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Dr Peter Irvine
UCL Earth Sciences
Gower Street
Dr Peter Irvine profile picture
  • Lecturer in Earth Sciences
  • Dept of Earth Sciences
  • Faculty of Maths & Physical Sciences

I have been studying the climate response and broader implications of solar geoengineering since starting my PhD in 2009. I completed a post-doc at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies in Potsdam, then another at Harvard before beginning my current position in January 2020.

Research Summary

I am interested in how human actions transform the Earth and how humanity can learn to manage this transformation. My research to date has focused on solar geoengineering, a proposal to directly alter the Earth’s energy budget to offset the warming effect of greenhouse gases.

My research has 3 broad strands:
  • I work with climate and Earth system models to understand the potential impacts of climate change and solar geoengineering, e.g. on the terrestrial hydrological cycle and on sea-level rise.
  • I work to synthesize and interpret these findings; developing analysis approaches for evaluating the overall balance of risks and benefits from solar geoengineering and working to improve representations of solar geoengineering in economic and other models.
  • I collaborate with researchers from a range of disciplines to explore the implications of solar geoengineering in their fields, e.g. I have collaborated with others to explore the ethical and legal challenges of compensation for solar geoengineering and to understand its governance implications.

Teaching Summary

I teach the 2nd year Earth Sciences course Principles of Climate (GEOL0013). This module aims to describe and explain the basics of climate science and equip students with an understanding of how and why the climate is changing. The module provides students with a basic understanding of the options available to tackle climate change and the impacts that climate change will have on society and ecosystems. The module’s practical work includes the analysis of climate data and writing a report focused on the impacts of solar geoengineering on a specific country.

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