Projects per year
I was a Research Associate in the Climatic Research Unit for five years while studying part-time for my PhD under the supervision of Professor Tom Wigley, using computer-based models of the global ocean to study natural variability of the thermohaline circulation.
After being awarded my PhD in 1995, I became a Senior Research Associate working with Professors Mike Hulme, Keith Briffa and Phil Jones. We developed the first estimates of the uncertainty in the HadCRUT global temperature record. We identified an increase in the occurrence of heavy winter rainfall in the UK, subsequently confirmed and updated in more recent studies, and which contributed to the Royal Meteorological Society awarding me the Hugh Robert Mill Medal in 2002. We used an extensive network of tree-ring measurements from across the Northern Hemisphere to reconstruct summer temperatures over the last few centuries, to detect the widespread cooling that follows explosive volcanic eruptions, and to document an apparent decline in the maximum density of tree-rings during recent decades. These latter studies have now been cited more than 300 times each.
In 2005, I was awarded an RCUK Academic Fellowship, a scheme designed to provide a more stable career path for future research leaders. During my fellowship, I led a number of projects to investigate natural climate variability over the last millennium, the changing occurrence of extreme rainfall, and the generation of scenarios of future climate change using simulations with both simple and complex models of the climate system.
I was appointed as a Reader in 2010 and as Professor of Climate Science in 2014, within the School of Environmental Sciences. My inaugural professorial lecture can be viewed here. I have continued to lead research across a broad range of pressing climate science issues while also teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, organising the final-year undergraduate research projects within the School from 2010 to 2013, and being Director of Admissions for the School from 2015 to 2018.
I am Director of the Climatic Research Unit (www.cru.uea.ac.uk) and a Professor of Climate Science in the School of Environmental Sciences at UEA, where I have worked since 1990. For the first 15 years I was a research scientist and then I was awarded an Academic Fellowship in 2005, which provided a five-year transition to my current academic role that combines teaching, research and academic leadership.
My research and teaching are concerned with identifying variations in climate (as observed, modelled and recorded in climate proxies) and understanding their causes (in terms of natural and anthropogenic climate processes). This understanding provides the basis for making projections of possible future climate change.
I have authored or co-authored over 120 papers that have appeared in peer-reviewed journals or books. These include high-impact journals such as "Nature" and "Science". According to Scopus, forty-nine of my papers have been cited at least 50 times, thirty at least 100 times, and the average citations per listed paper is more than 100.
I was a Lead Author of the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), contributing to the chapters concerned with palaeoclimatic information and with the detection and attribution of climate change, as well as the overall Summary for Policymakers. I am a Review Editor for the IPCC's Sixth Assessment Report, due for completion in 2021.
I communicate about my scientific research via the following social media sites. Their content does not represents the views or opinions of the University of East Anglia.
Twitter: @TimOsbornClim (my twitter feed)
Education / Qualifications
- 1987 to 1990: University of East Anglia. BSc (Hons) Geophysical Sciences (First Class).
- 1991 to 1995: School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia. PhD.
- 1990 to 2005: Climatic Research Unit, University of East Anglia. Research Scientist.
- 2005 to 2010: School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia. Academic Fellow.
- 2010 to 2014: School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia. Reader in Climate Science.
- 2014 to present: School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia. Professor of Climate Science.
- 2017 to present: Director of Research, Climatic Research Unit, University of East Anglia.
Key Research Interests and Expertise
My main research interests are concerned with identifying variations in climate (as observed, modelled and recorded in climate proxies) and understanding their causes (in terms of natural and anthropogenic climate processes). This understanding provides the basis for making projections of possible future climate change.
I have investigated natural climate variability over the last 1000 years or so, using measurements of tree-rings and other climate "proxies" to estimate past changes in temperature across the Northern Hemisphere. By analysing this information in conjunction with climate model simulations, these past climate changes can be related to natural forcing factors such as variations in volcanic activity or solar irradiance.
During the more recent period, with instrumental observations of climate, my research has focussed on the study of rainfall and atmospheric circulation changes, particularly over the UK. Changes in the occurrence of heavy or extreme precipitation, as well as drought events, have been identified. I have also investigated changes in the North Atlantic Oscillation, finding that greenhouse-gas-induced climate change is likely to be associated with a strengthening of the westerly circulation over the Atlantic and European region that may have begun to influence our climate already.
I have developed the ClimGen software application for generating spatially-detailed climate change scenarios based on many general circulation model simulations, to enable users to explore the uncertainty range of possible future climate change. ClimGen has been used to provide consistent climate scenarios to multi-sectoral, global-scale impacts assessments and integrated analyses of future climate policies (such as within the NERC QUEST project, the DECC/Defra-funded AVOID project, the Tyndall Centre's Community Integrated Assessment System, and the EU-funded HELIX, ERMITAGE and TOPDAD initiatives).
