The Climate Systems and Policy research cluster aims to build on research excellence in three areas - physical climate and biogeochemical processes, impacts and adaptation to climate change, and mitigation policy and science.

Physical climate and biogeochemical processesResearch focuses improving our understanding of fundamental processes in key Earth-system tipping elements and climate change hotspots, including mineral aerosols in the land-surface-atmosphere system, biogeochemical cycling and ecosystem dynamics in tropical forest systems, processes of variability and change in African climate, changes in global and regional hydrological cycles, and climate processes in the Himalaya and Andes.
Impacts and adaptation to climate changeResearch aims to improve the scientific basis for impacts/adaptation assessment and decision making. This includes evaluation of fitness for purpose of climate model data, climate downscaling, development of novel methods for assessment of impacts of climate change, especially biodiversity and water resources, and adaptation, with a focus on robust decision making and challenges posed by large climate changes.
Mitigation policy and scienceAttention is on more radical carbon reductions and shorter time scales, with major implications for both energy systems and management of carbon sinks, and on establishing stronger socio-political theoretical understanding of mitigation and governance at a range of scales from Earth-system to local community.

Key research initiatives closely associated with the cluster include several national and international programmes including the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC), Adaptation and Resilience in a Changing Climate (ARCC), Climate Change, Agriculture, and Food Security (CCAFS), UK Infrastructure Transitions Research Consortium, the Oxford node of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research,,, and components of major research programmes focused on Africa (e.g. CLIVAR VACS African Climate Atlas) and the Amazon (Pan-Amazonia). Until recently the School hosted the international project office of the Global Environmental Change and Food Security Programme (GECAFS) which closed in 2011.

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  • Malhi, Y., Doughty, C.E., Goldsmith, G.R., Girardin, C.A.J., Marthews, T.R., Aguila-Pasquel, J., Aragao, L.E.O.C., Araujo-Murakami, A., Brando, P., da Costa, A.C.L., Silva-Espejo, J.E., Amezquita, F.F., Galbraith, D.R., Quesada, C.A., Rocha, W., Salinas-Revilla, N., Silverio, D., Meir, P. and Phillips, O.L. (2015) The linkages between photosynthesis, productivity, growth and biomass in lowland Amazonian forests. Global Change Biology.
  • Sovacool, B.K., Ryan, S.E., Stern, P.C., Janda, K., Rochlin, G., Spreng, D., Pasqualetti, M.J., Whlhite, H. and Lutzenhiser, L. (2015) Integrating social science in energy research. Energy Research and Social Science: 95-99.
  • Marthews, T.R., Dadson, S.J., Lehner, B., Abele, S. and Gedney, N. (2015) High-resolution global topographic index values for use in large-scale hydrological modelling. Hydrological and Earth System Sciences, 19: 91-104.
  • Atkin, O.K., Bloomfield, K.J., Reich, P.B., Tjoelker, M.G., Asner, G.P., Bonal, D., Bönisch, G., Bradford, M., Cernusak, L.A., Cosio, E.G., Creek, D., Crous, K.Y., Domingues, T., Dukes, J.S., Egerton, J.J.G., Evans, J.R., Farquhar, G.D., Fyllas, N.M., Gauthier, P.P.G., Gloor, E., Gimeno, T.E., Griffin, K.L., Guerrieri, R., Heskel, M.A., Huntingford, C., Ishida, F.Y., Kattge, J., Lambers, H., Liddell, M.J., Lloyd, J., Lusk, C.H., Martin, R.E., Maksimov, A.P., Maximov, T.C., Mahli, Y., Medlyn, B.E., Meir, P., Mercado, L.M., Mirotchnick, N., Ng, D., Niinemets, Ü., O'Sullivan, O.S., Philips, O.L., Poorter, L., Poot, P., Prentice, I.C., Salinas, N., Rowland, L.M., Ryan, M.G., Sitch, S., Slot, M., Smith, N.G., Turnbull, M.H., VanderWel, M.C., Valladares, F., Veneklaas, E.J., Weerasinghe, L.K., Wirth, C., Wright, I.J., Wythers, K., Xiang, J., Xiang, S. and Zaragoza-Castells, J. (2015) Global variability in leaf respiration in relation to climate, plant functional types and leaf traits. New Phytologist.

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