Tom Wood

Tom Wood


BEng Civil Engineering (University of Birmingham, 2011)

MSc Energy & Environment (University of Leeds, 2012)

Research interests

Quantifying the Large-Scale Atmospheric Circulation Response to Climate Change Drivers

The large (synoptic to global) scale atmospheric circulation is expected to alter under climate change.  This could have significant implications for regional climates and the hydrological cycle, both of which are strongly controlled by atmospheric circulation.  Such regional changes include a narrowing of the inter-tropical convergence zone (ITCZ), a slowing and poleward shift in the edge of the Hadley cell, and polewards shifts in storm tracks and midlatitude jets.  These changes could have important societal impacts, including desertification, the loss of habitats and agricultural land and changes to rainfall with potenitally severe impacts on crop yields.  It is therefore important to understand anticipated changes in atmospheric circulation in response to anthropogenic drivers to provide information for governments and decision makers.

Historically, much emphasis has been placed on quantifying projected changes in global mean surface temperature. However, there remain large uncertainties in our quantitative understanding of global circulation responses to changes in greenhouse gases (GHGs), aerosols and natural climate forcings.  Current understanding is hampered by a lack of knowledge of the responses to different climate forcings and by diversity in responses across different models. While some relationship between atmospheric temperature changes and local dynamical changes is anticipated, the extent to which different climate forcing agents produce similar patterns of regional circulation change is unclear.

This project analyses abrupt “switch-on” single forcing climate model experiments in which well-mixed greenhouse gases (CO2, CH4), aerosols (sulphate and black carbon) and solar forcing are perturbed and considers the large-scale atmospheric circulation responses.


  • BEng Civil Engineering (University of Birmingham, 2011)
  • MSc Energy and Environment (University of Leeds, 2012)