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Natural Sciences and Psychology

Dr Tom Matthews

Dr Tom Matthews

Telephone: 0151 231 2607


I am an applied climatologist with interests in (no particular order): 1) glacier-climate interactions; 2) extratropical cyclones and 3) climate change.

Under 1) I am specifically interested in the relationship between synoptic-scale atmospheric variability and glacier mass balance. To date, my research in this area has focussed on developing parsimonious melt models. Such techniques are important for addressing the challenge of projecting future glacier mass balances in a changed climate (where we have to rely on spatially/temporally coarse climate data from climate models). They also facilitate the reconstruction of historic glacier melt rates from "reanalysis data" - an application which I am actively engaged in. Under this theme, I welcome (self-funded) PhD applicants to work on projecting global glacier mass balance for specified warming scenarios; details of this project can be obtained upon request.

For theme 2) I am particularly interested in the North Atlantic storm track - especially what happens at its "downstream" end - over the British-Irish Isles (BI). Under this branch of my research, colleagues and I recently developed a "cyclone-climatology" for the BI (1871-2012). Changes to the BI storm climate are projected (more frequent storms in winter; less frequent storms in summer), so this climatology serves as an important baseline for identifying and exploring emerging trends. Going forward, I am interested in improving the understanding of large-scale drivers of storm-track variability over the North Atlantic, and in better constraining historical cyclone intensity.

Under 3) I am working on improving public communication of climate change and extreme events. Under this theme I have specific interests in episodes of dangerously hot weather, and am keen to explore the role of communication in developing adaptive capacity.

I am happy to collaborate on any of the above themes: please get in touch if you would like to discuss.


2013, Loughborough University, United Kingdom, PhD


Journal Articles

Matthews T, Mullan D, Wilby RL, Broderick C, Murphy C. 2016. Past and future climate change in the context of memorable seasonal extremes Climate Risk Management, >DOI

Wilby RL, Noone S, Murphy C, Matthews TR, Harrigan S, Broderick C. 2015. An evaluation of persistent meteorological drought using a homogeneous Island of Ireland precipitation network International Journal of Climatology, >DOI

Noone S, Murphy C, Coll C, Matthews TR, Mullan D, Wilby RL, Walsh S. 2015. Homogenisation and analysis of an expanded long-term monthly rainfall network for the Island of Ireland (1850-2010) International Journal of Climatology, >DOI

Matthews TR, Murphy C, Wilby R, Harrigan S. 2015. A cyclone climatology of the British-Irish Isles 1871–2012 International Journal of Climatology, >DOI

Matthews T, Murphy C, Wilby RL, Harrigan S. 2014. Stormiest winter on record for Ireland and UK Nature Climate Change, 4 :738-740 >DOI

Matthews TR, Hodgkins R, Guðmundsson S, Pálsson F, Björnsson H. 2014. Inter-decadal variability in potential glacier surface melt energy at Vestari Hagafellsjökull (Langjökull, Iceland) and the role of synoptic circulation International Journal of Climatology, >DOI

Matthews TR, Hodgkins R, Wilby RL, Guðmundsson S, Pálsson F, Björnsson H, Carr S. 2014. Conditioning temperature-index model parameters on synoptic weather types for glacier melt simulations Hydrological Processes, 29 :1027-1045 >DOI

Mattthews T, Murphy C, McCarthy GD, Broderick C, Wilby R. Super Storm Desmond: a process-based assessment Environmental Research Letters, >DOI

Matthews TR, Murphy C, Wilby RL. Communicating the deadly consequences of global warming for human heat stress Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, >DOI

Wilby RLW, Clifford NJ, De Luca P, Harrigan S, Hillier J, Hodgkins R, Matthews TR, Johnson MF, Murphy C, Noone S, Parry S, Prudhomme C, Rice S, Slater L, Smith KA, Wood P. The “dirty dozen” of freshwater science: Detecting then reconciling hydrological data biases and errors Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Water,

Noone S, Broderick C, Duffy C, Matthews TR, Wilby RL, Murphy C. A 250 year drought catalogue for the island of Ireland (1765-2015) International Journal of Climatology,

Broderick C, Matthews TKR, Wilby RL, Bastola S, Murphy C. Transferability of hydrological models and ensemble averaging methods between contrasting climatic periods Water Resources Research,

Murphy C, Noone S, Duffy C, Broderick C, Matthews TR, Wilby RL. Irish droughts in newspaper archives: Rediscovering forgotten hazards Weather,

Matthews TR, Hodgkins R. Inter-decadal variability of degree-day factors on Vestari Hagafellsjökull (Langjökull, Iceland) and the importance of threshold air temperatures Journal of Glaciology,

Conference Publication (journal proceedings)

Hudson-Edwards KA, Byrne PA, Bird G, Macklin MG, Matthews TR, Brewer PA, Williams RD. Restoration of River Systems Following Mine Tailings Dam Failures: A Generic Approach Resources for Futuire Generations,

Engagement & Impact


Fellowship title: Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, Organisation: Higher Education Academy

Media Coverage:

Links #1:, Media coverage: This coverage is concerned with a paper in Climate Risk Management, which used memorably extreme Irish seasons (in terms of precipitation and temperature) to communicate the magnitude of projected climate change for the island.

Links #2:, Links #1:, Links #3:, Media coverage: This media coverage addresses results from a Nature Climate Change paper, which found that the winter of 2013/14 was the 'stormiest' on record (143 years) for the British-Irish Isles.