Professor Richard Washington
- Professor of Climate Science
- Fellow and Tutor at Keble College, Oxford
- Director of the Radcliffe Meteorological Station
- Member of the Climate Systems and Policy research cluster
- Member of the Landscape Dynamics research cluster
Richard Washington is Professor of Climate Science at the School of Geography and the Environment and Fellow of Keble College, Oxford. His specializes in African climate science.
He has degrees from the University of Natal and University of Oxford and taught at the University of Natal and University of Cape Town. His doctorate was on African rainfall variability and change, which was undertaken jointly between the University of Oxford under Professor Alayne Street-Perrott and Chris Folland's group at the Hadley Centre of the UK Meteorological Office. He took up a University Lectureship position and Fellowship at Keble College in 1999, a Readership in 2006 and was made professor in 2010.
Richard is Co-Chair World Climate Research Program African Climate Variability Panel (CLIVAR-VACS) 2006-2010 and served as a panel member of CLIVAR-VACS from 2003-2006. Richard leads the development of the CLIVAR Africa Climate Atlas. He is Principal Investigator of the NERC Consortium Fennec - The Saharan Climate System and Principal Investigator of the NERC research grant Dust Observations for Models. He serves on the steering committee and on the Project Assurance Team of the Met Office-DFID Climate Science Research Partnership He is the Lead author of DFID and Defra commissioned 'African Climate Report' for the Gleaneagles 2005 G8 and has been a contributing author to the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change chapters on Observed Climate and Africa for the 2007 and 2001 reports. He was a member of the eight-strong Leadership Group tasked with the development of the Climate Change Challenge Program, a joint multi-million dollar proposal between ESSP and CGIAR entitled Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security.
He has served as the World Climate Research Program representative to the International Council for Science southern Africa as well as membership of several external steering committees including AFRICANNESS (African Earth System Science) and the Stockholm Environment Institute-Oxford. He was one of 12 members of the NERC Climate Science Strategy Panel for the forthcoming 2007-2012 NERC Science Strategy. He has taught on several World Climate Program "Climate Information and Prediction Services (CLIPS)" Workshops, including Nairobi, Niamey, Dar Es Salaam, Qatar and, most recently, in Tunis. He has served on the panel of judges for the Best Research Paper (SA Society for Atmospheric Scientists) from 2003-2009.
His research efforts and opinions have been reported in:
- Nature, 434: p816-819 (14 Apr 2005) Bodélé Dust Experiment.
- Nature, 444: p126 (9 Nov 2006) Bodélé Dust Transport to Amazon.
- Nature, 435, p862-863 (16 June 2005) African Climate and G8.
- Science, 313, p608-609 (4 August 2006) African Monsoon.
Richard is an associate of Climate Change Risk Management.
Richard is engaged in research on climate change and variability in Africa. Much of his current research is focused on mineral aerosol production in Africa such as diagnosing the controls on mineral aerosol (dust) emission and transport from the key global sources. A key feature of these programmes is major field observational campaigns to remote areas where the dust sources are located. This work has included field experiments in the world's largest source of mineral aerosols, the Bodélé Depression Chad (BodEx field experiment) for which he was co-PI. (see article [PDF: 902KB] in Nature). He was one of the co-authors to be awarded the Environmental Research Letters Outstanding Article Award in 2007 for a paper on Bodélé dust and the Amazon basin. More recently the work has been built around the Fennec and DO4Models programmes which he leads.
He also works on African climate change, in particular evaluating how mechanisms of rainfall are represented in global and regional climate models and how these mechanisms work in the real world. This interest has extended to the preparation of climate variability and change assessments and future scenarios of African and tropical climate for a variety of government agencies and NGOs.
Applications of this work in development problems have seen his involvement in a variety of UK Government Initiatives. In 2004 the UK government, through a joint DEFRA and DFID effort, commissioned Richard to write a report on African climate:
- Study on African climate Change
- Results of Study
- African Climate Report [PDF: 178KB, DEFRA website]
- Press Release
For further details on current research, see: http://www.geog.ox.ac.uk/~rwashing/research/.
Recent research funding includes:
- Fennec - The Saharan Climate System (NERC consortium grant, PI, 3.5m GBP total);
- DO4Models - Dust Observations for Models (NERC joint grant, PI, 1.1m GBP total);
- Tyndall Centre for Climate Change, PI Climate Outlooks;
- CCAFS - Analysis of Climate Models and climate trends in Africa, 2011-2012, PI, 100K;
- RGS Gilchrist Award, PI on Bodélé Dust Experiment;
- DFID African Climate Report; and
- DFID Climate Risk Kenya.
Selected Research Projects (since 2001)
- DO4 Models: Dust Observation
In collaboration with Professor David S.G. Thomas; Dr Giles Wiggs; University of Sheffield and Imperial College London; Financial support from NERC; (2010-2014)
- Fennec - The Saharan Climate System
- Tyndall: Research Programme 4: Climate Change and Development
In collaboration with Professor David S.G. Thomas; Prof Kate Brown (University of East Anglia) and Dr Henny Osbahr (University of Reading); Financial support from Tyndall Centre; (2006-2009)
Richard received the University of Oxford teaching excellence award in 2010.
Richard teaches the 'Climatology' and 'Earth Observation and Application in Geography' courses for the Preliminary Examination.
He lectures on 'Observed Climate Change, Models and Climate Change Detection, Attribution and Prediction' as part of the 'Drivers of Environmental Change' part of the 'The Geographical Environment: Physical' course course, and on 'The Enterprise of Climate Science' for the Philosophy, Nature, and Practice of Geography core course, in the Final Honour School. He also lectures on 'General Circulation, Modes of Climate Variability, Seasonal Prediction, and Climate Models' for the Final Honour School Special Subject course 'Climate Variability and Change'.
Professor Washington teaches on two MSc programmes, Water and Environmental Change and Management.
Research Team includes:
- Sebastian Engelstaedter (Fennec)
- Christopher Allen (Fennec)
Atmospheric mechanisms of mineral aerosol emission and transport over the central Sahara desert
- Karsten Haustein (DO4Models)
- James King (DO4Models)
- Ian Ashpole
Satellite retrieval and analysis of dust mechanisms in the central Sahara
- Rachel James
Implications of global warming for African climate
- Helen Pearce
Mechanisms of East African rainfall
- Said Al Sarmi
The mechanisms of Oman / Arabia climate variability
D.Phil. students successfully completing since 2001:
- Antony Millner (2010)
Information, decisions, and behaviour: theoretical essays on the value of climate predictions
- Nynke Hofstra (2009)
Changes in daily climate and runoff trends in Europe.
- Hang Gao (2008)
Chinese dust storms: origins and mechanisms - a TOMS based research
- Gillian Kay (2008)
Mechanisms of southern African rainfall variability in coupled climate models.
- Sebastian Engelstaedter (2007)
An analysis of the role of the atmosphere in modulating desert dust variability: controls on emission and atmospheric transport
For details on publications, see: