Atmosphere, Ice and Climate team

Our ambition

Is to understand the processes that control climate and atmospheric composition in the polar regions and thus to understand the role of the polar regions in controlling the global atmosphere and climate. By doing this, we aim to reduce uncertainties in predictions of both polar and global atmospheric composition and climate.

British Antarctic Survey scientist Ted Maksym studies an ice core taken through first year sea ice in the Bellingshausen Sea during the JR240 ICEBell cruise on RRS James Clark Ross (seen in the background
BAS scientist studies an ice core taken through first year sea ice in the Bellingshausen Sea.

Our three research groups investigate (i) high-latitude climate variability, change and predictability, (ii) the physical processes that control the polar atmosphere and sea ice and (iii) controls on the chemical composition of the polar atmosphere and their implication for the interpretation of ice core records. Additionally, the team is responsible for maintaining long-term observations of weather, climate and atmospheric composition at our research stations and from a number of remote sites.

Team priorities

Science

  • Determine patterns of change and variability in the high-latitude atmosphere. Optimise the use and analysis of sustained, long-term observations and studies.
  • Atmosphere-ocean interactions. Explore the ways in which the polar atmosphere interacts with the polar oceans, cryosphere, upper atmosphere and the global climate system.
  • Climate and atmopsheric composition. Carry out targeted studies (using both observations and models) of key processes that control polar climate and atmospheric composition, including atmosphere-ocean-sea ice interaction, sea-ice dynamics, clouds, aerosols, waves and turbulence.
  • Determine the causes of climate change in the polar regions. To what degree can observed change be attributed to human forcings (greenhouse gases, stratospheric ozone depletion), natural forcings (e.g. volcanic aerosols, solar variability) and internal variability (“chaos”)?
  • Reduce uncertainty in predictions of polar and global climate and atmospheric composition through improved representation of polar processes in atmospheric, climate and earth system models.

Technology, innovation and training

  • Use state-of-the-art scientific instrumentation, as well as BAS’s unique polar platforms (airborne and ground-based), to achieve science priorities
  • Exploit novel autonomous platforms and instrumentation to open up new possibilities for observations.
  • Exploit national capability in high-performance computing to develop and apply cutting-edge numerical models and data analysis techniques to solve defined science questions
  • Train the next generation of polar atmospheric scientists
  • Maintain a suite of meteorological and atmospheric chemistry equipment to deliver long-term observations for climate/composition research. Train personnel on the operation and maintenance of this equipment to ensure the best data quality.

 Influencing and leading international programmes

  • Collaborate with leading UK and international research teams to tackle high impact science questions and drive the research agenda
  • Take a leading role in the planning and implementation of polar science programmes through organisations such as the Scientific Committee for Antarctic Research, the World Climate Research Programme and the International Association of Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences
  • Contribute sustained observations to World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) programmes, such as the Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW) and the Global Cryosphere Watch (GCW). Develop sustained observations at BAS stations to meet the requirements of these programmes

 Stakeholder engagement

  • Produce briefings on policy-relevant science for UK government departments (DEFRA, DECC, etc.) and the European Parliament
  • Work with the UK Met Office to determine priorities for meteorological observations in British Antarctic Territory
  • Collaborate with instrument manufacturers to develop the systems that we need to deliver our science

 Public engagement

  • Disseminate our findings, published in the highest-impact journals, through presentations in leading national and international forums
  • Participate in BAS media and public engagement programmes and support our early career scientists in their public engagement activities

 

Thomas Bracegirdle

Climatologist

Neil Brough

Atmospheric Chemist

Hoi Ga Chan

PHD Student

Steve Colwell

Operational Meteorologist

Pranab Deb

West Antarctic Climate Modeller

Markus Frey

Atmospheric & Glaciochemist

Rosey Grant

Support Meteorologist

Scott Hosking

Global Climate Modeller

Anna Jones

Deputy Science Leader Atmosphere, Ice and Climate Team

John King

Science Leader

Amelie Kirchgaessner

Atmospheric Scientist

Thomas Lachlan-Cope

Head Climate Processes Group

Constantino Listowski

Cloud Physicist/Modeller

Hua Lu

Atmospheric Scientist: Stratosphere/Troposhere Coupling

Gareth Marshall

Senior Climatologist

Tracy Moffat-Griffin

Gravity Wave Physicist

Andrew Orr

Regional Climate Modeller

Tony Phillips

Climate Data Modeller

James Pope

Climate Modeller

Lydia Prieg

PhD Student

John Turner

Variability Climatologist

Jenny Turton

PhD Student Algorithm

Alexandra Weiss

Aircraft Data Analyst

Ian White

PhD Student

Jeremy Wilkinson

Sea Ice Physicist

Xin Yang

Atmospheric Chemistry Modeller

ANGWIN

ANGWIN (in the Cornish English dialect ANGWIN means “the white”) is a concept that is designed to develop a network of Antarctic gravity wave observatories, operated by different nations working …

