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Michael Sanderson

Michael works on future changes in extreme precipitation and temperature.

Michael works on projects for numerous customers with a particular interest in future changes in extreme temperature and precipitation and urban climates.

Current activities

Michael undertakes a range of projects for various commercial customers. His current work involves extreme value analysis (EVA) of temperature and precipitation. Extreme value analysis is applied to climate model data to project how the frequency of rare events (e.g., the Boscastle Flood in 2004) may change in the future. These results are required, for example, for licences for new buildings and drainage design. The EVA work has involved collaboration with other members of the Hadley Centre. He has analysed regional climate model projections to examine how urban climates may change in the future, particularly the numbers of hot days and hot nights, as these have implications for cooling of buildings and human health.

Michael also performs new climate simulations with both the regional and global climate models. He contributed results to the EU project ENSEMBLES, where he used the global climate model to project future climate under a 'business as usual' scenario and an aggressive mitigation scenario where global emissions of greenhouse gases were reduced throughout the 21st century. He has helped analyse the results for publication. He will shortly be starting new simulations for the IPCC 5th Assessment report.

He has used the regional climate model to simulate future climate over several different areas of the world for customers. The results have been used to assess possible changes in river flows and soil moisture, and to drive other very high resolution regional climate models. He has also performed literature reviews to obtain the latest science on several topics. He has reviewed reports for customers on climate change impacts and assessment of vulnerability to those impacts.

Career background

Michael has been a member of Climate impacts since 2007. He originally joined the Met Office in 2000, in the Atmospheric chemistry group, where he worked on the STOCHEM chemistry model and used it to perform simulations of global and regional impacts of various policies ands study intercontinental transport of pollutants. He contributed results to the ACCENT and TF HTAP model intercomparison projects, which studied the impacts of climate change on ozone levels and the deposition of various pollutants to the ground, and intercontinental transport of pollutants.

Prior to joining the Met Office, Michael was a post-doctoral researcher at Cambridge University, where he initially studied global methane emissions and sinks, and then helped develop a lightweight ozone monitor based on a gas sensitive resistor. He completed a PhD in Atmospheric Chemistry at the University of York, where he also received his undergraduate degree.

Michael has a keen interest in science communication. He has given many presentations on climate change, to various institutions and members of the public, including the evidence for a changing climate and attribution of those changes.

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