Professor Myles Allen

Professor Myles Allen elected Fellow of the Royal Society

Climate physics
Atmospheric, Oceanic and Planetary Physics

Professor Myles Allen has been elected Fellow of the Royal Society for his groundbreaking work in the understanding of climate change. He is Professor of Geosystem Science in the School of Geography and the Environment and the Department of Physics at Oxford.

He is credited by the BBC with first demonstrating, 15 years ago, the need for ‘Net Zero’ carbon dioxide emissions to stop global warming. His research focuses on how human and natural influences on climate contribute to observed climate change and risks of extreme weather and in quantifying their implications for long-range climate forecasts.

He served on the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for its 3rd, 4th and 5th Assessments, and was a Coordinating Lead Author for its special report on 'the impacts of global warming of 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels'. He founded the Climate Prediction project, the world’s largest climate modelling experiment.

The Royal Society has recognised Professor Allen for his groundbreaking contributions to the quantitative understanding of climate change with substantial impacts on climate policy. He pioneered combining physically-based models with statistical analysis to quantify, with uncertainties, the magnitude of anthropogenic influence on observed climate change and using observations to constrain climate forecasts. He combined fundamental physics and large ensemble modelling to constrain the response in both mean and extreme precipitation to rising temperatures and increasing greenhouse gases. Furthermore, he demonstrated the cumulative impact of carbon dioxide emissions on global climate, which leads to the concept of a limited ‘carbon budget’ associated with any given level of carbon dioxide-induced warming. This links directly to net zero emission targets replacing concentration stabilisation targets as the focus of climate change mitigation policy.

Professor Allen comments: ‘It is a great honour to be recognised for my contribution, along with many others, to the concept of Net Zero: how we must stop fossil fuels from causing further global warming before the world stops using fossil fuels.’

Professor Ian Shipsey, Head of the Department of Physics at Oxford: 'Myles Allen is an eminent climate scientist. Climate and climate change is physics. Remarkably, the Department of Physics at Oxford is the only major physics department in the world with an extensive and leading programme in climate science. We are proud to have Myles as our colleague, the recognition he has received today from the Royal Society is very well-deserved – he is a national treasure.'