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Photo of Dr Fiona O'Connor

Dr Fiona O'Connor

Senior Lecturer in Atmospheric Composition


Fiona joined Exeter University as a Senior Lecturer on a part-time basis in October 2022, and for her remaining time is a Research Fellow at the UK Met Office. In her Met Office role, Fiona leads a team of scientists and scientific software engineers and her key areas of interest include atmospheric composition in the Earth system, climate forcing, chemistry-climate interactions, climate change mitigation, and air quality. She was the principal developer of the United Kingdom Chemistry and Aerosol (UKCA) model for its inclusion in the UK’s HadGEM2 Earth System Model. She also contributed to the development of UKESM1 and led the UK contribution to the Aerosol and Chemistry Model Intercomparison Project (AerChemMIP) for Phase 6 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP6). She is currently co-lead of the ozone radiative forcing working group for the Tropospheric Ozone Assessment Report and sits on the scientific steering committee of the CACTI initiative on atmospheric composition and climate. Fiona is also co-chair of AerChemMIP2 for CMIP7.

Fiona has won research grants of up to £1.5M, including awards for a number of EU projects (CRESCENDO, ESM2025) as well as grants from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the UK’s Joint Weather and Climate Research Programme (JWCRP). Modelling work that Fiona has performed includes assessment of the climate forcing from anthropogenic activities, modelling the methane cycle, and an assessment of the role of methane mitigation and removal on climate and air quality. Fiona has published over 100 peer-reviewed articles in the scientific literature, including publications in Nature, Nature Communications, npj Climate and Atmospheric Science, and Reviews of Geophysics. She has received a number of national commendations and awards for her work. Fiona was a contributing author for the IPCC 5th Assessment Report and a reviewer of the 6th Assessment Report.

Memberships/Fellowships/Reviewing Duties:

Topical editor of the Copernicus journal Geoscientific Model Development (2014 – present)

Reviewer for the Swedish Research Council (2020 - present)

Reviewer for the Norwegian Research Council (2021 - present)

Reviewer for the Finnish Research Council (2022- present)

Reviewer for the UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship Round (2022 - present)

Elected Member of the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW) Scientific Advisory Group on Total Atmospheric Deposition (2015-2020)


2022: LG Groves award for Meteorology

2022: Outstanding Scientific Award. Met Office Chairman's commendation for work on reviewing the IPCC 6th assessment report

Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Edinburgh (2019-2024)

2011: Outstanding Scientific Award. Met Office Chairman's commendation for work on HadGEM2

Current PhD students:

Main supervisor for Joao Teixeira (Exeter)

Co-Supervisor for Alex Mason (Exeter)

Co-supervisor for Emma Sands (Edinburgh)

Co-supervisor for Max Coleman (Reading)