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Dr Charles Williams

Dr Charles Williams

Dr Charles Williams
BA, DPhil

Research Fellow

Area of research

Climate variability and change: (deep) past, present & future

University Road,
Clifton, Bristol BS8 1SS
(See a map)



I am a Climate Scientist, appointed as a Research Fellow at the University of Bristol (UK), within the School of Geographical Sciences. I also hold a Senior Visiting Research Fellow position at the University of Reading (UK), within the Department of Meteorology and the Climate Division of the National Centres for Atmospheric Science (NCAS-Climate). Lastly, I am a part-time tutor at the University of Oxford's Department for Continuing Education, where I teach a course in Contemporary Climate Science.

My research focuses on Deep time, looking at how climate has behaved in the warmer worlds experienced during the early Eocene and mid-Pliocene (approximately 50 million and 3 million years ago, respectively). My background lies in climate variability and change (and in particular rainfall extremes) over the tropics, with a focus on Africa, and associated atmospheric, oceanic and land surface interactions. In addition, my research interests include regional climate change and the resulting climate impacts, vulnerability to climate change and adaptation measures, and perceptions/beliefs of climate change. Outside my universities, I am a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, and used to be Chair of their Climate Change Research Group

As is perhaps hinted at in the photo, I also happen to be physically disabled, using a specialised electric wheelchair, non-invasive ventilation and requiring 24/7 care (that I manage myself). With no exaggeration, I can only (just) lift a finger. Think Prof Stephen Hawking*, just much less intelligent.

* I myself would never make such a presumptive comparison, but others have!


I have extensive teaching experience, at undergraduate, postgraduate, PhD and adult education levels.  At undergraduate level, I have taught and convened many physical geography-related courses such as Remote Sensing, GIS, Global weather events and Climate Change.  I have supervised numerous undergraduate dissertation on a number of topics.  At postgraduate level, I have supervised numerous MSc dissertations and PhD projects on topics such as remote sensing across Africa, improving climate predictions for Africa, modelling land surface interactions, variability of the the West African monsoon, the Indian summer monsoon and its future changes, among many others.  At adult education level, I currently teach a course on Contemporary Climate Science at the University of Oxford.


  • Climate change
  • Palaeoclimate
  • Climate modelling
  • African climate
  • Rainfall variability
  • Land surface-atmosphere interactions
  • Remote sensing
  • Climate impacts
  • Building resilience to climate vulnerability
  • Climate perceptions/beliefs

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