Ian Renfrew


  • 3.07 Sciences

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Personal profile


I am a Professor in the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia.
My research is on dynamical and physical processes that are important for weather forecasting and climate prediction; in particular mesoscale dynamical meteorology, air-sea interaction, atmospheric forcing of the ocean and North Atlantic climate. I am regarded as an international expert on these processes in the polar regions. 

I am interested in real weather systems: what they look like, how they work physically and how we can describe them mathematically.  Hopefully such work will lead to a better understanding of the climate system and improvements in forecasting and modelling the atmosphere and ocean.

I received the 2017 Adrian Gill Prize from the Royal Meteorological Society, which recognises significant multi-disciplinary meteorological research achievements over the preceding 5 years.

I am currently Associate Dean for Research for the Faculty of Science. 


PhD Positions

Click here for current PhD opportunities in the School of Environmental Sciences.  However, feel free to email me to discuss projects outside these areas and alternative sources of funding.



  • 2017-present: Associate Dean for Research, Faculty of Science
  • 2010-present: Professor, School of Environmental Sciences, UEA
  • 2010-2013: Director of Research for the School; REF2014 UOA7 Coordinator 
  • 2006-2010: Reader, School of Environmental Sciences, UEA
    • 2008-2010: Head of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences sector
    • 2008: Visiting Professor, Dept. of Physics, University of Toronto.
    • 2004-2006: Certificate in Higher Education Practice, UEA
  • 2004-2006: Lecturer, School of Environmental Sciences, UEA
  • 1998-2004: Research Scientist, British Antarctic Survey (BAS), Cambridge
  • 1995-1998: Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of Physics, University of Toronto, Canada
  • 1992-1995: PhD in Meteorology, University of Reading
  • 1987-1991: BSc (Hons) in Mathematics (First Class), University of Edinburgh

Key Research Interests and Expertise

My research is on weather and climate processes, in particular mesoscale and boundary-layer meteorology and interactions between the atmosphere and the ocean or land-surface.  I focus on the high latitudes - both the Arctic and Antarctic - where climate change is predicted to be greatest.  My research interests are broad and interdisciplinary, covering both meteorology and oceanography; while my research methods include analysis of observational data from field campaigns and state-of-the-art numerical modelling.  I have well-established collaborations with scientists in Canada, USA, Norway and Iceland (indeed more than three-quarters of my publications are with international authors), as well as at several UK Universities, BAS and the Met Office.


Recent Project include

  • FOGGI: Fog Over the Indo-Gangetic plains of India, 2019-2021:  Newton WCSSP Weather and Climate Science Services Partnership. 
  • CANDIFLOS, Characterising and Interpreting FLuxes Over Sea-ice, 2019-2021: NERC Discovery grant. 
  • The Iceland-Greenland Seas Project 2016-2021: NERC Discovery grant. The IGP is a major (~£4M) international programme of research – including a winter research cruise, moorings, buoys, gliders and aircraft-based field work as well as a suite numerical modelling.  
  • Ocean2Ice: Processes and variability of heat transport in the Amundsen Sea 2013-2016. NERC Ice Sheet Stability research programme.  
  • ACCACIA, Aerosol Cloud Coupling and Climate Interactions in the Arctic, 2011-2016.NERC Arctic Research Programme. 
  • DIAMET, Diabatic influence on mesoscale structures in extratropical storms, 2011-2015. NERC Storm Risk Mitigation Programme.  
  • OFCAP, Orographic flows and climate over the Antarctic Peninsula, 2009-2012. NERC Antarctic Funding Initiative.   
  • GFDex, The Greenland Flow Distortion Experiment, 2005-2009: Funded initially as a NERC standard grant, this blossomed into a major (£3M) international project with funding coming from Canada, Norway, the EU and the US (for allied oceanographic work). I instigated, obtained funding for, and developed this project into the major international enterprise it became.

Publications: EPrints Digital Repository

Key Responsibilities

  • Associate Dean of Research, Faculty of Science (2017-Present) 
  • Director of Research for the School of Environmental Sciences (2010-2013)
  • REF2014, UoA7 Coordinator

Professional Activities

  • 2015-present: Member of the Met Office Strategic Advisory Committee.
  • 2015-2017: Member of the NERC/Met Office Facility for Airborne Atmospheric Measurements Strategy Committee.
  • Founding member of the Scientific Steering Group of the World Meteorological Organisation's WWRP/Thorpex Polar Predictability Project 2011-present
  • Co-Chair Scientific Steering Group of the Met Office and NERC's Joint Weather and Climate Research Programme (JWCRP) 2012 to 2013
  • Member of the Operations Committee of the Met Office and NERC's Facility for Airborne Atmospheric Management 2011-2012
  • International member of US CLIVAR's Working Group on High Latitude Surface Fluxes 2008-2013


Antarctic and arctic weather and climate; polar weather.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Devlopment Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 13 - Climate Action


Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or