Steven Sherwood

Professor Steven Sherwood

Role Chief Investigator Organisation UNSW ORCID Email


Professor Steven Sherwood received his bachelor’s degree in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1987, Master of Science in Engineering Physics from the University of California in 1991 and a PhD in Oceanography from the Scripps Institute of Oceanography, University of California, in 1995. After research positions at Victoria University of Wellington (NZ) and the NASA-Goddard Earth Sciences and Technology Centre, in 2001 he joined the faculty of Yale University, reaching the rank of professor in 2007. He moved to Australia at the beginning of 2009, where he is Professor in the Climate Change Research Centre at the University of New South Wales. Prof Sherwood has made significant contributions to the understanding of moisture-related processes in the atmosphere, particularly related to atmospheric convection. His important findings include showing how improvements to weather balloons over time were unintentionally hiding global warming (2005, Science), establishing a limit to human tolerance of heat stress (2010, PNAS), identifying a positive low-cloud feedback mechanism linked to convection (2014, Nature) and leading an international assessment of climate sensitivity (2020, Rev. Geophys.). Within the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes, he and his team contribute to the research programs Attribution and Risk and Weather and Climate Interactions. Prof Sherwood has contributed to several major science assessments including as a Lead Author of the chapter on Clouds and Aerosols in the 2013 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 5th Assessment Report, Working Group I. He currently serves on the review board of the journal Science and leads the World Climate Research Programme’s Safe Landing Climates Lighthouse which seeks to identify safe future pathways for humanity. Awards received by Prof Sherwood include the 2002 National Science Foundation CAREER award, the 2005 American Meteorological Association’s Clarence Leroy Meisinger award, a 2014 Eureka Prize finalist, and ARC Laureate Fellow 2015-2020.