An external view of the Met Office building at night.

Prof Jonathan Gregory

Areas of expertise

  • Ocean heat uptake: how it comes about in AOGCMs, why their results differ, what we can deduce from observations of change in the ocean interior.

  • Sea-level change: processes of change in AOGCMs, causes of its simulated regional distribution.

  • Climate sensitivity: how to diagnose it; its dependence on climate and forcing, and its usefulness and limitations.

  • Geographical patterns of climate change: how they are determined.

  • Climate change and the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation.

  • Development of Earth System Models.

  • Modelling future changes in ice sheets and their contribution to sea-level change.

Current activities

Jonathan works 20% of his time as a Research Fellow of the Met Office Hadley Centre in Exeter and 80% as a senior scientist in the Climate Division of the National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS-Climate), at the University of Reading, where he is also a professor in the Department of Meteorology. In both his jobs, his research interests relate to mechanisms of global and large-scale change in climate and sea-level on multidecadal and longer timescales. He works with colleagues in both Reading and Exeter on these subjects, as well as with collaborators in other universities and climate centres.

At the Met Office, Jonathan is engaged in various research projects on climate change with colleagues. His main organisational responsibilities are:

  • Member of the Scientific Steering Group of the Joint Weather and Climate Research Programme (JWCRP), for both the Met Office and NERC.

  • Co-investigator, with Professor Tony Payne of the University of Bristol, of a project of the JWCRP on ice-sheet/ice-shelf modelling.

  • Deputy leader of the workpackage on regional climate modelling of the EU Framework 7 project ice2sea.

He is involved in the development of:

  • data analysis and visualisation software, having been one of the main authors of the Met Office IDL library;

  • the CF metadata standard, of which he is one of the original and principal authors. 

Career background

Jonathan took his first degree in 1986 at Oxford in physics, and his PhD in 1990 in particle physics at Birmingham concerned with the UA1 experiment at CERN in Geneva. His first job was for a year at the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia at Norwich, with Phil Jones and Tom Wigley. He joined the climate change group, led by John Mitchell, at the Met Office Hadley Centre soon after the Centre opened in 1990. He was joint co-ordinating lead author of the sea-level chapter of the Third Assessment Report (2001) of Working Group 1 of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

During Autumn 2001 he was a visiting scientist in the climate modelling group, led by Andrew Weaver, at the University of Victoria in Canada. In April 2003, he took a new post as a senior scientist in NCAS-Climate at the Department of Meteorology of the University of Reading, while continuing to work part-time as well in the Met Office Hadley Centre as a Research Fellow. He was given the personal title of professor by the University in May 2006. He was a lead author of the projections and ocean observations chapters and the technical summary of the IPCC WG1 Fourth Assessment Report (2007). In 2010 he was awarded a five-year Advanced Grant by the European Research Council to conduct research on sea-level change.