C3W Research is organised into four Thematic Clusters and four cross-cutting Grand Challenges.

C3W Thematic Clusters

Cryospheric Systems and Climate Change (CSCC): Professor Tavi Murray (Swansea)

The major collaborative centres involved in CSCC are the Glaciology Centres in Swansea and Aberystwyth universities and the School of Ocean Sciences (SOS) at Bangor University. Major research themes include the mass balance and dynamics of the Greenland Ice Sheet (Swansea/Aberystwyth), reconstructing ice sheets and their dynamics  Swansea/Aberystwyth/Bangor), glacial hazards in the Himalaya (Aberystwyth) and modelling the effects of ocean tides on ice sheets and implications for sea-level rise  Bangor/Swansea). C3W is collaborating with the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) and the British Geological Survey (BGS)

Human Dimensions of Climate Change (HDCC): Professor Nick Pidgeon (Cardiff)

The major collaborative centres involved in HDCC are the Department of Psychology in Cardiff University, now housing Tyndall Cardiff, Institute of Geography and Earth Sciences and the Department of International Politics in Aberystwyth and the Law School in Swansea. Major research themes include the psychological and social dimensions of climate change mitigation and adaptation (Cardiff/Aberystwyth), links with the Low Carbon Research Institute through Aberystwyth University’s Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences and legal and insurance risk aspects of climate change (Swansea).

Marine and Atmospheric Systems and Climate Change (MASCC): Professor James Scourse (Bangor)

The major collaborative centres involved in MASCC are SOS Bangor, the Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences at Cardiff University, the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) at Aberystwyth and Biosciences in Swansea. Major research themes include the stability of the North Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) (Cardiff/Bangor), the role of the ocean in rapid climate change (Cardiff/Bangor), the generation of ultra-high-resolution records of marine climate change (Bangor/Cardiff), the dynamics and biogeochemistry of sea ice in the Arctic (Bangor) and the impact of marine climate change on key species, ecosystems and fisheries (Swansea/Aberystwyth/Bangor).

Terrestrial Systems and Climate Change (TSCC): Professor Geoff Duller (Aberystwyth)

The major collaborative centres involved in TSCC are the Institute of Geography and Earth Sciences (IGES) in Aberystwyth, the Department of Geography in Swansea, the School of Engineering in Cardiff and the School of Environment, Natural Resources and Geography (SENRGy) in Bangor. Major research themes include the sensitivity of landscape(s) to climate change (Aberystwyth), desertification in the sub-tropics (Aberystwyth), river flooding and flood hazards (Cardiff/Swansea/Bangor), and carbon cycling and sequestration in soils and wetlands (Bangor/Swansea).

Grand Challenges web

C3W Grand Challenges

Hazard Evaluation, Mitigation and Adaptation.

Climatically-induced geohazards are the focus of this Grand Challenge. Many components of the Earth System and dependent socio-economic systems are being affected adversely (or in some instances positively) by climate change. Alongside a burgeoning world population, climate change is increasing human exposure to natural hazards, particularly in developing countries where climatic events, such as storms, floods and landslides, have all contributed to hundreds of thousands of deaths in recent decades. The UK is increasingly at risk from climatically-induced hazards, such as changing rainfall patterns, catchment flooding, landslides and sea-level rise. In this context, it is vital that earth-surface and atmospheric processes are investigated holistically, in order to underpin investigation of the societal issues of mitigation and adaptation. C3W research is aimed at identifying the interaction between globally driven climate change, and regional and local scale impacts. We are exploring trade-offs between long-term gains through mitigation and shorter term regional and local impacts through a series of Wales- and internationally focused case studies. This Grand Challenge requires collaboration between members of all four clusters, with particular input from the Terrestrial, Marine and Atmospheric, and Human Dimensions clusters.

Sea-Level Change.

This Grand Challenge addresses the causes of sea level change, the past history of rates of sea-level change, predictions of future rates of change and the resulting spatial patterns. C3W is researching mitigation and adaption strategies for dealing with the societal impacts of sea level rise. Global sea level is primarily controlled by the retreat or expansion of land ice and by the thermal expansion of the oceans. The pattern of ice melt, oceanographic and tectonic effects has an impact locally. This Grand Challenge therefore  requires close collaboration by members of all four clusters, with particular input from the Cryosphere, Marine and Atmospheric, and Human Dimensions clusters.

Earth System Modelling.

This Grand Challenge is concerned with the integration, synthesis, and analysis of climate, geological, glaciological, atmospheric, oceanographic, and ecological data via a hierarchy of advanced numerical modelling approaches that are required to improve fundamental understanding of the coupled physical climate, chemistry,and biogeochemical cycles of the Earth system. C3W is delivering this agenda in close collaboration with High Performance Computing Wales (HPCW) and Fujitsu Laboratories of Europe (FLE). This approach enables us to be better informed in predicting regional climate change trajectories, systems responses and feedbacks in the 21st century, and provide the background for the integration of human health and socio-economic systems. These advances feed back into national climate modelling efforts. The delivery of this Grand Challenge is requiring integrated collaboration by members of all four thematic clusters.

Welsh Dimensions of Climate Change.

For this Grand Challenge, Welsh devolution provides the context in which down-scaled democracy and governance enables a flexible approach to adapt to global issues such as climate change. Wales provides C3W with a superb natural laboratory for investigating climate change, exploring the implications and impacts of associated human responses and developing the knowledge base to inform lifestyle changes and governance issues. Wales’s past dependency on extractive carbon-based industries provides a poignant backdrop to explore the challenges of water supply (whether too much or not enough), land-use and development of a diversity of renewable energy sources. C3W is working closely with the Welsh Government, the Climate Change Commission of Wales (CCCR) and Natural Resources Wales (NRW)  in delivering this Grand Challenge which requires collaboration between members of all four clusters, with particular input from the Human Dimensions, Marine and Atmospheric, and Terrestrial clusters.