Edinburgh Research Explorer

Alexander Tudhope

Personal Chair and Head of School

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Current Research Interests

My research explores the nature and drivers of tropical climate variability and change, and the environmental controls on growth of corals and coral reefs.  A major focus of my work has investigated variability in the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) climate phenomenon.  Although rooted in the tropical Pacific, ENSO is the largest source of year to year climate variability on earth, and has major ecological, social, health and economic repercussions through its impact on floods, droughts, temperature extremes, and cyclones.  Despite this impact, we still have a poor appreciation of the sensitivity of ENSO to climate forcing (e.g., through greenhouse gas emissions) and on the drivers and likelihood of extreme events.  My research in this domain has integrated reconstruction of past ENSO occurrence through geochemical analysis of the skeletons of annually banded corals with climate modelling to help constrain our understanding of natural and forced variability.   Geographical foci of this research include the Galapagos, the central Pacific, and the western equatorial Pacific warm pool region.  On the other side of the ‘equation’, I am interested in the impact of changes in temperature, sea-level and ocean acidification on the growth of corals and coral reefs on timescales from seasons to millennia. 

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