Personal profile


I am a Professorial Fellow at the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) which is part of the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia in Norwich.  I am principlally known for the time series of hemispheric and global surface temperatures, which I help update on a monthly basis.  I have over 450 research papers over the last 45 years.  I have over 63,000 citations and an H-index of 118 on the ResearcherID system.

I have been a fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society since 1992 and was on the Editorial Committee of the International Journal of Climatology until 1995.  I am currently on the editorial board of Climatic Change.  I am an elected member of Academic Europaea since 1998.

I was jointly awarded the Hugh Robert Mill Medal in 1995 by the Royal Meteorological Society for work on UK Rainfall Variability, and in 1997 the Outstanding Scientific Paper Award by the Environmental Research Laboratories / NOAA for being a coauthor on the paper "A search for Human Influences on the Thermal Structure of the Atmosphere," by Ben Santer et al. in Nature, 382, 39-46 (1996).  More recently I was awarded the first Hans Oesschger Medal from the European Geophysical Society (now the European Geosciences Union) in 2002 and the International Journal of Climatology prize of the Royal Meteorological Society for papers published in the last five years, also in 2002.  I am recognised as one of the top 0.5% of highly-cited researchers in the Geosciences field by the ISI (the institute in the US that maintains the Web of Science, where publications and citations are monitored.  I was made (2006) a fellow of the American Meteorological Society and was awarded a Reviewer's Award by the American Geophysical Union (AGU) the same year.  In 2009 I have also been made a fellow by the AGU.  In 2012 I was awarded an Honorary Degree by the University Rovira I Virgili (Tarragona, Spain). In 2016 I was an Honorary Degree from the University of Stockholm. In 2018 I became an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society.

Apart from papers on instrumental temperatures, my other main fields are climate change, detection and attribution of climate, proxy climate reconstructions, climate extremes, climate impacts, weather generators, drought and long precipitation and riverflow reconstructions for the British Isles.


  • BA in Environmental Sciences, University of Lancaster (1973)
  • MSc in Engineering Hydrology, University of Newcastle Upon Tyne (1974)
  • PhD in Hydrology, University of Newcastle Upon Tyne (1977)
  • Senior Research Associate, Climatic Research Unit, University of East Anglia, Norwich (1976-1994)
  • Reader, Climatic Research Unit, University of East Anglia, Norwich (1994-1998)
  • Professor, Climatic Research Unit, University of East Anglia, Norwich (1998-date) 

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.

Key Research Interests

My main research interests are in the field of instrumental climate change.  These involve the analysis of instrumental series of temperature, precipitation and pressure measurements taken around the world.  Before any analyses, it is important to assess the quality of the data and remove any inhomogeneities that may arise from changes to station locations, changes to instruments, changes to the methods of calculating daily and monthly averages and also potential changes in the environment around each site.  The main emphasis in the research has been the development of gridded datasets, on regular latitude/longitude grids.  In this form, the data can be more easily visualized and analysed, and subsequently compared with climate model output (from GCMs and RCMs) and also with Reanalysis output.  When the temperature grids are averaged, the well-known global temperature record is developed.  Gridded observational datasets are essential components in the assessment of GCM output and in the Detection and Attribution of climate change, from anthropogenic and natural causes.

The instrumental record extends back to about 1850, with longer records in Europe back to 1750.  To extend the record back further, it is necessary to use proxy climate reconstructions from natural proxies (such as trees, ice cores and corals) and also from written documentary sources in Europe and eastern Asia.  I have been involved in a number of the multi-proxy reconstructions that have been developed for the last 1000 years.

Another research interest is the development of long precipitation and riverflow records from the UK.  In the UK, we have long precipitation records, but relatively short records of riverflow measurements.  Long records of both variables are important for putting recent extremes into a longer context.  During the course of my career, I have developed almost 100 long precipitation records back to the 1850s and 15 monthly riverflow reconstructions back to 1865.

A final research interest is the use of these datasets for climate impact assessment, principally in the UK.  I have been involved in the latest set of UK Climate Projection (UKCP09) co-ordinated by the Met Office Hadley Centre for DEFRA.  My involvement was in the development of the weather generator, which is an integral part of the UKCP09 pacakge, enabling users to produce future weather sequences which they need to put through their impact-specific models for their particular sector.
Publications: EPrints Digital Repository

Areas of Expertise

Instrumental climate change; palaeoclimatology; climate extremes; climate records; climate variations (recent and natural); global warming.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development 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

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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