My research is about extremes in the Earth system (think rapid permafrost thaw, AMOC collapse) and specifically about finding a way to include these in simple climate models. The aim is to more fully represent the spectrum of plausible warming that could occur by 2100, taking into account the current uncertainty in many of the Earth system processes. As part of my research, I’m consulting researchers in different areas of climate science to obtain their expert judgement on the range of plausible behaviour within the Earth subsystems that they study. This is sometimes our best source of information when observational or model data is missing. (more…)
Paul Brown is Mechanical Instrumentation Workshop Manager in the Department of Physics. He’s worked on projects such as the Solar Orbiter and the Interstellar Mapping Acceleration Probe (currently being built), was made a Member of the British Empire (MBE) for services to Higher Education in 2017 and has recently been shortlisted for the Lifetime Achievement Award as part of the prestigious Papin Technical Prizes.
In this blog post he reflects on his experiences as a lab and instrumentation technician within an academic environment, and gives us insight into the projects he’s been involved in from a technician’s perspective. (more…)
My area of research focuses on biodiversity responses to environmental change, including land use and climate change. Currently I am working to develop a biodiversity indicator that measures and tracks the functional intactness of an ecosystem compared to a baseline. That is, looking at the amount of functional diversity – the aspect of biodiversity that is related to ecosystem functioning, and ultimately Nature’s Contributions to People – retained in ecosystems since human influence. An indicator like this would allow us to identify areas of conservation priority, to project into the future under different potential climate or land use mitigation scenarios and identify what actions would yield the greatest biodiversity outcomes in these scenarios. (more…)
My research is on energy access focusing on off grid renewable systems, specifically solar energy. My research project is mostly related to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7, which is to provide universal access to affordable, reliable and clean energy by 2030. However, there are currently millions of people who don’t have access to energy, mostly in rural areas of sub Saharan Africa and Asia. I investigate the techno-economic feasibility of off grid systems to provide them access using renewable sources instead of using, for example, diesel generators that some of these communities often rely on, which are generally more expensive and polluting. I also consider the economic and environmental implications of different electrification options. (more…)
In the broadest possible terms, my research is about biodiversity trends – specifically, I extend biodiversity time series backwards in time by using Natural History Museum specimens to cover the whole period of accelerating human pressures. This includes climate change effects (such as rising average temperatures and increased frequencies of extreme weather events), as well as land use changes. I focus on butterfly specimens collected over the past two centuries to develop novel statistical ‘time-travelling’ methods. (more…)
My research is on climate change adaptation finance, more specifically, trying to increase private investment in climate change adaptation solutions.
This focus stems from more of a personal background – I’m from the Caribbean, from Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. For us, climate change isn’t something on a future horizon, it’s what we’re experiencing now, yet small island developing states are responsible for less than 1% of global greenhouse gas emissions. My work looks specifically at mobilising private finance to adapt; a lot of countries facing the biggest immediate threats from the climate crisis don’t have the capacity to both deal with development issues locally, and also adapt to climate change. (more…)
I’m an interdisciplinary social scientist working in energy and looking at the transition to sustainable energy. Specifically, I’m asking, if we do meet the temperature goals of the Paris Agreement, what does that mean for the global oil industry? So, tangibly, how do we ramp down our oil use? What happens to companies and all those stakeholders that rely on them? (more…)