Dr Myles Allen

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Dr Myles AllenDr Myles Allen graduated in Physics and Philosophy in 1987, and after working for the United Nations Environment Programme in Kenya, returned to complete a D.Phil. in Atmospheric, Oceanic and Planetary Physics in 1992. Following Research Fellowships in the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he returned as a University Lecturer in 2001 and currently leads the Climate Dynamics Group in the Department of Physics. His research focuses on how human and natural influences on climate contribute to observed climate change and extreme weather risk. He served on successive Assessments of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 (undergraduate training in philosophy proved invaluable in the IPCC process).

A collaboration with the Met Office in the late 1990s provided some of the core evidence that most of the warming over the past 50 years is attributable to human activities and, in 2004, first quantified the role of human influence in a specific damaging weather event – the European summer heat-wave of 2003. Alongside this work on attribution, the Climate Dynamics Group has a long-standing interest in using the evidence for human influence on climate to constrain climate forecasts. One of the highest profile applications of this work is the climateprediction.net experiment, running Monte Carlo climate model simulations on personal computers signed up by the general public. This ongoing project has been the subject of two BBC television documentaries, winning the 2007 Prix Europa Internet Project of the Year.

Dr. Allen’s latest research addresses the question of how scientific evidence can best be used to inform climate policy. This work has shown that limiting cumulative emissions of carbon dioxide may be a more robust approach to climate change mitigation policy than attempting to define a “safe” stabilization level for atmospheric greenhouse gases.