W., Wang, E., White, J.W., Wolf, J., Zhao, Z., Zhu, Y.: Similar estimate of temperature impacts on global wheat yield by three independent methods. Nat. Clim. Chang. doi:10.1038/NCLIMATE3115, 2016.

Pugh, T. A. M., Arneth, A., Olin, S., Ahlström, A., Bayer, A. D., Klein Goldewijk, K., Lindeskog, M., Schurgers, G.: Simulated carbon emissions from land-use change are substantially enhanced by accounting for agricultural management, Environmental Research Letters, 10(12), 124008, doi:10.1088/1748-9326/10/12/124008, 2015.
See also http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v6/n2/full/nclimate2928.html

Olin, S., Lindeskog, M., Pugh, T. A. M., Schurgers, G., Wårlind, D., Mishurov, M., Zaehle, S., Stocker, B. D., Smith, B., Arneth, A.: Soil carbon management in large-scale Earth system modelling: implications for crop yields and nitrogen leaching, Earth Syst. Dynam., 6, 745-768, doi:10.5194/esd-6-745-2015, 2015.

Smith, P., House, J. I., Bustamante, M., Sobocká, J., Harper, R., Pan, G., West, P., Clark, J., Adhya, T., Rumpel, C., Paustian, K., Kuikman, P., Cotrufo, M. F., Elliott, J. A., McDowell, R., Griffiths, R. I., Asakawa, S., Bondeau, A., Jain, A. K., Meersmans, J., Pugh, T. A. M.: Global Change Pressures on Soils from Land Use and Management, Glob. Change Biol., 1–21, doi:10.1111/gcb.13068, 2015.

Osborne, J. M., F. H. Lambert, M. Groenendijk, A. B. Harper, C. D. Koven, B. Poulter, T. A. M. Pugh, S. Sitch, B. D. Stocker, A. Wiltshire and S. Zaehle, Reconciling precipitation with runoff: observed hydrological change in the midlatitudes, Journal of Hydrometeorology, DOI:10.1175/JHM-D-15-0055.1, 2015.

Müller, C., Elliot, J., Chryssanthacopoulos, J., Deryng, D., Folberth, C., Pugh, T. A. M., Schmid, E.: Implications of climate mitigation for future agricultural production, Environ. Res. Lett. 10, 125004, doi:10.1088/1748-9326/10/12/125004, 2015.

Bayer, A. D., Pugh, T. A.M., Krause, A., Arneth, A.: Historical and future quantification of terrestrial carbon sequestration from a Greenhouse-Gas-Value perspective, Global Environmental Change 32, 153-164, 2015.

Hale, J.D., Pugh, T.A.M., Sadler, J.P., Boyko, C.T., Brown, J., Caputo, S., Caserio, M., Coles, R., Farmani, R., Hales, C., Horsey, R., Hunt, D.V.L., Leach, J.M., Rogers, C.D.F., MacKenzie, A.R.: Delivering a Multi-Functional and Resilient Urban Forest, Sustainability 7, 4600-4624, 2015.

Rosenkranz, M., Pugh, T. A. M., Schnitzler, J.-P., Arneth, A.: Effect of land-use change and management on biogenic volatile organic compound emissions - selecting climate-smart cultivars, Plant Cell Environ. 2015 38(9), 1896-912, 2015.

Piontek, F., Mueller, C., Pugh, T. A. M., et al.: Multisectoral climate impact hotspots in a warming world. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 111(9), 3233-3238, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1222471110, 2014.
See also http://www.theguardian.com/environment/earth-insight/2013/dec/17/planet-climate-change-risk-drought-famine-epidemic 

Rosenzwieg, C., Elliot, J., Deryng, D., Ruane, A. C., Mueller, C., Arneth, A., Boote, K. J., Folberth, C., Glotter, M., Khabarov, N., Neumann, K., Piontek, F., Pugh, T. A. M., Schmid, E., Stehfest, E., Yang, H., Jones, J. W.: Assessing agricultural risks of climate change in the 21st century in a global gridded crop model intercomparison. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 111(9), 3268-3273, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1222463110, 2014.

Wyche, K. P., Ryan, A. C., Hewitt, C. N., Alfarra, M. R., McFiggans, G., Carr, T., Monks, P. S., Smallbone, K. L., Capes, G., Hamilton, J. F., Pugh, T. A. M., and MacKenzie, A. R.: Emissions of biogenic volatile organic compounds and subsequent photochemical production of secondary organic aerosol in mesocosm studies of temperate and tropical plant species, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 14, 12781-12801, doi:10.5194/acp-14-12781-2014, 2014.

