Photo of Dr Joe Osborne

Dr Joe Osborne

Associate Research Fellow


Telephone: 01392 723612

Extension: (Streatham) 3612

Current work

I am a Research Fellow in the Exeter Climate Systems group, working on the EuroClim project. This project aims to improve European seasonal weather forecasts. To this end I am currently investigating the sensitivity of seasonal weather and climate to two key surface boundary conditions: 1) Arctic sea-ice, and 2) North Atlantic SSTs. I am working closely with Mat Collins and James Screen, as well as collaborators from the Met Office.

To date I have shown a sensitivity of the atmospheric response to Arctic sea ice loss to the ocean-atmosphere state of the North Pacific (Osborne et al., 2016). I am currently running a suite of atmosphere-only (HadGEM3) model simulations to test the sensitivity of European summer climate to different North Atlantic SST states. I plan to extend this research by testing whether summer predictability can be extended back to the spring in a fully coupled ocean-atmosphere model.

Past work

My PhD (supervised by Hugo Lambert) attempted to understand changes in Northern Hemisphere land precipitation. Building on the tropospheric energy budget constraint on global mean precipitation, I showed that model-simulated historical changes in Northern Hemisphere mid-latitude land precipitation display a predictable response to aerosol forcing in the mid-twentieth century. However, this aerosol response is not evident in key mid-latitude precipitation observations (Osborne and Lambert, 2014). I also showed that observed runoff changes, derived from river discharge measurements, contrast with observed precipitation changes in this region (Osborne et al., 2015). This contrast is a consequence of an obvious breakpoint in the runoff-precipitation relationship.

Immediately after my PhD I worked briefly as an Associate Research Fellow with the Met Office on the Climate Science for Service Partnership: China. I demonstrated how the Budyko framework can be used to refine water availability projections directly from GCMs, without needing to run offline GHMs. This approach was applied to Chinese river catchments. A paper on this work has been submitted.

Research interests

  • Large scale climate variability and change
  • Land surface hydrological change
  • Impacts of sea-ice/ocean variability on seasonal weather/climate


Osborne, J. M., M. Collins, J. A. Screen and S. I. Thomson, The North Atlantic as a driver of the summer North Atlantic Oscillation, in preparation for Journal of Climate (2018).

Osborne, J. M. and F. H. Lambert, A simple tool for refining GCM water availability projections, applied to Chinese catchments, Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, DOI:10.5194/hess-22-6043-2018 (2018).

Osborne, J. M., J. A. Screen and M. Collins, Ocean-atmospheric state dependence of the atmospheric response to Arctic sea ice loss, Journal of Climate, DOI:10.1175/JCLI-D-16-0531.1 (2017).

Osborne, J. M., F. H. Lambert, M. Groenendijk, A. B. Harper, C. D. Koven, B. Poulter, T. A. M. Pugh, S. Sitch, B. D. Stocker, A. Wiltshire and S. Zaehle, Reconciling precipitation with runoff: observed hydrological change in the midlatitudes, Journal of Hydrometeorology, DOI:10.1175/JHM-D-15-0055.1 (2015).

Osborne, J. M. and F. H. Lambert, The missing aerosol response in twentieth-century mid-latitude precipitation observations, Nature Climate Change, DOI:10.1038/NCLIMATE2173 (2014).