The Climate Systems 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.

The cluster includes varied themes - such as food, water and energy - as well as policy related to any of those issues. It also encompasses hydrology and climate science.

Physical climate and biogeochemical processesResearch focuses on 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 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 extreme events.
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 UK Infrastructure Transitions Research Consortium;, including weather@home and World Weather Attribution;; the MaRIUS project (Managing the Risks, Impacts and Uncertainties of drought and water Scarcity); and components of major research programmes focused on Africa (e.g. CLIVAR VACS African Climate Atlas).

News and Research Highlights

22/11/22 22 November 2022 -
Image: robu_s / Adobe Stock
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A new World Emissions Clock aims to increase climate action with improved projections Land use emissions estimation data from the Environmental Change Institute is being used to assist in providing projections for a new World Emissions Clock. It's hoped these calculations will inform investment decisions and speed up efforts for global climate security.
18/11/22 18 November 2022 -
Storms over the Democratic Republic of Congo from the DRYCAB camp at Nchila in NW Zambia (photo Charlie Knight).
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SoGE research in North-west Zambia: DRYCAB Project Climate change is expected to impose a considerable burden on the southern African region as it is one of two land-based areas of the planet where large-scale drying is projected to occur in future decades. A lot of the early summer drying is expected to result from the late onset of the rains after the six month long dry season. However much of what we know depends entirely on models rather than observations. In an effort to sharpen our understanding, a team from Oxford joined up with the Zambian Met Department from August to November 2022 to compile a comprehensive dataset on the onset of the rainy season as part of the NERC funded DRYCAB project.
17/11/22 17 November 2022 -
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Can the world feed 8bn people sustainably? Dr Tara Garnett, of Oxford University's Environmental Change Institute, explores the dietary changes needed to feed 8 billion people sustainably. She argues that widespread dietary change cannot be achieved by focusing on individuals. 'Stop blaming the individual is one point I would make. There is a much greater role for government leadership and the food industry to play.'
15/11/22 15 November 2022 -
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Expert comments: COP27 Gender Day The power of women as key drivers of climate solutions yesterday took centre stage at the COP27 climate conference in Sharm el-Sheikh. SoGE researchers Alex McGivern and Sugandha Srivastav, and MSc Nature, Society and Environmental Governance alumna Sana Sherif share their insights.

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