Dr Tamara Fletcher

Dr Tamara Fletcher


Tamara Fletcher is a palaeoclimatologist, Marie Sklodowska Curie Individual Fellow, and is a founding member of the international research group, PoLAR-FIT.

Fletcher's primary research focus is the problem of Arctic Amplification of temperature during past global warm periods; our models underestimate polar warming in past warm periods and Fletcher and colleagues are working to find our why. Their field work takes place in remote landscapes such as central Queensland, and more recently, Ellesmere Island, in the Canadian High Arctic.
Funding for this work has been provided by the European Commission (MSCA-IF),  National Geographic, Endeavour Research Fellowships, The Chinese Academy of Sciences, The Polar Continental Shelf Program, NSF-Polar Systems, and an Australian Postgraduate Award. Results have been featured by national news outlets in Australia, The Conversation, Science News, and early achievements recognised through admission to The University of Queensland, Future Leaders.

Research interests

Cloud is the greatest source of uncertainty in climate models and changes in cloud disproportionately impact high-latitude temperatures. My interdisciplinary work with climate modellers identified cloud-aerosol interactions as important feedbacks to Pliocene Arctic climate. Modelling experiments for other past warm periods have found that alteration to cloud in simulations can resolve insufficient polar amplification of temperature; however, there is no way to verify these are accurate changes to cloud simulation, as there is no method to reconstruct cloud in the distant past, and only two methods that reconstruct cloud in limited regions for the Holocene. Plant community, foliar physiognomic, and leaf micromorphological methods all have promising data suggesting correlation either directly to cloud or to light and are thus likely candidates for cloud reconstruction. The recent availability of modern global cloud data products and global biodiversity databases (e.g. gbif.org) facilitate expansion of palaeoclimate reconstruction methods to include cloud.

I aim to reduce uncertainty in cloud simulation by developing novel methods to reconstruct cloud. I will apply the new methods to Pliocene datasets, and use the reconstructions to test climate model simulation of cloud. For the first time, testing model simulation of clouds outside our recent climate space will be possible. It is likely to stimulate further research in climate model development, cloud research, and cloud reconstruction in other periods in Earth history.

<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 in Palaeontology, University of Queensland, 2014
  • Grad. Cert Arts, Philosophy of Science, 2009
  • Grad. Cert Communications, Science Communication, 2008
  • BSc Hons First Class, Zoology, 2007
  • BSc Zoology, 2006

Professional memberships

  • PlioMIP3
  • PlioMioVAR
  • European Geosciences Union
  • Geological Society of America
  • International Organisation of Palaeobotanists
  • Association of Polar Early Career Scientists

Research groups and institutes

  • Earth Surface Science Institute
  • Institute for Climate and Atmospheric Science