Tom Wood

Tom Wood


I am a postgraduate researcher in the the Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science (ICAS), School of Earth and Environment (SEE) at the University of Leeds.

My research is focused on the large scale atmospheric circulation response to climate change drivers, including greenhouse gasses (GHGs) and aerosols. I am particularly interested in the Southern Hemisphere midlatitude circulation (e.g. midlatitude eddy-driven jet stream, Southern Annular Mode (SAM) etc.) and quantifying the roles of direct atmospheric adjustments and sea-surface temperature driven feedbacks using climate models.

Research interests

  • Large-scale atmospheric circulation
  • Atmospheric Dynamics
  • Climate Modelling
  • Climate Change
  • Climate variability

Project Outline:

The large (synoptic to global) scale atmospheric circulation is expected to alter under climate change. This is likely to 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 patterns, with potentially severe impacts on crop yields and local populations. It is therefore important to understand anticipated changes in atmospheric circulation in response to anthropogenic climate change drivers to provide information for governments and decision makers.

There remain large uncertainties in our quantitative understanding of global circulation responses to changes in greenhouse gases (GHGs) such as carbon dioxide and methane, aerosols (such as sulphate and black carbon) 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.  This project seeks to quantify the large scale atmospheric circulation response to these climate change drivers, and the relative contributions of direct atmospheric adjustments and sea-surface temperature driven feedbacks. The project focuses particularly on the Southern Hemisphere midlatitudes, comparing output from large climate model intercomparison projects such as CMIP and PDRMIP and designing and implementing climate model experiments.


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

Research groups and institutes

  • Institute for Climate and Atmospheric Science