View all news

Bristol weather expert wins prestigious national accolade for advancing understanding of extreme heat and health

Professor Mitchell's pioneering research focuses on extreme heat and its impact on human health.

Press release issued: 19 July 2023

A leading climate scientist from the University of Bristol, has today won an award in recognition of his pioneering work to advance understanding of global weather extremes and their impact on society.

Dann Mitchell, Professor of Climate Science at the university’s Cabot Institute for the Environment, has received The Adrian Gill Award for Advances at the Interface of Atmospheric Science and Related Disciplines from the Royal Meteorological Society (RMetS).

Professor Mitchell, who is the Met Office chair in Climate Hazards at the university, said: “I am both excited and honoured to be given this award. The award was for research involving climate change and how it interfaces with hazards, progressing through to the real-life impacts on populations around the world.

“The growing importance and urgency of our work is increasingly apparent as many parts of the world are facing unprecedented heatwaves this summer. Our research already plays a crucial role in forecasting the likely human health toll of near- and distant- future weather extremes and helps inform vital measures to help mitigate against the most dangerous consequences of them.

“By its very nature this involved a multitude of disciplines, and in my case that gave me access to brilliant scientists ranging across the fields of epidemiology, health science, hydrology, and disaster risk reduction.”

Professor Mitchell is an acclaimed climate scientist, whose latest research combines climate modelling and the projected effects on human health. This interdisciplinary focus between atmospheric and health sciences is especially important in light of the rapidly changing climate and its repercussions on global populations.

He added: “My excitement for research is fuelled by those around me, and that starts with my group at Bristol, a truly interdisciplinary bunch of physical, social, and computational scientists who make every step of the research process a pleasure. It is a large group, and one with a strong sense of community and research culture, and in my view, that is what ignites some of the best science.”

Professor Mitchell, who holds an Alan Turing Fellowship and National Environment Research Council (NERC) Fellowship, has conducted leading international research published in top academic journals, including Nature Medicine, Lancet Planetary Health, and British Medical Journal.

Professor Mitchell’s wide-ranging weather expertise also include hydrology. The international consortium he co-founded and runs, HAPPI (Half a degree Additional warming, Prognosis and Projected Impacts), is among the first international, multi-model assessments to work in an interdisciplinary way. It incorporates nine different modelling centres with over 15 different ‘impact sectors’, ranging from weather impacts on the environment, such as flooding, droughts, wildfires, to weather impacts on social systems, such as food security, economy and health care.

Over the past five years, HAPPI has produced more than 100 peer-reviewed publications and won crucial funding to establish the National Climate Impacts and Risks meeting, uniting academic and industry professionals focusing on the interrelationship of atmospheric science and environmental impacts.

Professor Liz Bentley, Chief Executive of the RMetS, said: “Overall, Dann has produced major leaps forward in the science of the atmosphere and its impact on society, both within and outside of the RMetS journals. He has done this through ground-breaking research, international leadership, communication, and building wide-reaching networks for the communities with which he works. Given Dann’s standing as a visionary scientist, and his central focus on interdisciplinary science, make him a worthy recipient of the Royal Meteorological Society Adrian Gill award.”

The Adrian Gill Award for Advances at the Interface of Atmospheric Science and Related Disciplines is awarded annually to a member of RMetS who has made a significant contribution and authored research in the Society’s journals in fields interfacing between atmospheric science and related disciplines.

Edit this page