Saffron Heddell

Saffron Heddell


I am a first year PhD student in the School of Earth and Environment’s (SEE) Institute for Climate and Atmospheric Science (ICAS) and the Atmospheric Chemistry and Aerosol group. I am funded by the NERC Panorama DTP with a CASE studentship from the Met Office.
Prior to joining Leeds, I undertook a Masters in Science (MSci) degree in Earth Sciences between 2019 and 2023 at the University of Durham. During my MSci, I specialised in Icelandic geochemistry and explosive volcanology. I developed an interest in the hazards surrounding and impacts of volcanic eruptions after the 2018 Mount Etna eruption, which has led me to my current research into the atmospheric impacts of volcanic eruptions.


Research interests

My PhD project focuses on the atmospheric impacts of the water rich, Hunga Tonga – Hunga Ha-apai eruption on the 15 January 2022. I am interested in the impact of the large volumes of water vapour released into the stratosphere at a quantity and height not observed previously within the Satellite era. I am using a combination of the SLIMCAT and UM-UKCA models to analyse the impact of water vapour on the formation of polar stratospheric clouds (PSCs) and ozone depletion within the polar ozone holes.
My research interests are:
•    Stratospheric impacts of volcanic eruptions
•    Stratospheric ozone chemistry
•    Atmospheric Science
•    Atmospheric Chemistry Modelling (SLIMCAT and UM-UKCA)
•    Earth Observation
•    Explosive volcanology

Previous Research/projects:

  • Evaluating the Icelandic mantle source using iron isotopes – 2023, MSci research project, supervised by Dr Julie Prytulak, University of Durham
  • Manitou Lake Microbialites – 2022, Mitacs summer internship, supervised by Dr Joyce McBeth, University of Regina (Canada)
  • Volcanic evolution of the Askja volcanic system, Iceland – 2022, MSci dissertation project, supervised by Dr Richard Brown, University of Durham


Please get in touch with any queries or for further information using


  • PhD - University of Leeds (2023 - present)
  • MSci (Hons.) Earth Sciences - University of Durham (2019-2023)

Research groups and institutes

  • Institute for Climate and Atmospheric Science
  • Atmospheric and Cloud Dynamics
  • Atmospheric Chemistry and Aerosols