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Photo of Prof David B. Stephenson

Prof David B. Stephenson

Chair in Statistical Climatology


Telephone: 01392 725275

Extension: (Streatham) 5275


The Publications link to the right is an automatic list - if you would like copies for personal use then please refer to my manual list of publications. Or check out google scholar for a list of my citations, which is slightly more up-to-date than my researcherID summary on web of science.

Research interests

I am interested in making intelligent use of statistical modelling to provide deeper insight into weather and climate processes and improve our ability to forecast and reduce risk. These are some of the issues my recent research is currently addressing:

  • How to reliably combine and recalibrate climate change simulations to make real world projections?
  • How to quantify the rarity of extreme multi-decadal climate trends?
  • How to fundamentally improve the detection and attribution of climate change trends?
  • Why are extreme events spatially independent in turbulence and other physical systems?
  • What is the risk of the compound extreme rain and winds in mid-latitude storms?

I am happy to make new collaborations if I can add value to them so please email me if:

  • You have a research project/proposal that could benefit from my insight;
  • You require consultancy advice on either climate change or storm risk;
  • You wish to do a PhD project under my supervision.


Brief biography

Professor David B. Stephenson is Director of the Exeter Climate Systems (XCS) research centre, which has grown impressively since he founded it upon his arrival in Exeter in 2007.

His research focuses on the development and novel application of statistical modelling to understand climate processes and predictions. Since 1989, he has published more than 180 well-cited papers and a leading book on forecast verification (H-index of 71). He was one of the authors in the 2013 IPCC 5th assessment report: lead author on chapter 14 and contributing author on chapters 2 and 9.

He is an elected member of the prestigious Academia Europaea – the European Academy of Science. In 2012, he was awarded the Adrian Gill prize of the Royal Meteorological Society for pioneering interdisciplinary collaboration between climate and statistical science. From 2003-2009, he served as Editor for the Journal of Climate and from 2007-10 was an expert member on the WMO Joint Working Group on Forecast Verification.

He has also developed successful partnerships with industry, which has ensured that his research has been successfully translated to improve decision-making and create wealth. In 2006, he was a founding member of the Willis Research Network, one of the world's largest partnerships between academia and the insurance industry. While Met Office joint chair (2007-12), he helped initiate and design the Met Office Academic Partnership.

He received a 1st class Honours degree in Physics at Oxford University (1982-1985) and received a PhD in Theoretical Particle Physics from Edinburgh University (1982-1988) (supervised by Profs. Peter Higgs and Richard Kenway). Concerning mathematical genealogy, he is the direct offspring of Nobel prize-winner Peter Higgs and has an Erdos number of 4.

Former PhD Students

I am very proud that all of my former PhD students have graduated successfully and have gone on to have interesting careers (mostly in research). I have successfully supervised more than 20 PhD thesis projects (see below for ones where I have been main supervisor).

  • Donald Cummins (2021) Foundational basis for optimal climate change detection from energy-balance and cointegration models. Current affiliation: Meteo-France.
  • Laura Dawkins (2016) Statistical modelling of European windstorm footprints to explore hazard characteristics and insured loss. Current affiliation: senior scientist at the UK Met Office.

  • Philip Sansom (2014) Statistical methods for quantifying uncertainty in climate projections from ensembles of climate models. Current affiliation: senior scientist at the UK Met Office.

  • Alasdair Hunter (2014) Quantifying and understanding the aggregate risk of natural hazards. Current affiliation: Barcelona Supercomputing Centre.

  • Alemtsehai Turasie (2012) Cointegration modelling of climatic time series. Current affiliation: senior lecturer in statistics at Adelphi University, New York.

  • Rachel Lowe (2011) Spatio-temporal modelling of climate-sensitive disease risk : Towards an early warning system for dengue in Brazil. Current affiliation: research Professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

  • Chun Kit Ho (2010) Projecting extreme heat-related mortality in Europe under climate change. Current affiliation: Hong Kong Observatory.

  • Pascal Mailier (2007) Serial clustering of extratropical cyclones. Current affiliation: Senior Scientist at the Royal Meteorological Institution, Belgium.

  • Caio Coelho (2005) Forecast calibration and combination : Bayesian assimilation of seasonal climate predictions. Current affiliation: senior scientist at Brazilian Center for Weather Forecasting and Climate Research CPTEC CPTEC.

  • Mathew Sapiano (2004) Trends and variablity in observations of winter precipitation. Current affiliation: Senior Statistician, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, US.

  • Tim Mosedale (2004) North Atlantic Ocean-atmosphere interaction using simple and complex models. Current affiliation: Head of Value Analytics and Modelling at Lloyds Banking Group.

  • Barbara Casati (2004) New approaches for the verification of spatial precipitation forecasts. Current affiliation: senior scientist at Environment Canada.

If you would like to read their theses then please type the title or name into the search engine on the ETHOS database.