Joanna Haigh

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Joanna Haigh
Joanna Dorothy Haigh

(1954-05-07) 7 May 1954 (age 65)
Alma mater
Known forWork on solar variability
Scientific career
ThesisExperiments with a two-dimensional model of the general circulation (1980)
Doctoral advisorC.D. Walshaw[3]
WebsiteOfficial website Edit this at Wikidata

Joanna Dorothy Haigh, CBE, FRS, FRMetS (born 7 May 1954) is a British physicist and academic. Before her retirement in 2019[5] she was Professor of Atmospheric Physics at Imperial College London, and co-director of the Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Environment. She is a former head of the Department of Physics at Imperial College London. She is also a Fellow of the Royal Society, and a former president of the Royal Meteorological Society.

Early life and education[edit]

Haigh was born on 7 May 1954.[1] She was educated at Hitchin Girls' School, then an all-girls grammar school in Hitchin, Hertfordshire. She showed an early interest in the weather, building her own weather station in her back garden as a teenager.[5] She studied physics at the Somerville College, Oxford, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree; as per tradition, this was later promoted to a Master of Arts (MA (Oxon)) degree. This was followed by a Master of Science (MSc) degree in Meteorology at Imperial College London. She returned to Oxford to complete a Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil) degree in Atmospheric Physics under the supervision of C.D. Walshaw. This was awarded in 1980 and her doctoral thesis was titled "Experiments with a two-dimensional model of the general circulation".[3]

Academic career[edit]

She is Emeritus Professor of Atmospheric Physics at Imperial College London. Since 2014, she has been co-director of the Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Environment.[6] She was previously head of the Department of Physics at Imperial College, serving between 2009 and 2014.[7]


Haigh is known for her work on solar variability, and also works on radiative transfer, stratosphere-troposphere coupling and climate modelling.[8][9][10][11][12] She has been Editor of the Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences and a Lead Author on the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.[13] She is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics. In 2004 she received the Institute of Physics' Charles Chree Medal and Prize and in 2010 the Royal Meteorological Society Adrian Gill prize for her work on solar variability and its effects on climate.[14]

Views on climate change[edit]

Haigh conforms to the mainstream scientific view, that anthropogenic carbon emissions lead to increased greenhouse warming. She stated in June 2016 that if current levels of carbon dioxide emissions continued unabated, they would lead to a 5 °C increase over pre-industrial climate by the end of the next century, and that achieving a zero temperature rise would require a complete cessation of carbon emissions.[15] She also stated that she was optimistic about the future, following the COP21 conference,[15] but later, when Donald Trump became president of the United States, she said: "If Trump does what he said he'd do, and others follow suit, my gut feeling is that I'm scared. Very scared."[16]


In the 2013 New Year Honours, Haigh was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) "for services to physics".[17][18]

Haigh is a former president of the Royal Meteorological Society; she is now a vice-president.[4][2] In 2013, she was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS). Her nomination read:[19]

Distinguished for her scientific leadership in the area of solar influences on the middle atmosphere and for her modelling of how these effects can modulate tropospheric circulations and so propagate to Earth's surface. Her expertise in modelling atmospheric radiative transfer allowed the development of computationally fast but accurate radiative transfer schemes some of which are now in use by climate modelling groups across the world. By proposing and demonstrating an entirely novel mechanism for solar influence on climate she has allowed proper allowance to be made for the small and subtle, yet revealing effects.


  1. ^ a b "HAIGH, Prof. Joanna Dorothy". Who's Who 2014, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 2014; online edn, Oxford University Press.(subscription required)
  2. ^ a b c "President and Council – Royal Meteorological Society". Retrieved 14 October 2014.
  3. ^ a b Haigh, Joanna (1980). Experiments with a two-dimensional model of the general circulation (DPhil thesis). University of Oxford.
  4. ^ a b "Joanna Haigh". The Life Scientific. 27 August 2013. BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  5. ^ a b Dunning, Hayley. "Climate champion Jo Haigh retires after 35 years at Imperial | Imperial News | Imperial College London". Imperial News. Retrieved 5 May 2019.
  6. ^ "Home – Professor Joanna D. Haigh". Retrieved 14 October 2014.
  7. ^ "Past Heads of Department". Retrieved 14 October 2014.
  8. ^ Haigh, J. D.; Roscoe, H. K. (2009). "The Final Warming Date of the Antarctic Polar Vortex and Influences on its Interannual Variability". Journal of Climate. 22 (22): 5809. Bibcode:2009JCli...22.5809H. doi:10.1175/2009JCLI2865.1.
  9. ^ Haigh, J. D.; Blackburn, M. (2006). "Solar Influences on Dynamical Coupling Between the Stratosphere and Troposphere" (PDF). Space Science Reviews. 125 (1–4): 331. Bibcode:2006SSRv..125..331H. doi:10.1007/s11214-006-9067-0.
  10. ^ Haigh, J. D. (2003). "The effects of solar variability on the Earth's climate". Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences. 361 (1802): 95–111. Bibcode:2003RSPTA.361...95H. doi:10.1098/rsta.2002.1111.
  11. ^ Haigh, J. D. (2001). "CLIMATE: Climate Variability and the Influence of the Sun". Science. 294 (5549): 2109–2111. doi:10.1126/science.1067013. PMID 11739941.
  12. ^ Haigh, J. D.; Pyle, J. A. (1979). "A two-dimensional calculation including atmospheric carbon dioxide and stratospheric ozone". Nature. 279 (5710): 222. Bibcode:1979Natur.279..222H. doi:10.1038/279222a0.
  13. ^ "IPCC - Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change".
  14. ^ "Joanna Dorothy Haigh – Royal Meteorological Society". Retrieved 14 October 2014.
  15. ^ a b "Atmospheric physicist Joanna Haigh takes on climate change at the IOP". Institute of Physics. 9 June 2016. Retrieved 21 January 2017.
  16. ^ Harrabin, Roger (21 January 2017). "World v Trump on global climate deal?". BBC News. Retrieved 21 January 2017.
  17. ^ "No. 60367". The London Gazette (Supplement). 29 December 2012. p. 8.
  18. ^ "New Year Honours List 2013 – General List" (PDF). Cabinet Office. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  19. ^ "- Royal Society".

External links[edit]