Skip to main content

Dr David Macleod


Lecturer in Climate Risk

School of Earth and Environmental Sciences

+44 29225 14696
Main Building, Room 0.16b, Park Place, Cardiff, CF10 3AT
Available for postgraduate supervision


My research focus is climate risk: understanding weather and climate variability and its impacts. I work on forecast horizons from days to decades ahead to decades ahead. 

A key part of my work is evaluation and experimentation with initialised climate models. This supports understanding of the drivers of extreme meteorological events, and the degree to which they can be predicted.

This scientific work forms a cornerstone of my work supporting international humanitarian organisations to use forecasts for anticipatory action.

To communicate key ideas to non-scientific partners (and in my teaching) I also use and design "serious games". These are play-orientated activities designed to interactively explore concepts and build core understanding in an engaging way.


Since 2017 I have been working on potential for using cutting-edge weather and climate forecasting systems for the development of early warning systems. My research activity has had a strong focus in the Greater Horn of Africa (GHA), where I worked on the NERC DFiD funded project ForPAc. In this project we supported development of early warning systems for flooding and drought in Kenya and the Greater Horn of Africa, alongside partners in the Kenya Red Cross, Kenya Meteorological Department and the National Flood and Drought Monitoring Authority.

In September 2020 I joined the University of Bristol on the EU H2020 project DOWN2EARTH. This was a large interdisciplinary project, working to build water security information systems in GHA. As part of the project I designed a novel method for linking the regional seasonal rainfall forecasts to a bespoke dryland hydrology model, generating water balance forrecasts at unprecedented 1km spatial resolution. This modelling system is now being operaitonalised my ICPAC, the mandated climate service providor in the region.

In previous work I have looked at:

  • improvement of the modelling systems used to make seasonal predictions through better representation of uncertainty in soil hydrology
  • developing forecast visualisation tools and modelling systems for the wind energy industry.
  • quantifying the uncertainty involved in making climate-driven forecasts for malaria, on seasonal and decadal scales (this was my PhD research)

Along with scientific research, I engage with humanitarian organisations such as the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre, where I provide forecast analysis and guidance to support the development of anticipatory action protocols by National Red Cross Societies. 


I co-lead the postgraduate module "Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience" where we use a range of interactive workshop activities to explore key concepts needed to engage critically with a range of issues related to climate change.

I co-lead the third year "Grand Challenge" on the "Environmental Sustainability Science" program. This is a strongly student-led investigation into "Climate Action".

I support the Physical Geography field trip to Kos, Greece.

I teach two weeks on "Climate Impacts", on the third year course "Global Climate Change".


Academic positions

2023-present: Lecturer in Climate Risk, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Cardiff University

2020-2023: Senior Research Associate, Department of Geographical Sciences, Bristol University

2013-2020: Postdoctoral Research Associate, Atmospheric, Oceanic and Planetary Physics, Oxford University

2009-2013: PhD: "Quantifying Climate-Driven Disease Risk", Department of Geography, Liverpool University

2008-2009: MSc: "Mathematical and Numerical Modelling of the Atmosphere and Oceans", Department of Mathematics, University of Reading

2004-2008: MPhys: "Physics with Australian Study", Department of Physics, University of Exeter (including one year in Department of Physics, Unviersity of Sydney) 


I am available to supervise, around the following topics:

Weather and climate hazards

Early warning systems and anticipatory action

Predictability of weather and climate and drivers of climate variability

Current supervision

Kat Cocking

Kat Cocking

Research student

Research themes


  • Meteorology
  • Tropical meteorology
  • Natural hazards
  • Weather Forecasting
  • Humanitarian disasters, conflict and peacebuilding