At the forefront of climate change research

Exeter research identifying potential climate ‘tipping points’ – such as dieback of the Amazon rainforest and decline of Arctic sea-ice – has influenced policy and business on a global scale.

Climate change and sustainability are likely to be the most significant environmental challenges of the 21st century and, working closely with the Met Office, Exeter is positioned at the forefront of climate change research.

More than 250 researchers are working across disciplines - and across the University’s Exeter and Cornwall campuses - to influence international policy, shape global debate and develop positive responses to climate change and its associated challenges.

Our research is further strengthened by our relationship with the Exeter-based Met Office. The Met Office’s decision to build the largest supercomputer in Europe at the Exeter Science Park offers both partners the opportunity to extend collaboration and enhance our global impact in this area.

Exeter has diverse expertise at the forefront of climate change research encompassing:

  • Earth Systems Science – Research is focused on understanding the Earth as a system, with outputs including methods for identifying climate tipping points.
  • Climate Systems – Exeter Climate Systems (XCS) is an innovative world leading centre in climate modelling, including hurricane clusters.
  • Geophysical and Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics – Investigation into convection, rotating fluids and magnetic phenomena has vital implications for climate change research.
  • Environmental Change – This focusses on documenting past climate change, understanding glacial and ice sheet dynamics and understanding contemporary environments.

Working with Brazilian policy makers to prevent dieback of the Amazon rainforest

Research on the links between the Amazon rainforest and climate change has influenced international climate policy, has directly assisted Brazilian environmental policymakers, and has received international media coverage. The underpinning research spans the vulnerability of the rainforest to human-caused climate change and the mechanisms behind the Amazonian droughts of 2005 and 2010.

Climate research influences policy and debate

Research identifying potential climate tipping points and developing early warning methods for them has changed the framework for climate change discussion. Concepts introduced by Professor Tim Lenton and colleagues have infiltrated into climate change discussions among policy-makers, economists, business leaders, the media, and international social welfare organisations.

Global challenges like climate change require ambitious global research solutions.

Will you help us tackle the global challenge of climate change?