Professor Edward Hanna

Professor of Climate Change

Edward Hanna

Room number: F7
Telephone (internal): 27965
Telephone (UK): 0114 222 7965
Telephone (International): +44 114 222 7965

Edward Hanna received a BSc in Planetary Science (First Class Honours) from University College London in 1995 and completed a PhD in Satellite Remote Sensing of Antarctic Sea Ice and Climatic Couplings at the University of Bristol in 1998. This was followed by a period of postdoctoral research in the Department of Meteorology, University of Reading between 1998 and 2000 before being appointed as lecturer in Meteorology at the Institute of Marine Studies, University of Plymouth in November 2000, and promotion to a senior lectureship in September 2002.

In September 2003 Edward was appointed as Lecturer in Climate Change at the Department of Geography, University of Sheffield, promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2006, Reader in 2010 and was awarded a personal chair in 2013.

Edward is a Fellow of both the Royal Meteorological and Royal Astronomical Societies, member of the International Glaciological Society, member of the American Geophysical Union, has served as a Council member of the British Astronomical Association, is an Editor of The Cryosphere (European Geosciences Union), and has previously served on the Editorial Board of Weather (RMetS).He has published 80 research papers in international peer-reviewed journals, which have attracted over 1,500 citations according to ISI Web of Science (November 2013).

Research Interests

Polar ice and climate change; Meteorology/climate of Greenland, Iceland and other high-latitude regions; Mass balance of Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheets; Sea ice and satellite remote sensing of sea ice; Solar forcing of climate; Meteorology during solar eclipses.

More generally (last but not least!) climatology, applied/historical meteorology including instruments and observations, astronomy and planetary science. Public understanding of science, especially meteorology and astronomy; related media work.

Current research

Greenland Ice Sheet mass balance and interactions with climate

My main main current research activity involves using climatic and glaciological datasets and models, to estimate the present-day surface mass balance, and hence contribution to global sea-level change, of the Greenland Ice Sheet (eg Hanna et al, Journal of Geophysical Research - Atmospheres, 2005), in collaboration with partners in the USA (including NASA), Belgium, Denmark and University of Wales Swansea.

Read more about my ice sheet mass balance research

Global atmospheric pressure variability and storminess reconstruction

Global atmospheric pressure variability and storminess reconstruction from meteorological observations and climate models, using our novel pressure variability index, dp(abs) (Jónsson and Hanna, Meteorologische Zeitschrift, 2007); exploration of the pressure-variability spectrum in time and space and links with climatic change. This aspect of the research includes collaborations with the Hadley Centre, Icelandic Meteorological Office and Danish Meteorological Institute, among others.

Read more about my atmospheric reconstruction research

Sea-surface temperature reconstructions, variability and links with climate change

Sea-surface temperature reconstructions, variability and links with climate change; related air-sea fluxes and interaction in the North Atlantic, in collaboration with the Icelandic Meteorological Office and Marine Research Institute in Reykjavik (Hanna et al, Journal of Climate, 2006).

Read more about my sea-surface temperature reconstructions research

Monitoring and analysing the effect of solar eclipses worldwide on weather conditions in the boundary layer

Monitoring and analysing the effect of solar eclipses worldwide on weather conditions in the boundary layer: co-ordinated, led and published the first-ever analysis (of the 11 August 1999 total solar eclipse) from a comprehensive station network (Hanna, Weather, 2000). More general interests include climatology, Earth sciences, remote sensing, applied and historical meteorology, including instruments and observations, with special interests in astronomy and planetary science. Edward is actively interested in a possible solar-climatic link - not all global warming is likely man-made! An active meteorological observer, Edward maintains an automatic weather station in North Sheffield as part of the Climatological Observers Link (COL) network.

Read more about my solar eclipse weather effects research

Edward has acted as Principal Investigator of a new British Council BRIDGE (2007/8) award "Keeping it cool..." - a new British-Russian collaborative research venture on the subject of climate change. He co-supervises a Marie Curie Fellow, Zhenlin Yang, who is investigating climate-ecosystem linkages in the Abisko catchment, Swedish Lapland, in a four-year (2007-2011) project, and was co-advisor of former PhD student Dr Tris Irvine-Fynn (researching polythermal glacier hydrology).


