Professor Keith Briffa

We are deeply saddened by the death of Emeritus Professor Keith Briffa, who died peacefully on Sunday 29 October 2017.

Without doubt, Keith’s greatest impact was in the field of dendroclimatology (the science of determining past climates from tree rings).

It is a field that he helped to shape.

Keith’s contributions have been seminal to the development of sound methods for tree-ring analysis and in their proper application to allow the interpretation of climate variability from tree rings. Every day, new research is published that references his pioneering and rigorous work.

His amenable, friendly personality, combined with enthusiasm for the science and a searching and constructively critical mind led to building contacts with many people in the field of palaeoclimatology.

The fruits of these long-lasting and successful collaborations have been felt across climate science, with Keith leading the development of many important records allowing us to understand natural climate variability on timescales from years to millennia and to set recent climatic trends in their historical context.

Despite his great achievements, Keith remained remarkably modest and self-effacing. He has helped many colleagues and particularly early stage researchers to achieve their potential, and he provided enduring support for the development of dendroclimatology communities in many regions of the world.

Keith was a great friend to many colleagues throughout his 40 years in the Climatic Research Unit and the School of Environmental Sciences at UEA, and was an admired lecturer among students, especially for his never-ending enthusiasm for his subject.