Picture of David Stainforth

Prof. David Stainforth - Homepage

Professorial Research Fellow, Grantham Research Institute on 
Climate Change and the Environment
 and Centre for the Analysis of Timeseries at the
London School of Economics and Political Science

Visiting Professor at Warwick University

dice with GCM temperature plots

Contact details:
Grantham Research Institute on
Climate Change and the Environment,
London School of Economics,
Houghton Street,
London,
WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7955 7622
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7107 5027 / 7955 7759
Email: d(dot)a(dot)stainforth at lse.ac.uk

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.

Some of these areas are listed on the right. Links to further details and perhaps opinions in these areas will perhaps be coming soon.



Some recent publications:
  • Stainforth, D.A. and R. Calel New priorities for climate science and climate economics in the 2020s . Nature Communications, August 2020. [Local copy]]
    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 suited to support policy makers and societal planning.

  • Chapman, S.C., N.W. Watkins and D.A.Stainforth. Trends in Winter Warm Spells in the Central England Temperature Record . Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, June 2020. [Journal copy] [Local copy of supplementary information.]
    There is great interest in the extremes of summer heat waves but changes in the duration, return periods and temperatures of warms spells in winter can also have a significant impact, for instance on agricuture and ecosystems. This paper demonstrates methods for quantifying such changes in the observational record.

  • Harrison, S., T. Mighall, D.A.Stainforth, P. Allen, M. Macklin, E. Anderson, J. Knight, D. Mauquoy, D. Passmore, B. Rea, M. Spagnolo and S, Shannon. Uncertainty in geomorphological responses to climate change . Climatic Change, 46, 10.1029/2018GL081004, Sept. 2019. [Journal copy]
    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 the case and calls for a more probabilistic approach to the study of geomorphological responses to climate change. This is something which is of practical importance for infrastructure planning and management in the context of climate change.

Publications

Presentations

Opinion Pieces

Philosophy of Climate Science

Nonlinear dynamical systems (chaos)

Adaptation Planning

Economics of Climate Change (specifically IAMs)

Complexity

Science Communication

Climate Modelling and Its Interpretation

Videos

A few further publications from recent years which give a taste of my work and interests:
(A full list is available from the publications link.)

Some upcoming and recent workshops/conferences etc. in which I have been / will be involved:



Contact details:

Grantham Research Institute on
Climate Change and the Environment,
London School of Economics,
Houghton Street,
London,
WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7955 7622
Email: d(dot)a(dot)stainforth at lse.ac.uk