Atmospheric, Oceanic and Planetary Physics

Our research focuses on the physical processes in the atmospheres and oceans of the Earth and other planets.


Atmospheric, Oceanic and Planetary Physics is an important centre for atmospheric and oceanic modelling. We study the large-scale behaviour of the atmosphere-ocean system and its response to external drivers such as the increases in greenhouse gas levels responsible for anthropogenic climate change. Other modelling of the Earth's atmosphere focuses on large-scale dynamical and chemical-transport processes relevant to climate, and on the interpretation of our satellite data.

Research Groups:


We are actively involved in the retrieval of atmospheric parameters from Earth and Planetary observing satellites and their applications. A significant amount of analysis of observations from other sources is also carried out, especially as part of the validation of weather and climate model simulations. Our main area of experimental work is the development of space instruments for infrared remote sensing of the structure and composition of planetary atmospheres, especially the Earth's stratosphere and mesosphere.

Research Groups:

Atmospheric, Oceanic and Planetary Physics at Oxford has been developing space instruments since the 1970s and is experienced in various areas of design and manufacturing for space.



We also investigate fundamental theoretical questions related to Earth and Planetary Physics. This also includes geophysical fluid dynamics by means of laboratory experiments on rotating, stratified fluids, including the study of the chaotic behaviour of a wide variety of physical systems using experimental and theoretical techniques.

Research Groups:

Research themes

Climate Physics

Group Leaders

Atmospheric Dynamics

Tim Woollings

Atmospheric Processes

Hannah Christensen

Climate Dynamics

Myles Allen

Climate Processes

Philip Stier

Earth Observation Data Group

Roy Grainger, Anu Dudhia

Ice and Fluid Dynamics

Andrew Wells

Physical Oceanography

David Marshall

Predictability of Weather and Climate

Tim Palmer, Antje Weisheimer

Stratosphere and Climate

Lesley Gray, Scott Osprey

Planetary Physics

Group Leaders


Raymond Pierrehumbert, Suzanne Aigrain, Patrick Irwin, Caroline Terquem, Niranjan Thatte, Peter Read, Vivien Parmentier

Geophysical Fluid Dynamics

Peter Read

Planetary Science

Patrick Irwin, Peter Read, Simon Calcutt, Neil Bowles, Raymond Pierrehumbert, Colin Wilson