Research themes


Our research brings together expertise from across our institutes, centres and groups to focus on the following areas to enable us to tackle global challenges.

Atmospheric Science

Delivers fundamental advances in the understanding of climate change, weather forecasting, atmospheric composition, and impacts on our planet and society. We develop advanced computer models of the atmosphere and climate, lead major field campaigns, analyse satellite data in novel ways, perform innovative laboratory experiments, and develop unique approaches to the statistical assessment of uncertainty in weather and climate prediction.

Physical Climate Change

Explores mechanisms of change in global and regional climates (past, present, future). Observational and numerical modelling-based scientists investigate how natural and anthropogenic forcing and climate variability affect climate and the cryosphere. Areas of expertise include observation and modelling of ice sheets/sea-ice, ocean and atmospheric circulation, biosphere-climate interactions, radiative forcing, and climate sensitivity.

Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation

Addresses the urgent need to accelerate the global response to climate change and build resilience. We integrate environmental, social science, and human geography disciplines and apply quantitative, qualitative, experimental, and modelling approaches in interdisciplinary teams and in collaboration with communities and research users.

Energy Pathways

Explores how to deliver a cleaner, more secure, and affordable energy future. Our research focuses on managing the transition to a low-carbon economy, exploring innovative technologies, policies, businesses, and finance models. This knowledge is combined with an understanding of wider impacts on our economy and society to deliver effective change.

Environmental Processes, Management and Policy

Addresses the functioning of the modern Earth system, including anthropogenic activities of global significance. This is underpinned by laboratory and theoretical approaches advancing our understanding of biochemical cycles and processes from the nano to global scale. We supply improved practices for ecosystem management, nuclear waste, and pollutant remediation, including the development and implementation of environmental policy by governments and organisations.  

Ancient Environments

Focusses on major events in Earth history through an interdisciplinary grouping of geochemists, palaeontologists, and climate modellers. This includes the characterisation and drivers of mass extinctions, controls on the chemical evolution of the ocean-atmosphere system and links to biological evolution, reconstructing and understanding ecology and biodiversity, and understanding the dynamics of past climates.

Earth Dynamics

Examines the structure and evolution of Earth from the core to the surface. We study the generation of Earth’s magnetic field, along with deformation and lithospheric processes affecting both the continents and oceans, with a strong focus on rheology, geochemistry, fluid-rock interaction, and rates of processes. This knowledge is used to assess earthquake and volcanic hazards and space weather, and to understand the evolution of other planets.

Contact us

If you would like to discuss any of our research areas in more detail, please contact Professor Jouni Paavola.