Professor Ken Carslaw FRS

Professor Ken Carslaw FRS


Ken Carslaw is a professor in the Institute for Climate and Atmospheric Science. His research focuses on aerosol effects on climate. Ken did his PhD at the University of East Anglia using thermodynamic models to demonstrate the existence of liquid polar stratospheric cloud particles. In 1994 he joined the Aerosol Microphysics group at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz, where he published several influential papers on polar stratospheric clouds. Since 1999 Ken has led a large aerosol, cloud and climate research group at Leeds. From 2005-2008 he was Director of Research in the School of Earth and Environment and then Director of the Institute for Climate and Atmospheric Science from 2014 to 2017, during which time he created the Centre for Environmental Modelling and Computation. His group developed the Global Model of Aerosol Processes (GLOMAP) that is now implemented in the Met Office climate model. In 2001, while at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Ken cofounded the European Geosciences Union journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, which pioneered a model of open access publishing and transparent peer review in the geosciences. He is now Co-Chief Editor.

Ken was elected was elected Fellow of the American Geophysical Union in 2019 and Fellow of the Royal Society in 2024. He has received several awards for his research, including the Philip Leverhulme Prize, the Royal Society Wolfson Merit Award, the American Geophysical Union Ascent Award, the Royal Meteorological Society Adrian Gill Prize, and has been a Thomson Reuters (Clarivate Analytics) Highly Cited Scientist in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021. Ken is author of the book Aerosols and Climate.

Aerosols and Climate (Elsevier, 2022)



Research interests

Overview. Ken's research aims to improve our understanding of atmospheric aerosol particles and the effects they have on climate. His publications cover much of this field, including natural aerosols, Arctic aerosols, aerosol formation, dust and biogeochemistry, ice-nucleating particles, radiative forcing, volcanic impacts on climate and health, palaeo-aerosols, air quality, uncertainty quantification, geoengineering, stratospheric aerosols, polar stratospheric clouds and the ozone hole.

His early research led to the discovery of liquid polar stratospheric clouds and the role of large cloud particles in Arctic denitrification. His group was among the first developers of a global model of aerosol microphysics (GLOMAP) which is now part of the UK Earth System Model. His group's research established that new particle formation accounts for around half of climate-relevant aerosol particles in the atmosphere. In the CERN CLOUD experiment his research led to the first global model of new particle formation based entirely on laboratory measurements, a status achieved for gas-phase chemistry over thirty years ago. Ken's group has a wide interest in natural aerosols, showing that they are a major component of the uncertainty in aerosol effects on climate. His group also developed a global model of ice-nucleating particles based solely on laboratory measurements of their physical properties, leading to an explanation of large biases in radiation in climate models. His research increasingly focuses on reducing model uncertainty by applying novel statistical techniques and extensive observations.

Current research. Ken’s research group is currently working on:

  • Global modelling of ice-nucleating particles (Dr Ross Herbert, NERC MPhase project)
  • The influence of ice-nucleating particles on high-latitude mixed-phase clouds using observations and the high-resolution Met Office model (PhDs Xinyi Huang and Erin Raif)
  • Building fast model emulators of cloud drop formation (Rachel Sansom, NERC CLOSURE project)
  • The effect of marine biogenic activity on high-latitude clouds and climate (PhD Eszter Kovacs)
  • Aerosol modulation of Arctic clouds and climate (PhD Imogen Wadlow)
  • New particle formation (PhD Xinyue Shao, Nanjing University visiting PhD student)
  • Trends in aerosols and clouds over China and the North Pacific (PhD Jingyi Liu, Leeds-Nanjing University Dual Award PhD programme)
  • Statistical methods to quantify and reduce uncertainty in aerosol forcing (PhD Lea Prevost and Dr Kunal Ghosh, NERC AerosolMFR project). 