My current projects include the continued development and improvement of the global temperature record and the CRU TS climate dataset, with support from NCAS and the NERC SMURPHS project, and the investigation of climate variabiltiy in southern and eastern Asia on long timescales, with support from the NERC Belmont Forum/JPI-Climate INTEGRATE project.
Publications: EPrints Digital Repository
- External examiner (2020-present), University of Cambridge
Outreach, engagement and public communication
- Member (2014-present) of the Steering Group of the Teacher-Scientist Network, a science education charity that supports teachers to deliver up-to-date, relevant science and encourages scientists to interact with teachers, thereby enhancing science teaching across schools in Norfolk and north Suffolk. http://www.tsn.org.uk/
- Scientific reviewer member of Climate Feedback (2015-present), bringing scientific peer-review and assessment to the mainstream online media. Using new web annotation technology, Climate Feedback allows scientists from around the world to comment on the accuracy of online media articles and assess their credibility. http://climatefeedback.org/about/
- Contributing Editor for Carbon Brief (2015-present), a UK-based website covering the latest developments in climate science, climate policy and energy policy. http://www.carbonbrief.org/
Engagement with policy-makers and decision-makers
- Review Editor for IPCC's Sixth Assessment Report (2018-2021) https://www.ipcc.ch/report/sixth-assessment-report-working-group-i/
- Lead Author for IPCC's Fifth Assessment Report (2010-2013) www.climatechange2013.org
Scientific community activities
- Member (2012-present) of the NERC Peer-Review College.
- Member (2000-present) of the editorial board of the International Journal of Climatology.
- Awarded the Hugh Robert Mill Medal by the Royal Meteorological Society (2002)
Areas Of Expertise
- Director of Research for the Climatic Research Unit
Dive into details
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Osborn, T. & Addor, N.
1/10/19 → 30/09/22
1/10/18 → 30/06/22
Le Quéré, C., Peylin, P., Aalto, T., Astrup, R., Bombelli, A., Brunner, D., Buchwitz, M., Chang, J., Dolman, H., Engelen, R., Gerbig, C., Gon, H., Gunther, D., Hammer, S., Hase, F., House, J., Janssens-Maenhout, G., Kern, B., Kutsch, W., Makarova, M., Nabuurs, G., O'Brien, P., Obersteiner, M., Olsen, A., Osborn, T., Palmer, P., Peters, G., Peters, W., Regnier, P., Rigler, E., Ruyssenaars, P., Scholze, M., Serengil, Y., Smith, P., Tarasova, O., Thompson, R., Tworke, K., Vitullo, M., Zakharov, V., Andrews, O., Pickers, P. & Harris, I.
1/02/18 → 31/01/22
Osborn, T., Jones, P. & Simpson, I. R., 16 Feb 2021, In : Journal of Geophysical Research. 126, 3, e2019JD032361.
Research output: Contribution to journal › ArticleOpen AccessFile19 Citations (Scopus)17 Downloads (Pure)
Osborn, T. J., Jones, P. D., Lister, D. H., Morice, C. P., Simpson, I. R., Winn, J. P., Hogan, E. & Harris, I. C., 27 Jan 2021, In : Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres. 126, 2, e2019JD032352.
Research output: Contribution to journal › ArticleOpen AccessFile7 Citations (Scopus)9 Downloads (Pure)
Long-term decrease in Asian monsoon rainfall and abrupt climate change events over the past 6,700 yearsYang, B., Qin, C., Bräuning, A., Osborn, T., Trouet, V., Ljungqvist, F. C., Esper, J., Schneider, L., Grießinger, J., Büntgen, U., Rossi, S., Dong, G., Yan, M., Ning, L., Wang, J., Wang, X., Wang, S., Luterbacher, J., Cook, E. R. & Stenseth, N. C., 27 Jul 2021, In : Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 118, 30, e2102007118.
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article1 Citation (Scopus)
Selecting Markov chain orders for generating daily precipitation series across different Köppen climate regimesWilson Kemsley, S., Osborn, T., Dorling, S., Wallace, C. & Parker, J., 6 May 2021, In : International Journal of Climatology.
Research output: Contribution to journal › ArticleOpen AccessFile3 Downloads (Pure)
The extreme positive Indian Ocean Dipole of 2019 and associated Indian summer monsoon rainfall responseRatna, S. B., Cherchi, A., Osborn, T. J., Joshi, M. & Uppara, U., 28 Jan 2021, In : Geophysical Research Letters. 48, 2, e2020GL091497.
Research output: Contribution to journal › ArticleOpen AccessFile3 Citations (Scopus)16 Downloads (Pure)
INTEGRATE: climate model simulations data to study the Asian climate response to Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) using the Intermediate General Circulation Model version 4 (IGCM4)
Press / Media
1 Media contribution
Press/Media: Press / Media