School of GeoSciences

School of GeoSciences


Simon Tett

I am the Chair of Earth System Dynamics and Modelling and my ORCID is 0000-0001-7526-560X.

 I can be found in room 351, Grant Institute, Kings Buildings. I joined the University in July 2007 and before then I worked for the Met Office's Hadley Centre. I joined the Hadley Centre in 1991 where I worked on mechanisms of Climate Variability and the detection and attribution of climate change. In 2001 I got promoted to manage a team of scientists who researched observed climate change. I improved their information technology so that the systems used for near-real-time climate monitoring were more robust. I also focused the team on producing error estimates. On the side I attempted to model the climate of the last 500 years and found that early CO2 emissions may have had a significant effect on tropical temperatures by the early 19th century.


I am the Chair of Earth System dynamics and modelling at the University of Edinburgh where I also, in 1992, received my PhD. I previously worked at the Hadley Centre as a research scientist where I, with others, showed that human emissions of carbon dioxide were likely to be responsible for 20th century warming. After this I managed a team of scientists who created datasets of historical climate change from the atmosphere, sea and land surface and the sub-surface ocean with comprehensive uncertainty estimates. I also carried out and analysed simulations of the climate of the last 500 years. I have published more than 75 peer-reviewed papers and book chapters, won the Norber-Gerbier WMO prize twice (1997, 1998), a NOAA prize for best scientific paper (1998), the L G Groves prize for Meteorology (2006) and gave the Margary lecture to the Royal Meteorological Society in 2007. I contributed to the last three IPCC assessments, provided scientific advice to the UK government, was a member of NERC's peer review college and am a National Centre for Atmospheric Science Principal Investigator. I am also a Chartered Meteorologist and a member of NERC's Strategic Programme Advisory Group.

Research Interests

My research interests are very broad ranging from methods to reconstruct past climate from proxy records, such as tree rings, and instrumental data, through to modelling future climate. At the heart of my research is the quantitative analysis of models and observations of climate change in order to constrain the future. I'm also interested in extreme climate events and their causes.
In July 2012 I made a Research in a Nutshell video where I talk about my interest in using satellite data to constrain future climate change:

In collaboration with Corallia Cartis, Dan Rowlands and Mike Mineter I've been investigating if we can automatically adjust the atmospheric model component of a climate/Earth System model to make it consistent with observations. Rather, to our, surprise it turned out to be fairly easy to do. It also turned out that simulated climate sensitivity and simulated outgoing radiation were related. This suggests a model, whose predictions or hind casts, you want to trust should simulate well the observed outgoing radiation. We have a couple of papers that were accepted (7/6/13) at Journal of Climate. They are available from the links below.

Lettie Roach (a Master's student) explored if you could tune the sea-ice component of HadCM3 by adjusting some parameters. This worked and the perturbed model captures the observed trends in NH sea-ice well but still does a poor job in the SH. A poster I presented at AGU in 2015 explains what we did.

Teaching Interests

In 2015/16 I am on sabbatical but running my Introduction to Three Dimensional Climate Modelling course. I like to have a cup of tea around 3.30. If you have something interesting to discuss with me related to climate (or anything else) you are welcome to join me!


Here is some of my  talks and presentations.