Tom Wigley

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Tom Wigley
Alma materUniversity of Adelaide
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversity of Adelaide
National Center for Atmospheric Research
University of East Anglia
Doctoral studentsKeith Briffa[1]
Benjamin D. Santer[2]
Tim Osborn[3]

Tom M. L. Wigley is a climate scientist at the University of Adelaide. He is also affiliated with the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR).[4] He was named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) for his major contributions to climate and carbon cycle modeling and to climate data analysis, and because he is "one of the world's foremost experts on climate change and one of the most highly cited scientists in the discipline."[5] His h-index (April 2019) is 107, one of the highest in the discipline. He contributed to many of the reports published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (the work of the IPCC, including the contributions of many scientists, was recognised by the joint award of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize).

Wigley was educated as a mathematical physicist and earned his doctorate at the University of Adelaide in Australia. He served as director of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom from 1978 to 1993. In 1993 he went on to the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, where he was appointed a senior scientist in 1994.[6][7] He subsequently moved to the University of Adelaide where he currently (2014) holds a Professorial Fellowship.

His published papers include the first paper to demonstrate 20th century warming using both land and marine data, the first paper to include the effects of aerosol cooling on projections of future climate change, the first paper to provide realistic scenarios for the stabilization of atmospheric CO2, and the first paper to use pattern-based methods to identify a significant human influence on the climate. Wigley has also published a number of highly cited papers in aqueous geochemistry, including a now-standard method for carbon dating of groundwater. Wigley has argued in the popular media that the IPCC has been too optimistic about the prospect of averting harmful climate change by reducing greenhouse emissions[8] through the use of renewable technologies alone, and argued that any realistic portfolio must include significant contributions from nuclear energy. He has also pointed out that "the human-induced changes that are expected over the next 100 years are much, much greater than any changes that societies experienced in the past."[9] In 2013, with other leading experts, he was co-author of an open letter to policy makers, which stated that "continued opposition to nuclear power threatens humanity's ability to avoid dangerous climate change."[10]


  • Charlson, Robert J.; Tom M. L. Wigley (February 1994). "Sulfate Aerosol and Climatic Change". Scientific American. 270 (2): 28–35.
  • Wigley, Tom M.L.; L.N. Plummer; F.J. Pearson (1978). "Mass transfer and carbon isotope evolution in natural water systems". Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta. 42 (8): 1117–1139. doi:10.1016/0016-7037(78)90108-4.
  • Wigley, Tom M.L.; K.R. Briffa; P.D. Jones (1984). "On the average value of correlated time series, with applications in dendroclimatology and hydrometeorology". Journal of Climate and Applied Meteorology. 23 (2): 201–213. doi:10.1175/1520-0450(1984)023<0201:otavoc>;2.
  • Jones, P.D.; Tom M.L. Wigley; P.B. Wright (1986). "Global temperature variations between 1861 and 1984". Nature. 322 (6078): 430–434. doi:10.1038/322430a0.
  • Wigley, Tom M.L.; S.C.B. Raper (1992). "Implications for climate and sea level of revised IPCC emissions scenarios". Nature. 357 (6376): 293–300. doi:10.1038/357293a0.
  • Wigley, Tom M.L.; R. Richels; J.A. Edmonds (1996). "Economic and environmental choices in the stabilization of atmospheric CO2". Nature. 379 (6562): 240–243. doi:10.1038/379240a0.
  • Santer, B.D.; K.E. Taylor; Tom M.L. Wigley; T.C. Johns; P.D. Jones; D.J. Karoly; J.F.B. Mitchell; A.H. Oort; J.E. Penner; V. Ramaswamy; M.D. Schwarzkopf; R.J. Stouffer; S. Tett (1996). "A search for human influences on the thermal structure of the atmosphere". Nature. 382 (6586): 39–46. doi:10.1038/382039a0.
  • Heard, B P; B W Brook; T M L Wigley; C J A Bradshaw (2017). "Burden of proof: A comprehensive review of the feasibility of 100% renewable-electricity systems". Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews. 76: 1122–1133. doi:10.1016/j.rser.2017.03.114.


  1. ^ "Tree-climate relationships and dendroclimatological reconstruction in British Isles". British Library EThOS. Retrieved 8 October 2016.
  2. ^ "Dr. Ben Santer". Moving By Degrees. American Public Media. Archived from the original on 26 June 2010.
  3. ^ "Tim Osborn to take over leadership of CRU" (Press release). University of East Anglia. 21 December 2016. Retrieved 20 January 2017.
  4. ^ "Tom Wigley named AAAS fellow". Staff Notes Monthly. UCAR. November 2003. Archived from the original on 7 May 2009. Retrieved 28 August 2009.
  5. ^ "NCAR Scientist Tom Wigley Honored as AAAS Fellow". UCAR. 31 October 2003. Archived from the original on 6 December 2009. Retrieved 28 August 2009.
  6. ^ Hosansky, David (31 October 2003). "NCAR Scientist Tom Wigley Honored as AAAS Fellow". University Corporation for Atmospheric Research. Archived from the original on 6 December 2009. Retrieved 30 December 2009.
  7. ^ "History of the Climatic Research Unit". Archived from the original on 24 July 2014. Retrieved 14 September 2010.
  8. ^ John Tierney (3 April 2008). "Are Carbon Cuts Just a Fantasy?". New York Times. Retrieved 28 August 2009.
  9. ^ "What's up with the Weather". Interview: Tom M.L. Wigley. PBS. 2000. Retrieved 28 August 2009.
  10. ^ "Top climate change scientists issue open letter to policy influencers -". CNN. 3 November 2013.