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Earth system modelling

Earth system modelling

Earth system modelling and integrated assessment modelling are about investigating the future of the Earth system and the response to ongoing climate change. Ultimately a key aim is testing the effectiveness of environment policies in producing desirable outcomes for society. At the OU we use a range of Earth system models of intermediate complexity to study past and future change in the Earth system and related socio-economic developments.

We are particularly interested in the quantification of uncertainty, and the long-timescale dynamics of the Earth system, including the interactions between environment and biodiversity. We also work on the development of human civilisation and the socio-economic dynamics of climate change mitigation policy. The group has recently had modelling related studies of past and future change accepted in Nature Climate Change and Science.

Qualifications available:

PhD or MPhil


For detailed information on current fees visit Fees and funding.

Entry requirements:

Minimum 2:1 (or equivalent)

Potential research projects

We encourage enquiries from prospective students on palaeoceanography and polar oceanography linked to the expertise of the potential supervisors. Specific project titles for 2020 will be available online in late 2019.

Please also see further opportunities.

Current/recent research projects

  • The use of statistical emulators in climate modelling
  • Investigations into the glacial-interglacial change in atmospheric CO2
  • Statistical emulation for environmental sustainability analysis
  • Sustainable infrastructures for inclusivity in south-south cooperation
  • Understanding uncertainty in the weak underbelly of Antarctica
  • The oceanographic impact of the Weddell Sea Polynya.

Potential supervisors

Further information

If you have an enquiry specific to this research area please contact:

Administrative support
+44 (0)1908 332 943

For general enquiries please contact the Research Degrees Team via the link under 'Your Questions' on the right of the page.