Thomas Caton Harrison

Academic Profile

I am a first year student on the Physical Climate stream, with an interest in the climate and weather of the Sahara, particularly where dust is involved.
Graduating with a degree in Geography from the University of Oxford in 2015, my undergraduate dissertation evaluated the findings of automatic weather station data from the previously unobserved central Sahara. This work has helped identify important deficiencies in existing widely used model-based datasets.

In 2016, I completed my MSc in Applied Meteorology at the University of Reading. My MSc dissertation quantified the effect of the Hoggar, Atlas and Tibesti mountains upon the prominent low-level jet feature in the central and western Sahara. Understanding what controls this jet is crucial for explaining why dust is emitted where it is.

Current Research

I research wind-driven mechanisms for uplift of mineral dust from the Central and Western Sahara using a multiyear record of emissions derived from geostationary satellite imagery. Besides my DPhil, I am also interested in the UK's instrumental temperature record, and am currently working on a new official version of the Met Office's Central England Temperature dataset.



Caton Harrison, T., Washington, R., & Engelstaedter, S. (2019). A 14‐year climatology of Saharan dust emission mechanisms inferred from automatically tracked plumes. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 124.