Christopher Smith

Chris Smith is a climate scientist who works at the interface of complex Earth System models and simpler climate models, linking information from simple climate models onto climate impacts for energy supply and energy demand.

Dr. Chris Smith is a NERC/IIASA Collaborative Research Fellow based in the Energy, Climate, and Environment Program at IIASA and Priestley International Centre for Climate, University of Leeds, UK. Chris completed a PhD in 2015 at the University of Leeds on the interactions between climate change and solar energy resource. Chris seeks to extend this work to other renewable technologies and non-renewables to evaluate the impact of climate change on the full energy system. A longer-term aim is to provide climate-dependent resource constraints for different technologies that can be implemented in integrated assessment models such as IIASA’s MESSAGE model. This will allow feedbacks between climate and energy supply to be accounted for. Climate change is also expected to impact energy demand, for example the increased cooling requirements in hotter summers, and these behavioral and adaptation decisions can also be built into integrated assessment giving a fuller picture of the coupled climate-energy system.

From 2015 to 2020 Chris worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Leeds in the Institute for Climate and Atmospheric Science. During this time Chris extended the FaIR simple climate model, now extensively used by the IPCC, to include non-CO2 emissions species and to provide a complete simple emissions-based climate emulator. The FaIR model can be tuned to emulate the behavior of more complex climate models, and simple models such as FaIR are necessary for usage in integrated assessment models as they are computationally inexpensive. Chris has also worked extensively with full complexity Earth System Models during his postdoctoral research, including running the UK Met Office’s HadGEM3 climate model and led research that has narrowed the uncertainty in the radiative forcing (a determinant of contributions to global warming). Chris was a contributing author and chapter scientist to the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment (Working Group 1) Report and Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C.


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Funding: IIASA - NERC Research Fellow

Nationality: UK

Program: Energy (ENE)

Starting date: May 2020


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Last edited: 28 July 2021

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