Claire Cooper

Claire Cooper


I joined the University of Leeds as a PhD researcher in 2016 after completing an MSc in Volcanology at the University of Bristol. My master's thesis, 'SAR observations of pyroclastic density flows and their connection to dome activity', focused on using remote observations to track PDCs across Soufrière Hills volcano, Montserrat. Though I come from a geological background, I have also worked as a research assistant in the fields of biodiversity and remote sensing.

My current research interests centre around earth system interactions, specifically concerning the geosphere, cryosphere, and hydrosphere.

NERC Training

  • Introduction to Atmospheric Science (January 2018)
  • EMPA for Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences (September 2017)

Research interests

Project overview

This project attempts to investigate the proposed link between global climate change and changes in volcanic activity, with a focus on northern Europe and the Icelandic volcanoes. The bulk of the project is concerned with establishing whether this relationship can be seen during past periods of climate change in the Holocene through analysis of peat and lake sediment cores from various sites across northwestern Europe. We will investigate sites in Ireland, England and northern Sweden.


The research questions currently guiding my project are:

  • Can past warming events be linked to volcanic ‘flare-ups’?
  • Why have so few tephra layers been identified in European sediments dating from the early Holocene?
  • Do numerical models of the unloading effect predict a change in the frequency of large eruptions, given current projections of climate change?
  • How significant would such a change in volcanic activity be to modern society?


Leeds Anniversary Research Scholarship

Professional Membership

  • Associate of the Royal School of Mines, Imperial College London. 2015
  • Member of the Priestley International Centre for Climate. 2016
  • Under Her Eye Fellow, Invisible Dust. 2018


  • MSc Volcanology (University of Bristol)
  • BSc Geology (Imperial College London)

Research groups and institutes

  • water@leeds
  • Palaeo@Leeds