Microphysics of Antarctic Clouds NE

Introduction and Background The largest uncertainties in future climate predictions highlighted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate change (IPCC 2007) arise from our lack of knowledge of the interaction of …

Meteorology and Ozone Monitoring

Long-term meteorological and ozone observations and data help determine the causes of climate change in the polar regions. Meteorology Meteorological observations are made regularly throughout the day at Halley and …

MASE

Mars Analogues for Space Exploration


Blowing snow and sea ice

The source of sea salt aerosols in the polar regions appears to be linked to sea ice surfaces, but exact details are unclear. Defining the sources is important given the …

ABSCISSA Arctic Sea-Ice-Zone Blowing Snow

The source of sea-salt aerosols in the Polar Regions appears to be linked to sea ice surfaces, but exact details are unclear. Defining the sources is important given the critical …


ICE-ARC

physicists, chemists, biologists, economists, and sociologists from 21 institutes in 11 countries across Europe assess the rapid retreat and collapse of Arctic sea-ice cover

ISOL-ICE

PI: Markus M. Frey Co-I’s: X. Yang, R. Mulvaney NERC Grant: NE/N011813/1 The ozone layer shields all land-based life forms from harmful ultraviolet radiation; and indirectly influences the climate at …



ARCTIC BLOG: Setting foot back on land

27 March, 2015 by Markus Frey

Diary entry: Friday 27 March 2015 Time: 2200 hrs UTC Position: 78° 13′ N / 15° 33′ E Air Temperature: +1.5 °C Wind Speed: 8 knots We made it! After 38 days onboard the …


ARCTIC BLOG: Total solar eclipse

20 March, 2015 by Markus Frey

Diary entry: Friday 20 March 2015 Time: 1200 hrs UTC Position: 81° 44.23′ N / 19° 36.9′ E Air Temperature: −27.4 °C Wind Speed: 14 knots Nature is displaying a magnificent and …


ARCTIC BLOG: Enduring an Arctic storm

18 March, 2015 by Markus Frey

Diary entry: Wednesday 18 March 2015 Time: 2237 hrs UTC Position: 82° 34.7′ N / 22° 43.6′ E Air Temperature: −32.6 °C Wind Speed: 12 knots The storm lasted not even 48 hours, …






A recent pause in Antarctic Peninsula warming

20 July, 2016

The rapid warming of the Antarctic Peninsula, which occurred from the early-1950s to the late 1990s, has paused. Stabilisation of the ozone hole along with natural climate variability were significant in bringing about the change. Together these influences have now caused the northern part of the peninsula to enter a temporary cooling phase. Temperatures remain higher than measured during the middle of the 20th Century and glacial retreat is still taking place. However, scientists predict that if greenhouse gas concentrations continue to rise at the current rate, temperatures will increase across the Antarctic Peninsula by several degrees Centigrade by the end of this century.



Carbon dioxide level breached at Halley VI

16 June, 2016

Levels of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere – which is the leading driver of recent climate change – have reached a milestone at British Antarctic Survey’s …



FEATURED PAPER: Polar Vortex teleconnection

26 January, 2016

This paper provides new evidence and proposes a new dynamical mechanism for the teleconnection between the two largest jet streams in the northern winter stratosphere – the tropical wind system …



NEWS STORY: Arctic sea ice 2015

17 September, 2015

Arctic sea ice 2015 On September 11, the National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC) reported that Arctic sea ice reached its likely minimum extent for 2015. The minimum ice …




NEWS STORY: Polar ice cores reveal volcanic eruptions

8 July, 2015

Polar ice cores reveal volcanic eruptions that changed human history Researchers find new evidence that large eruptions were responsible for cold temperature extremes recorded since early Roman times A freshly …


NEWS STORY: Ozone hole 30th anniversary

11 May, 2015

30th Anniversary of the Discovery of Ozone Hole This week British Antarctic Survey (BAS) commemorates the 30th anniversary of one of its most important scientific discoveries that affected the world …


