Prof Matthew England

Deputy Director
UNSW Climate Change Research Centre

Matthew England is an Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow and Deputy Director of the UNSW Climate Change Research Centre (CCRC) as well as being a Chief Investigator in the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science. In 2014 England was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science. In 2016 he was elected a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union. England is a former Fulbright Scholar and CSIRO Flagship Fellow, and winner of the Royal Society of Victoria Research Medal, 2007; two Eureka Prizes (Environmental Research, 2006; Land and Water, 2008); the 2005 AMOS Priestley Medal and the Australian Academy of Science Frederick White Prize, 2004.  He was recently awarded with the Tinker-Muse Prize for Science and Policy in Antarctica (  England coordinated and led the 2007 “Bali Climate Declaration by Scientists”; a major international statement by the scientific community that specifies the reductions in greenhouse gas emissions required to minimise the risk of dangerous human-induced climate change. England was the convening lead author of the 2009 Copenhagen Diagnosis. He is currently co-chair of the CLIVAR Southern Ocean panel, and was a contributing author and reviewer of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Second and Third Assessment Reports. England’s expertise covers the physics of the oceans and their role in climate variability and climate change.


Drivers of recent oceanic trends around Antarctica from the surface to the abyss
Despite unequivocal global warming, Southern Ocean surface waters have largely cooled over the past ~40 years and Antarctic sea ice has expanded, in stark contrast to almost all historical climate model simulations. The Southern Ocean surface cooling is nearly circumpolar, except notably in the Amundsen-Bellingshausen Sea, where rapid warming and sea-ice retreat has been observed. In contrast to the overall surface cooling around Antarctica, subsurface ocean warming has been observed, both over the Antarctic shelf and in the abyssal ocean layers ventilated by Antarctic Bottom Water. The shelf water warming threatens to drive catastrophic retreat of Antarctica’s marine-terminating ice sheets, resulting in accelerated global sea-level rise. The bottom water warming likely indicates a slowdown of the overturning of dense water around Antarctica, with implications for the global cycling of heat and nutrients by the oceans. This talk will present an overview of the processes that have led to these oceanic temperature trends around Antarctica, and give an outlook of expected changes over the coming decades.