James Weber is an atmospheric chemist and climate scientist interested in how changes to atmospheric composition will influence climate change.
He read Natural Sciences at Pembroke College, University of Cambridge and then did a PhD in Atmospheric Chemistry in the Department of Chemistry, University of Cambridge. James’ PhD involved improving the description of the chemical reactions of organic compounds emitted by plants (BVOCs) in the Met Office’s climate model UKESM and assessing the influence of BVOCs on climate, highlighting how the description of chemistry within the model can have significant impacts. He also led a study simulating the climatic influence of anthropogenic emission reductions from the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of his PhD, James worked on studies which contributed to the evidence base of the 2021 IPCC AR6 report on climate change. James taught general chemistry and atmospheric chemistry to undergraduates during his PhD.
Employing his background in the atmospheric chemistry of BVOCs, James is using the Met Office’s climate model UKESM and other climate models to assess how the changes to BVOC emissions from widescale tree planting as a climate change mitigation strategy will affect climate by perturbing the greenhouse gases O3 and CH4 as well as aerosols and clouds. These changes, which also depend on how anthropogenic pollutants such as CO2, SO2 and NOx evolve in the future, may enhance or oppose the beneficial removal of CO2 by re/afforestation. Understanding and quantifying these factors is vital to assessing the efficacy of wide scale tree planting to tackle climate change. James is also looking at the atmospheric composition changes associated with enhanced rock weathering with colleagues in LC3M.