• Dr.
    • Simon Clark
    • Atmospheric Physics

Why you should care about the stratosphere

The stratosphere is a fascinating place; a lid on the turbulent lower atmosphere, a realm of alien dynamics that defy our everyday experiences, and home to the most violent events in the entire atmosphere. Every now and again the stratosphere reaches down and completely changes the weather we experience on the surface. It may well play a key role in the single most dangerous experiment humanity ever attempts. So, in short, you really should understand a bit more about what’s going on up there. In this talk I will give an introduction to the key features, dynamics, and impacts of the stratosphere. In particular I’ll be discussing sudden stratospheric warmings and their impacts on surface weather, the subject of my PhD, and also the potential use of the stratosphere in geoengineering.


Simon Clark is a professional science communicator, specialising in making videos about physics and climate. He obtained his master’s degree in physics at the University of Oxford, and his PhD in atmospheric physics at the University of Exeter, under the supervision of Prof Mark Baldwin. His thesis laid the theoretical framework for a quasi-geostrophic mechanism by which changes in stratospheric potential vorticity alter geopotential throughout the polar atmospheric column. Since 2010 he has made YouTube videos on his eponymous YouTube channel, and has recently experimented with regular educational streams on Twitch.