Dr Nick Dunstone

Nick is a climate scientist working on inter-annual to decadal climate prediction.

Current activities

Nick works on developing climate prediction systems on near-term timescales, which are longer than seasonal and up to multi-decadal. On these timescales natural climate variability can be larger than the anthropogenic warming signal and, hence, the initial conditions of the climate system need to be considered in our predictions. Nick works with the Met Office Decadal Climate Prediction System, DePreSys, which assimilates ocean and atmosphere data to initialise the current conditions of the climate system, thereby potentially predicting natural variability in addition to externally forced changes.

Nick is involved in a number of European projects. Within the Euro-Argo project he is examining how the sub-surface ocean temperature and salinity data provided by the global array of Argo profiling floats can be used to initialise decadal prediction systems. Within the EU THOR project Nick is exploring the decadal predictability of the AMOC (Global Ocean Circulation) and the resulting potential skill in predicting surface climate variables. Nick has recently completed a set of idealised model experiments that explore the expected decadal prediction skill when assimilating different amounts of ocean and atmosphere data. Similar experiments are also being used to identify possible improvements to DePreSys.

Nick is involved in setting up and running the Met Office initialised decadal predictions, such as for the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 contribution to the Fifth Assessment Report of the IPCC.

Career background

Nick joined the Met Office Hadley Centre at the start of 2008. Prior to that he completed a PhD in Astrophysics at the University of St Andrews in Scotland. His PhD topic was imaging the surfaces of young stars and binary systems using the Zeeman Doppler Imaging technique. This allowed him to study the magnetic activity (e.g. star spots and prominences) of stars far younger than our own Sun. Nick's astrophysics field work took him out to Australia and Chile in order to observe on some of the largest telescopes in the world. In the past Nick has also been involved in the search for extra-solar planets with the SuperWASP team which has now found more than 20 Jupiter sized planets orbiting nearby stars.

Last updated: 12 March 2015

About Nick Dunstone

Nick Dunstone

Nick works on inter-annual to decadal climate prediction.

Areas of expertise:

  • Inter-annual to decadal climate prediction and variability.

  • Assimilation of observations for the initialisation of climate model.

  • Analysis of sub-surface ocean observations.

  • Assessment of forecast skill.

  • Predictability of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation.

Publications by Nick