NEWS STORY: Live link to the Arctic

1 May, 2015

Digital Explorer launches virtual adventure on the ice at the UK Arctic Research Station The British Antarctic Survey is proud to support Digital Explorer’s second visit to the UK Arctic …


PRESS RELEASE: Mapping the ice from below

24 November, 2014

Underwater robot sheds new light on Antarctic sea ice The first detailed, high-resolution 3-D maps of Antarctic sea ice have been developed using an underwater robot. Scientists from the UK, …


NEWS STORY: BAS to host workshop

13 October, 2014

British Antarctic Survey hosts Chemical Air-Snow-Sea Ice Interaction workshop in Cambridge More than 60 scientists from over 15 countries are attending a workshop in Cambridge this week (13-15 October) to …


NEWS STORY: Sea ice minimum explained

18 September, 2014

Arctic sea ice summer minimum 2014: A scientific perspective The Arctic sea ice minimum marks the day – typically in September – when sea ice reaches its smallest extent at …


NEWS STORY: World Ozone Day

16 September, 2014

Today, 16 September, is the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer. The date commemorates the signing of the Montreal Protocol, which sought to reduce atmospheric levels of …


NEWS STORY: Icebergs leave their mark

16 June, 2014

Climate related iceberg activity has massively altered life on the seabed Researchers from the British Antarctic Survey have found evidence that climate change has fundamentally altered the way that life …


NEWS STORY: Arctic sea ice trends

13 February, 2014

British Antarctic Survey coordinates Arctic sea-ice investigation Arctic sea-ice cover is retreating at an unprecedented rate. Scientists fear we may see the complete loss of sea ice during the summer …


NEWS STORY: World’s coldest place identified

12 December, 2013

Scientists working at the United States National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) said this week they have identified the coldest place on Earth using satellite observations of surface temperature. …



NEWS STORY: Tributes to ozone hole expert

13 May, 2013

It is with great sadness the British Antarctic Survey reports that Joe Farman died on Saturday 11 May 2013. He was 82. Joseph Charles Farman CBE, together with colleagues Brian …


NEWS STORY: Halley VI awarded new status

7 May, 2013

Halley VI receives environmental science status upgrade The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has announced British Antarctic Survey’s Halley VI research station has attained Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW) Global station status. …


NEWS STORY: Storm events link identified

17 April, 2013

Jet stream influences extreme storms A new study of Europe’s extreme storm events reveals that they often occur near  the jet stream – the fast flowing air currents that flow …


PRESS RELEASE: Summer melt season extending

28 March, 2013

Summer melt season is getting longer on the Antarctic Peninsula, new data show New research from the Antarctic Peninsula shows that the summer melt season has been getting longer over …


PRESS RELEASE: Air flows explain record low

11 January, 2010

New research sheds light on Earth”s coldest temperatures Results from the first detailed analysis of the lowest ever temperature recorded on the Earth’s surface can explain why it got so …


PRESS RELEASE: Warmer spells detected in ice cores

18 November, 2009

Mysteriously warm times in Antarctica A new study of Antarctica’s past climate reveals that temperatures during the warm periods between ice ages (interglacials) may have been higher than previously thought. …


PRESS RELEASE: Rise in CO2 emissions

17 November, 2009

Fossil fuel CO2 emissions up by 29 per cent since 2000 The strongest evidence yet that the rise in atmospheric CO2 emissions continues to outstrip the ability of the world’s …



PRESS RELEASE: Increase in CO2 emissions

26 September, 2008

CO2 emissions are booming Scientists will this week (Friday 26 Sept) announce the annual update on the global carbon figures. They report that CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels and …




ARCTIC BLOG: Setting foot back on land

27 March, 2015 by Markus Frey

Diary entry: Friday 27 March 2015 Time: 2200 hrs UTC Position: 78° 13′ N / 15° 33′ E Air Temperature: +1.5 °C Wind Speed: 8 knots We made it! After 38 days onboard the …


ARCTIC BLOG: Total solar eclipse

20 March, 2015 by Markus Frey

Diary entry: Friday 20 March 2015 Time: 1200 hrs UTC Position: 81° 44.23′ N / 19° 36.9′ E Air Temperature: −27.4 °C Wind Speed: 14 knots Nature is displaying a magnificent and …


ARCTIC BLOG: Enduring an Arctic storm

18 March, 2015 by Markus Frey

Diary entry: Wednesday 18 March 2015 Time: 2237 hrs UTC Position: 82° 34.7′ N / 22° 43.6′ E Air Temperature: −32.6 °C Wind Speed: 12 knots The storm lasted not even 48 hours, …