Emily Wallis

Emily Wallis


I studied for my bachelor’s degree at the University of Leicester and the University of Calgary, graduating with first class honours in ‘BSc Geography with a Year Abroad’ in July 2015. My final year dissertation was titled: “Simulating Active Layer Thickness in the Mackenzie Valley, Canada, 2015-2099” and investigated the impact climate change may have on permafrost over the 21st century, using local site information, a numerical model and climate model data.

Following graduation, I worked full-time for four years in the sustainability sector, working initially in the Environment Team at Leicester City Council and later in the Energy and Sustainability Team at De Montfort University. In both roles I was tasked with developing, implementing and monitoring sustainability initiatives in order to reduce the environmental impact of the organisation and of the wider Leicester area.

I have chosen to return to academia after four years, to read for a PhD, in order to pursue my research interests. These are broad, but relate to human-environmental interactions and the impact humans have, and continue to have, on our environment and climate.

Emily Wallis

Marine, Atmospheric and Climate Science

University of East Anglia, School of Environmental Sciences

PhD title: Climate Change during the early industrial era

Understanding climate change from the beginnings of industrialisation to the early twentieth century is invaluable. It is a period with strong natural variability from volcanism and climate dynamics, and analysing this period is crucial to determine the full amount of human-induced warming.

This PhD will combine an improved air temperature dataset, developed by the GloSAT project using early instrumental observations (back to 1780), with information from climate ‘proxies’ and from model simulations to assess climate variability during the early industrial period. In particular, the project will focus on Europe and the Tropics, where there is a wealth of information available from tree-ring data and documentary evidence, and coral temperature records, respectively.

The specific aims of the PhD are to: a) evaluate the new GloSAT temperature record for consistency with the proxy records, b) use proxy-system models to predict proxy records using GloSAT temperatures and other forcing variables taken from last-millennium reanalyses, and c) develop improved quantification of the extent of cooling that follows volcanic eruptions, the overall warming trends during the first century of industrialisation, and the influence of modes of climate variability.


  • Studentship funded by NERC

Further Information

During my undergraduate degree at the University of Leicester I received the following awards:

  • Bruce May Dissertation Prize for the best Physical Geography dissertation submitted by a final year student at the University of Leicester
  • John H Paterson Prize for the best performing second-year Geography student at the University of Leicester
  • Michael Read Memorial Prize for the best performing first-year Geography student at the University of Leicester