Climate change

Sediment sampling in the Thames, UK. Lightning in Behai, China. Stormy seas. Stranded icebergs, northern Antarctica. Landslide at Aldbrough, Yorkshire, UK. Fjallsjökull Glacier, Iceland. Cyclones Ului and Tomas.

The BGS climate change programme is addressing climate change issues through a variety of focused efforts.

We are at heart of a community effort to:

  • observe past and present climate;
  • to understand those observations, and ultimately;
  • to predict future climates and the environmental responses to those climates.

Our partners include many of the UK's finest universities and the research centres and facilities of the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).

Selected research


Accurately assessing stocks of carbon in the soil is important because in many areas the soil is expected to emit carbon into the atmosphere as temperatures rise and microbial activity increases.

Coastal pollution and climateCoastal pollution and climate

Organic chemistry research into pollution and climate in several UK and international estuaries.

Environment responseEnvironmental responses to climate change

How will climate change impact our present environment? Information on how BGS research is addressing this question.


Is the type of climate change we are experiencing today unique in Earth's history? What was our environment and climate like when the world was much warmer? How can we measure the degree and pace of present environmental change?


Peat is widely recognised as providing key ecosystem services that are important for human well being; the BGS has built a wide portfolio of peat-based research.

CloudQuaternary domains

The relative abundance of organic deposits and distinct peat types, and the environment in which it formed, are described for Great Britain in the context of 11 Quaternary domains.

SoilSustainable soils

Research into processes in the 'critical zone', which we rely upon to grow food, maintain ecosystems, filter water and store carbon in the biosphere.


Contact Prof. Mike Ellis, Head of Climate Change Programme, for more information.