An external view of the Met Office building at night.

Dr Richard Wood

Areas of expertise

  • Climate change
  • Climate variability
  • Climate modelling
  • Ocean modelling

Publications by Richard Wood

Current activities

Richard is head of the CCO group, whose remit covers modelling the role of the oceans and ice in the climate system. In addition, CCO acts as a focal point for policy-focused science to inform climate change mitigation strategies aimed at avoiding dangerous climate change.

A large part of the work of CCO involves ensuring that the HadGEM family of climate models includes the best possible representations of ocean physics, ocean biogeochemistry (e.g. the carbon cycle), sea-ice and land-ice, and evaluating the model simulations against observations.

A second strand of work is assessing the response of the ocean and ice to climate change, e.g. changes in sea-level, Atlantic Ocean overturning circulation, and Arctic sea-ice.

The CCO group is also a focal point for work in the Met Office on dangerous climate change, bringing together a range of up-to-date scientific tools to tackle the most relevant science questions for climate change mitigation policy.

Career background

Richard trained as an applied mathematician and after a spell in the electronics industry specialised in ocean modelling, completing a PhD at Exeter University. He spent a couple of years as a lecturer in applied mathematics at Southampton University before joining the Met Office in 1989, becoming a founder member of the Met Office Hadley Centre in 1990. He was a member of the original teams that developed the ocean component of the Unified Model, and later the Met Office climate models Met Office climate prediction model: HadCM2 and Met Office climate prediction model: HadCM3. From the mid-1990s he was involved with colleagues in developing more sophisticated ways of evaluating climate models against oceanic observations, and in using climate models to study the stability of the Atlantic Ocean overturning circulation, leading to a number of high-profile publications.

Richard was appointed a Met Office Fellow in 2004, and Head of the Climate, Cryosphere and Oceans group in 2006.

External recognition

  • Richard currently divides his time between his Met Office role and that of Theme Leader, Climate System for the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), advising NERC on priorities for its medium-term strategic research programmes and acting as a 'champion' for climate science in NERC.

  • Richard has been a Lead Author or Coordinating Lead Author on a number of reports of the Intergovernmental panel on Climate Change (IPCC), including its Third and Fourth Assessment Reports (2001 and 2007). The IPCC was jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.

  • Richard has served on a number of national and international committees, and is currently a member of the Programme Executive Board of the NERC RAPID-WATCH programme.