Academic Profile

Ian is a postdoctoral researcher working on the Improving Model Processes for African cLimAte (IMPALA) project with Professor Richard Washington. His DPhil (completed in summer 2013), focused on identifying and explaining spatial and temporal variability in the distribution of Saharan dust. He has a BA in Geography from the University of Oxford, with special subjects in Climate Dynamics and Dryland Environments. Prior to starting his D.Phil., Ian undertook a research placement at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH), where he worked with Dr Simon Dadson to characterise river flow in the Niger inland delta.

Current Research

Ian's research focuses on atmospheric dust over the Sahara desert. An overview of his work can be seen in the following short video clip: Oxford SEED talk.

Ian is currently working to improve the simulation of dust emissions from North Africa in the Met Office Unified Model, by incorporating a new "preferential dust source map". This forces the model to only emit dust from areas that we know to be dust sources from satellite observations. Currently, dust originates from unrealistic areas in the model, a result of the surface properties that determine the location of potential dust sources being poorly described (this itself is a function of a lack of good quality observations of surface properties in remote desert areas). More accurate dust emissions yield measurable improvements in model weather and climate and improve the skill with which dust storms can be forecasted in real time.

In addition, Ian works extensively with satellite data to identify Saharan dust sources and to determine both the meteorological processes involved in their activation and also their surface characteristics. By combining satellite imagery with meteorological and surface data, Ian also researches the links between the atmospheric circulation and variability in dust distribution over North Africa. He is expanding this work to include the Middle East, and plans to apply his research methods to other dryland areas that are also prone to dust storms.


Selected Publications

  • View Dr Ian Ashpole's ORCID profile
  • View Dr Ian Ashpole's Scopus profile
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From the database

As previously listed