I work at the London
School of Economics. I am a physicist by training and a climate
modeller by experience. My interests and my research span many
different fields but tend to focus on uncertainty, its implications and
how we understand and respond to climate change.
Some time ago I co-founded the climateprediction.net project at Oxford
University with Prof. Myles Allen and I continue to work on how we
design large climate modelling experiments, how we interpret them for
science, how we interpret them for policy decisions, and how we
communicate climate science to the public and decision makers. I also
work on the processing of observations to inform adaptation planning,
economic assessments of climate change, decision making under deep
uncertainty in the context of climate adaptation, conceptual questions
linked to how we understand climate and climate change, nonlinear
dynamical systems and integrated assessment models.
talks and events in October and November 2023:
- Thursday 12th October 2023, 6:30-8PM. LSE public event. Join me, Tom Sheldon of the
Science Media Centre and Kathryn Brown, Director of Climate Change at
the Wildlife Trusts, to launch and discuss my book.
Friday 20th October 2023, 6:30-8PM. Oxford Climate Society. Join me, Prof. Jim Hall,
Dr. Stuart Jenkins and Ms. Shirin Ermis to discuss uncertainties in
Tuesday 31st October 2023, 6-7PM. University of Warwick,
Department of Economics cross disciplinary event.
- Thursday 9th November 2023, 1530-1700. Potsdam Institute
for Climate Impact Research, Potsdam, Berlin
Rising, J., M. Tedesco, F. Piontek and D. Stainforth. The missing
risks of climate change, Nature.
Katzav, J., E. Thompson, J. Risby, D. A. Stainforth, S.
M. Frisch. On the appropriate
and inappropriate uses of probability
distributions in climate projections and some alternatives, Climatic
Change, Nov 2021.[Local author copy]
Baldissera Pacchetti, M., S. Dessai, S. Bradley and
the quality of regional climate information . Bulletin
of the America Meteorological Society, March 2021. [Local
This paper presents a framework for assessing the quality of climate
information provided for use in support of adaptation planning and
resilience building. It aims to help climate services and users of
climate information to identify when a particular source of climate
is suitable for their needs and if not, in what way it is lacking.
Calel, R., S.C. Chapman, D.A. Stainforth and N.W.
greater economic damages from climate change . Nature
Communications, October 2020. [Local
copy including SI] Winner of the Lloyds Science of
Risk Prize 2021
This paper uses a stochastic energy balance model to produce a
trajectories of plausible future global mean temperatures (GMTs). From
them it assesses the distribution of damages associated with various
future emissions of greenhouse gases. The risk premium associated with
distribution of damages is then calculated. The results find an
additional $10Tr to $50Tr of damages associated with climate change.
The character of these damages means they must be addressed primarily
by adaptation rather than mitigation. The social cost of carbon is ill
suited to capture these damages.
Stainforth, D.A. and R. Calel New
priorities for climate science
and climate economics in the 2020s . Nature
Communications, August 2020. [Local
This comment piece calls for new approaches to research on climate
change in both the physical and social sciences / economics.
It argues for a change of focus in these disciplines and a significant
scale up of efforts to understand the
conceptual challenges in physical climate change predictions and
assoiated economic assessments. Such efforts would lead to research
outputs being much better
support policy makers and societal planning.
Chapman, S.C., N.W. Watkins and D.A.Stainforth. Warming
in Summer HeatWaves. Geophysical
156, Issue 1-2, pp69-86, 10.1007/s10584-019-02520-8, Jan. 2019. [Journal
copy of paper including supplementary information.]
paper demonstrates methods for quantifying changes in temperatures,
duration and return periods of summer heatwaves in England.
Harrison, S., T. Mighall, D.A.Stainforth, P. Allen,
Macklin, E. Anderson, J. Knight, D. Mauquoy, D. Passmore, B. Rea, M.
Spagnolo and S, Shannon. Uncertainty
in geomorphological responses
to climate change . Climatic
46, 10.1029/2018GL081004, Sept. 2019. [Journal
The sensitivity of nonlinear systems to small uncertainties in the
initial state - a characteristic of mathematical chaos - is well known
and widely studied. The implications for uncertainties in our
projections of climate change are increasingly in the spot light - see
for instance the Hawkins et al paper below. It is often assumed,
however, that landscapes respond to climate in a relatively linear and
predictable way. This paper demonstrates that this is unlikely to be
and calls for a more probabilistic approach to the study of
responses to climate change. This is something which is of practical
for infrastructure planning and management in the context
of climate change.