Year 12 geography students recently attended a lecture at Newcastle University about the impact of climate change to the weather on Mount Everest.
The lecture was delivered by Dr Tom Matthews, a senior lecturer in Geography at King's College London. His research career began, though, with a PhD in glacier-climate interactions in 2013. Tom then spent the best part of the next decade researching the planet’s most extreme weather and its impacts on society, with his most substantial contributions coming in the study of deadly heat waves.
His interests in glaciers and extreme weather intersected in 2019 when he was asked to co-lead the meteorology component of the National Geographic and Rolex Perpetual Planet Everest Expedition. The team went on to break numerous Guinness world records, including for establishing the highest weather station in the world at 8,430 m a.s.l. In 2022 Tom was back on Mt Everest as the team installed a new weather station at the highest point possible on the Nepalese side of the mountain, just below the summit at 8810 m a.s.l.
Tom’s research is now working with these frontier data to understand how the precarious snow and ice resources stored at extreme altitude may respond to climate change.