The Bristol Research Initiative for the Dynamic Global Environment (BRIDGE)

Organisation profile

Organisation profile

The Bristol Research Initiative for the Dynamic Global Environment (BRIDGE) was set up in 2003 by Prof Paul Valdes. Its aim is to improve the understanding of natural climate and environmental variability and to use this knowledge to predict future changes more accurately and assess its impact on all aspects of human society. In the context of UK research, this remit is uniquely wide. BRIDGE will provide information to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and ultimately feed into the government's policy considerations.

The research will focus on the emerging area of 'Earth System Science', which looks at the complex interactions between all the Earth's components: the oceans; atmosphere; ice sheets; biosphere; as well as the influence of human activity on global change. This approach requires the input of multidisciplinary teams drawn from across the University (Bristol Glaciology Centre, Hydrology Group, Biogeochemical Cycles, Chemistry, Earth Sciences, Mathematics, Engineering, Biological Sciences, Archaeology, Personal Finance Research Centre) and beyond (Hadley Centre, British Antarctic Survey, UK Met Office, DEFRA, Environment Agency, Centre for Global Atmospheric Modelling, Oil Industry).

BRIDGE is currently directed by Dr David Richards. The main research effort of the group within Geography is to improve the understanding of the causes of climate change, by testing the computer climate models used to predict future climate change. Major themes include:

  • Quantifying environmental and climate change in the distant past through the combined use of data and models;
  • Evaluating climate models with accurate proxy climate records, especially during periods of rapid climate change;
  • Improving climate models by incorporating additional components of the Earth System and detailed analysis of these processes for past, present and future change;
  • Assessing the impact of future climate change on spatial and temporal scales relevant to society and including timescales from decadal to millennial.


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