Group alumni (as of 2023)

  • Prof Dominick Spracklen, Professor, Leeds (PhD/postdoc)
  • Prof Hannele Korhonen, Director of Climate Research Programme, Research Professor, Finnish Meteorological Institute (Postdoc)
  • Prof Anja Schmidt, Head of Department Earth System Modelling, DLR, Germany (PhD/postdoc)
  • Dr Stewart Davies, Senior Environment and Sustainability Advisor, enfinium (PhD student)
  • Dr Kirsty Pringle, Project Manager - Software Sustainability Institute (PhD/postdoc)
  • Prof Yan Yin, Dean, School of Atmospheric Physics, Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology, China (Postdoc)
  • Dr Graham Mann, Lecturer Leeds (Postdoc)
  • Dr Tom Breider, Principal Data Scientist., The RepTrak Company, Boston, MA, USA (Phd Student)
  • Dr Kathryn Emmerson, Principal Research Scientist, CSIRO, Australia (Postdoc)
  • Dr Maria Grazia Frontoso, Head of Customer Engineering, Google Cloud, Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland (Postdoc)
  • Dr Matt Woodhouse, CSIRO, Australia (PhD student)
  • Prof Celine Planche, Associate Professor, University Clermont Auvergne, Laboratory in Atmospheric Physics, France (Postdoc)
  • Dr Paul Manktelow, Associate Technical Director – Air Quality, Arcadis (PhD student)
  • Prof Zongbo Shi, Professor, University of Birmingham (Postdoc)
  • Dr Gerry Devine, Senior Research Data Librarian, University of New South Wales, Australia (PhD student)
  • Dr Lindsay Lee, Data Scientist, University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) (Postdoc)
  • Dr Carly Reddington, University of Leeds (PhD/postdoc)
  • Dr David Ridley, Research Scientist, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA (PhD student)
  • Dr Eimear Dunne, Cambridge University (PhD student)
  • Dr Joonas Merikanto, Senior Researcher, Finnish Meteorological Institute, Finland (Postdoc)
  • Dr Zhiqiang Cui, Postdoc and Centre for Environmental Modelling and Computation, Leeds  (Postdoc)
  • Dr Jo Browse, Lecturer, University of Exeter (PhD/postdoc)
  • Dr Rongming Hu, Research Fellow, University of Galway, Ireland (Postdoc)
  • Dr Cat Scott, NERC Independent Research Fellow & University Academic Fellow, University of Leeds (PhD/postdoc)
  • Dr Douglas Hamilton, Assistant Professor, University of North Carolina (PhD student)
  • Dr Jill Johnson, Lecturer in Applied Statistics, Sheffield University (Postdoc)
  • Dr Steven Turnock, Met Office (PhD student)
  • Dr Hamish Gordon, Assistant Professor, Carnegie Mellon University, USA (Postdoc)
  • Dr Jesus Vergara-Temprado, Energy trading analyst - Trisolaris/Second Foundation (Phd student)
  • Dr Lauren Marshall, Lecturer, Durham University (PhD student)
  • Dr Leighton Regayre, Met Office & Centre for Environmental Modelling and Computation, Leeds (PhD/postdoc)
  • Dr Robin Stevens, Research Scientist, Environment Canada (Postdoc)
  • Dr Alberto Sanchez-Marroquin, Barcelona Supercomputing Centre (Postdoc)
  • Dr Daniel Grosvenor, Met Office (Postdoc)
  • Dr Kamalika Sengupta, Secondary school teacher (PhD student)
  • Dr Ananth Ranjithkumar, British Antarctic Survey (PhD student)
  • Dr Xuemei Wang, Carnegie Mellon University (PhD student)
  • Dr Ruth Price, British Antarctic Survey (PhD student)
  • Dr Rachel Hawker, Research Lead, Climate Arc (PhD student)
  • Dr Amy Peace, Met Office (PhD student)
  • Dr Rachel Sansom, Postdoc, Leeds (PhD student)


<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • BSc, Physics, University of Birmingham
  • MSc, Atmospheric Science, University of East Anglia
  • PhD, Atmospheric Science, University of East Anglia

Professional memberships

  • American Geophysical Union
  • Royal Meteorological Society
  • European Geosciences Union
  • Co-Chief Editor, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics

Student education

At undergraduate level Ken is an Academic Personal Tutor. He leads 2nd year Climate Change Science and Impacts (10 credits) and 3rd year Atmospheric Physics (10 credits). He teaches on 3rd year Coupled Atmosphere-Ocean Climate Processes (5/10 credits). At Masters level he leads the MRes Research Project module (90 credits) and the Scientific Quality and Discourse module (15 credits).

Research groups and institutes

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

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>