Photo of Mr Simon Clark

Mr Simon Clark



Telephone: 01392 723612

Extension: (Streatham) 3612


My research is into the coupling of the stratosphere and the troposphere. These are the two bottom-most layers of the atmosphere, ranging from roughly 10-50 kilometers above the surface, and up to roughly 10 kilometers above the surface respectively. Long thought to be dynamically separate, they have been shown to interact with one another in very important ways that shape surface weather. Understanding the way that the stratosphere changes surface weather will allow us to improve surface forecasts, and potentially extend the window in which forecasts are accurate - particularly for extreme events in the midlatitudes such as cyclones.

More specifically I am investigating the response of the atmospheric column to sudden stratospheric warmings, or more generally to extreme polar vortex events. This coincides with work done by my supervisor Prof. Mark Baldwin. I am currently investigating the pressure anomalies throughout the stratosphere and troposphere during sudden warmings, and attempting to provide a theoretical basis for their dynamics. But seeing as I've only been here for just over a year, I'm still quite a way off!


Other Work / Teaching

  • As part of a radio show which I co-host on campus station XpressionFM - The Science Hour - myself and another PhD student from the astrophysics group created a comparative card game of female scientists. The cards are all available for free here. We hope that the deck will demonstrate to girls in school that there is a huge heritage of female science that they can join, and that they shouldn't be put off doing science because it's a "boy's subject". Please feel free to print off the cards and use them as a classroom aid, no further permission is required to use them. Hopefully physical decks will be available for free soon.
  • As part of module 'The Mathematics of Climate Change' I gave two lectures on the stratosphere and Mars' climate.



I completed my undergraduate study in Physics (MPhys) at St. Peter's College, University of Oxford, where I specialised in theoretical and atmospheric physics. As part of my masters year I completed work with Dr Scott Osprey on QBO-SAO synchronisation and with Dr Fenwick Cooper on stochastic methods in climate models. Before that I attended Wellsway School in my home town of Keynsham, just outside Bristol.


General interests

  • After attending Oxford from a non-standard (state comprehensive) background, the issue of access to Oxbridge has become a passion of mine. I run a youtube channel which attempts to dispel myths and misconceptions that many students believe about the universities, and so encourage them to apply. I also now upload vlogs about my life as a PhD student in Exeter, as well as general scientific videos, and am active in the graduate YouTube community. I am also on twitter.
  • Following on from my passion for Oxbridge access, I am the founder and also head of the Oxvlog project on YouTube.
  • Music: from 2014-2015 I was the vice-musical director of the Exeter University Madrigals - a medieval/renaissance a cappella group, sang in the Exeter University Harmonics and was vice-president of the university a cappella society. From 2013 to the present I am also a bass choral scholar in the university chapel choir. Before coming to Exeter I also played alto saxophone. Favourite composers: Tallis, Palestrina, Copland, Zimmer, Newton-Howard. Also a fan of most forms of music.
  • Films: a lover of films and an amateur film-maker myself. Particularly interested in cinematography and cinema as an art form, but also in the development of the format. Favourite directors: David Fincher, Ridley Scott, Joss Whedon, Stanley Kubrick. Favourite cinematographers: Emmanuel Lubezki, Roger Deakins.


My knowledge of potential vorticity theory.

My knowledge of Python.