Janssen, R. H. H., de Arellano, J. V. G., Jimenez, J. L., Ganzeveld, L. N., Robinson, N. H., Allan, J. D., Coe, H., Pugh, T. A. M.: Influence of boundary layer dynamics and isoprene chemistry on the organic aerosol budget in a tropical forest. J. Geophys. Res.-Atm., 118 (16), 9351-9366, doi: 10.1002/jgrd.50672, 2013.

Pugh, T. A. M., Ashworth, K., Wild, O., Hewitt, C. N.: Effects of the spatial resolution of climate data on estimates of biogenic isoprene emissions, Atmos. Environ., 70, 1-6, http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1352231013000071, 2013.

Pugh, T. A. M., MacKenzie, A. R., Whyatt, J. D., Hewitt, C. N.: Effectiveness of Green Infrastructure for Improvement of Air Quality in Urban Street Canyons, Environ. Sci. Tech., 46, 7692-7699, http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es300826w, 2012.
See also http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-18873391  and http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/121-a14/.

Pugh, T. A. M., Cain, M., Methven, J., Wild, O., Arnold, S. R., Real, E., Law, K. S., Emmerson, K. M., Owen, S. M., Pyle, J. A., Hewitt, C. N., and MacKenzie, A. R.: A Lagrangian model of air-mass photochemistry and mixing using a trajectory ensemble: the Cambridge Tropospheric Trajectory model of Chemistry And Transport (CiTTyCAT) version 4.2, Geosci. Model Dev., 5, 193-221, doi:10.5194/gmd-5-193-2012, http://www.geosci-model-dev.net/5/193/2012/gmd-5-193-2012.html, 2012.

Pugh, T. A. M., MacKenzie, A. R., Davies, G., Whyatt, J. D., Barnes, M., Hewitt, C. N.: A futures-based analysis for urban air quality remediation, Engineering Sustainability, 165, 1, 21-36, http://www.icevirtuallibrary.com/content/article/10.1680/ensu.2012.165.1.21, 2012.

Boyko C. T., Gaterell M. R., Barber A.R.G., Brown J., Bryson J. R., Butler D., Caputo S., Caserio, M., Coles, R., Cooper, R., Davies, G., Farmani, R., Hale, J., Hales, A. C., Hewitt, C. N., Hunt, D. V. L., Jankovic, L., Jefferson, I., Leach, J. M., Lombardi, D. R., MacKenzie, A. R., Memone, F. A., Pugh, T. A. M., Sadler, J. P., Weingaertner, C., Whyatt, J. D., Rogers C.D.F.: Benchmarking sustainability in cities: The role of indicators and future scenarios. Global Environmental Change, 22 (1), 245-254, http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0959378011001567, 2012.

Pugh, T. A. M., Ryder, J., MacKenzie, A., Moller, S., Lee, J., Helfter, C., Nemitz, E., Lowe, D., and Hewitt, C.: Modelling chemistry in the nocturnal boundary layer above tropical rainforest and a generalised effective nocturnal ozone deposition velocity for sub-ppbv NOx conditions, Journal of Atmospheric Chemistry, 65(2), 89-110, doi:10.1007/s10874-011-9183-4, http://eprints.bham.ac.uk/828, 2011.

MacKenzie, A. R., Langford, B., Pugh, T. A. M., Robinson, N., Misztal, P. K., Heard, D. E., Lee, J. D., Lewis, A. C., Jones, C. E., Hopkins, J. R., Philips, G., Monks, P. S., Karunaharan, A., Hornsby, K. E., Nicolas-Perea, V., Coe, H., Whalley, L. K., Edwards, P. M., Evans, M. J., Stone, D., Ingham, T., Commane, R., Furneaux, K. L., McQuaid, J., Nemitz, E., Seng, Y. K., Fowler, D., Pyle, J. A., and Hewitt, C. N.: The atmospheric chemistry of trace gases and particulate matter emitted by different land uses in Borneo. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B, 366 (1582), 3177-3195,http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/366/1582/3177.short, 2011.

Pyle, J. A., Warwick, N. J., Harris, N. R. P., Archibald, A., Ashfold, M. J., Ashworth, K., Barkley, M. P., Carver, G. D., Chance, K., Dorsey, J., Fowler, D., Gonzi, S., Gostlow, B., Hewitt, C. N., Kurosu, T. P., Lee, J. D., Langford, B., Mills, G., Moller, S., MacKenzie, A. R., Manning, A. J., Misztal, P., Nadzir, M. S. M., Nemitz, E., Newton, H., O'Brien, L. M., Ong, S., Oram, D., Palmer, P. I., Peng, L. K., Phang, S. M., Pike, R., Pugh, T. A. M., Robinson, A. D., Samah, A. A., Skiba, U., Ung, H. E., Yong, S. E., Young, P.: The impact of local surface processes in Borneo on atmospheric composition at wider spatial scales: coastal processes, land use change and air quality. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B, 366 (1582), 3210-3224,http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/366/1582/3210.short  3177-3195, 2011.