Undergraduate Teaching
I teach a wide range of subjects and modules from first-year foundation physical geography through Statistics to more specialised third-year undergraduate climatology courses. I greatly enjoy teaching students about the atmosphere, weather and climate, and encouraging geography students who may not previously have studied maths, to think in a more quantitative way, and to pick up numerical and computing skills which are often of enormous use for their final-year dissertations. I also normally run the Blencathra, Lake District fieldclass for second-year physical geography students. I supervise third-year undergraduate projects on a wide range of climatology-related topics, examples of which include improving computer-model simulations of the Greenland Ice Sheet mass balance, survey-based studies on people’s attitudes towards climate change, as well as field-based projects sampling micrometeorological variations in and around Sheffield.

Edward's specialist teaching on undergraduate courses includes:
GEO101 Physical Systems at the Global Scale
GEO152 Statistical Data Analysis in Geography
GEO234 Atmospheres and Oceans
GEO354 Contemporary Climate Change and Processes

All staff also engage in personal supervision and tutoring of individual students at all three levels in the following modules:
GEO163 (Information & Communication Skills for Geographers)
GEO263 or GEO264 (Research Design in Human or Physical Geography)
GEO356 (Geographical Research Project)

Masters & Postgraduate Teaching
At postgraduate level, I convene a Research Design module for Masters and 1st-year PhD students in Physical Geography, co-convene a Masters course on polar and alpine climates, and currently supervise four PhD students on projects ranging from air-sea interaction of Macronesia and climate-ecosystem modelling in Swedish Lapland through melt modelling of the Greenland Ice Sheet to solar PV and future energies. Throughout all these courses and teaching efforts I present results and ideas from my latest research and real-world events, reflecting my belief in a seamless interface between research/newsworthy topics and teaching that can help to suitably enthuse and motivate students. I favour a small-group discursive teaching approach whenever possible within large first-year undergraduate lectures, to get students to discuss and interchange ideas rather than merely lecturing them. In addition, I normally act as undergraduate and level one tutor for the department.

Edward's teaching on Masters courses includes:
GEO402 Current Issues in Natural Environmental Science
GEO6030 Research Design in Physical Geography

GEO6608 Current Issues in Environmental Analysis
GEO6610 Polar and Alpine Climates
GEO6612 Current Issues in Polar and Alpine Science 

Key Publications

    Hanna, E., T.E. Cropper, P.D. Jones, A.A. Scaife, R. Allan (2014) Recent seasonal asymmetric changes in the NAO (a marked summer decline and increased winter variability) and associated changes in the AO and Greenland Blocking Index. Int. J. Climatol, DOI: 10.1002/joc.4157

    Hanna, E., Fettweis, X., Mernild, S. H., Cappelen, J., Ribergaard, M. H., Shuman, C. A., Steffen, K., Wood, L. and Mote, T. L. (2014), Atmospheric and oceanic climate forcing of the exceptional Greenland ice sheet surface melt in summer 2012. Int. J. Climatol., 34: 1022–1037. DOI: 10.1002/joc.3743

    Hanna, E., F.J. Navarro, F. Pattyn, C. Domingues, X. Fettweis, E. Ivins, R.J. Nicholls, C. Ritz, B. Smith, S. Tulaczyk, P. Whitehouse & J. Zwally (2013) Ice-sheet mass balance and climate change. Nature 498, 51-59, DOI: 10.1038/nature12238

    Hanna, E., Mernild, S.H., Cappelen, J. and Steffen, K. (2012). Recent warming in Greenland in a long-term instrumental (1881-2012) climatic context: I. Evaluation of surface air temperature records. Environmental Research Letters, 7, 045404, DOI:10.1088/1748-9326/7/4/045404

    Overland, J.E., Francis, J., Hanna, E. and Wang, M. (2012). The recent shift in early summer arctic atmospheric circulation. Geophysical Research Letters, 39, L19804, DOI:10.1029/2012GL053268

    Hanna, E., Huybrechts, P., Cappelen, J., Steffen, K., Bales, R.C., Burgess, E.W., McConnell, J.R., Steffensen, J. P., van den Broeke, M., Wake, L., Bigg, G.R., Griffiths, M. and Savas, D. (2011). Greenland Ice Sheet surface mass balance 1870 to 2010 based on Twentieth Century Reanalysis, and links with global climate forcing. Journal of Geophysical Research - Atmospheres, 116, D24121, DOI:10.1029/2011JD016387

Other information

Edward is a keen walker, swimmer, cyclist, gardener and cat lover as an antidote to all these academic activities!