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 ENRICH (ENhancing ResIlienCe to future Hydro-meteorological extremes in the Mun river basin in Northeast of Thailand) project. This project is investigating the impact of the combined stressors of climate variability, climate change and land-use change on hydro-meteorological extremes, particularly drought. It will use the latest climate models to assess drivers of current and future rainfall, the information from which will be used to drive hydrological models that will inform adaptation strategies in the river basin. I am working closely with Mat Collins, colleagues in the Centre for Water Systems and colleagues at the Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand.

Past work

I previously worked on the EuroClim project with Mat Collins and James Screen, as well as collaborators from the Met Office. We highlighted a sensitivity of the atmospheric response to Arctic sea ice loss to the ocean-atmosphere state of the North Pacific (Osborne et al., 2016) and ran a suite of atmosphere-only (HadGEM3-A) model simulations to show contrasting and opposite summer circulation responses to tropical and extratropical North Atlantic sea surface temperatures, responses which may in part be due to key model biases (Osborne et al., 2019).

My PhD (supervised by Hugo Lambert) looked into changes in Northern Hemisphere land precipitation. We 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, but 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).

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, applying the approach to Chinese river catchments (Osborne and Lambert, 2018).

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 summer atmospheric circulation, in preparation for Journal of Climate (2019).

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).