Pugh, T. A. M., MacKenzie, A. R., Hewitt, C. N., Langford, B., Edwards, P. M., Furneaux, K. L., Heard, D. E., Hopkins, J. R., Jones, C. E., Karunaharan, A., Lee, J., Mills, G., Misztal, P., Moller, S., Monks, P. S., and Whalley, L. K.: Simulating atmospheric composition over a South-East Asian tropical rainforest: performance of a chemistry box model, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 10, 279-298, doi:10.5194/ acp-10-279-2010, http://www.atmos-chem-phys.net/10/279/2010/, 2010.

Langford, B., Misztal, P. K., Nemitz, E., Davison, B., Helfter, C., Pugh, T. A. M., MacKenzie, A. R., Lim, S. F., and Hewitt, C. N.: Fluxes and concentrations of volatile organic compounds from a South-East Asian tropical rainforest, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 10, 8391-8412, doi:10.5194/acp-10-8391-2010, http://www.atmos-chem-phys.net/10/8391/2010/, 2010.

Hewitt, C. N., Lee, J. D., MacKenzie, A. R., Barkley, M. P., Carslaw, N., Carver, G. D., Chappell, N. A., Coe, H., Collier, C., Commane, R., Davies, F., Davison, B., DiCarlo, P., Di Marco, C. F., Dorsey, J. R., Edwards, P. M., Evans, M. J., Fowler, D., Furneaux, K. L., Gallagher, M., Guenther, A., Heard, D. E., Helfter, C., Hopkins, J., Ingham, T., Irwin, M., Jones, C., Karunaharan, A., Langford, B., Lewis, A. C., Lim, S. F., MacDonald, S. M., Mahajan, A. S., Malpass, S., McFiggans, G., Mills, G., Misztal, P., Moller, S., Monks, P. S., Nemitz, E., Nicolas-Perea, V., Oetjen, H., Oram, D. E., Palmer, P. I., Phillips, G. J., Pike, R., Plane, J. M. C., Pugh, T., Pyle, J. A., Reeves, C. E., Robinson, N. H., Stewart, D., Stone, D., Whalley, L. K., and Yin, X.: Overview: oxidant and particle photochemical processes above a south-east Asian tropical rainforest (the OP3 project): introduction, rationale, location characteristics and tools, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 10, 169-199, http://www.atmos-chem-phys.net/10/169/2010/, 2010.

Hewitt, C. N., MacKenzie, A. R., Di Carlo, P., Di Marco, C. F., Dorsey, J. R., Evans, M., Fowler, D., Gallagher, M. W., Hopkins, J. R., Jones, C. E., Langford, B., Lee, J. D., Lewis, A. C., Lim, S. F., McQuaid, J., Misztal, P., Moller, S. J., Monks, P. S., Nemitz, E., Oram, D. E., Owen, S. M., Phillips, G. J., Pugh, T. A. M., Pyle,J. A., Reeves, C. E., Ryder, J., Siong, J., Skiba, U., and Stewart, D. J.: Nitrogen management is essential to prevent tropical oil palm plantations from causing ground-level ozone pollution, Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. U.S.A., 106, 18 447 - 18 451, doi:10.1073/pnas.0907541106, 2009.

Books and other publications

Lombardi, D. R., Leach, J. M., Rogers, C. D. F, Aston, R., Barber, A., Boyko, C. T., Brown, J., Bryson, J., Butler, D., Caputo, S., Caserio, M., Coles, R., Cooper, R. F. D., Coyne, R., Farmani, R., Gaterell, M., Hale, J., Hales, C., Hewitt, C. N., Hunt, D. V. L., Jancovic, L., Jefferson, I., MacKenzie, A. R., Memon, F. A., Phenix-Walker, R., Pugh, T. A. M., Sadler, J. P., Weingaertner, C., and Whyatt, J. D.: Designing Resilient Cities: A Guide to Good Practice. IHS BRE Press, Bracknell, UK, 2012. https://connect.innovateuk.org/web/urban-futures1/overview 

Urban air quality leaflet in conjunction with the Woodland trust. See http://www.woodlandtrust.presscentre.com/News-Releases/Trees-help-you-breathe-more-easily-ac9.aspx


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