Dr Christine McKenna

Dr Christine McKenna


I joined the Institute for Climate and Atmospheric Science (ICAS) in October 2019 as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow. I worked with Amanda Maycock on the EU-funded CONSTRAIN project, which aimed to better understand and constrain uncertainty in future projections of climate change. My work focused on changes in large-scale atmospheric circulation – in particular, the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) – and using multi-model Large Ensembles to quantify uncertainty in these changes. Most recently I looked at the role of future changes in the NAO for changes in European winter precipitation and, also, the impact of NAO and East Atlantic Pattern variations on storm impacts including wind gusts, extreme daily rainfall, and storm surge. 

Before coming to Leeds, I studied for my PhD at the British Antarctic Survey and University of Cambridge. In my PhD I used an intermediate global circulation model, IGCM4, to look at how the large-scale atmospheric circulation changes in response to Arctic sea-ice loss. In particular, I examined whether the response is sensitive to different regions or magnitudes of sea-ice loss, and the relative roles played by tropospheric and stratospheric mechanisms. I also looked at the influence of atmospheric internal variability with regards to uncertainty in simulated atmospheric responses to sea-ice loss.

In March 2023, I moved into the private sector to work as an atmospheric scientist for JBA Consulting, a flood risk consultancy. I maintain a Visiting Researcher status within ICAS to facilitate ongoing research links and future collaborations. 

Recently published:

  • Dow, W. J., C. M. McKenna, M. M. Joshi, A. T. Blaker, R. Rigby, & A. C. Maycock, Intensified Aleutian Low induces weak Pacific Decadal Variability, Weather and Climate Dynamics, 5, 357–367, https://doi.org/10.5194/wcd-5-357-2024, 2024.

In press:

  • Saffin, L., C. M. McKenna, R. Bonnet, & A. C. Maycock, Large sampling uncertainty when diagnosing the ‘eddy feedback parameter’ and its role in the signal-to-noise paradox, Geophysical Research Letters, in press.


  • Bonnet, R., C. M. McKenna, & A. C. Maycock, Model spread in multidecadal NAO variability connected to stratosphere-troposphere coupling, Weather and Climate Dynamics, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2023-3103, revised.
  • Perez, J., A. C. Maycock, S. Griffiths, S. Hardiman, & C. M. McKenna, A new characterization of the North Atlantic eddy-driven jet using 2-dimensional moment analysis, Weather and Climate Dynamics, revised.

In preparation:

  • Maycock, A. C., C. M. McKenna, M. Priestley, J. Perez, & J. F. Lockwood, The relationship of European extratropical cyclone hazards to large-scale modes of variability, in prep.
  • Charnay, V., C. M. McKenna, & A. C. Maycock, Uncertainty in projected sea surface temperature trends and North Pacific atmospheric circulation, Climate Dynamics, in prep.

Research interests

  • Large-scale atmospheric circulation
  • North Atlantic Oscillation
  • Climate dynamics
  • Climate variability
  • Climate modelling
  • Large “initial-condition” ensembles (LEs)
  • Rainfall extremes
  • Flooding


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


  • PhD Atmospheric Dynamics - University of Cambridge and British Antarctic Survey, 2019
  • MSc Atmosphere, Ocean, and Climate - University of Reading, 2015
  • BSc Geography and Mathematics - University of St Andrews, 2014

Professional memberships

  • Royal Meteorological Society

Research groups and institutes

  • Institute for Climate and Atmospheric Science