Tom Matthews: Exploring extreme weather & climate change

National Geographic Explorer & climate scientist Tom Matthews is working to understand the impacts of climate change on mountain systems.

Meet National Geographic Explorer Tom Matthews. He's a climate scientist based at King's College in London. Although he has broad interests in the societal impacts from climate change, he focuses on severe weather events. Matthews is driven to understand the planet's most extreme climates. 

From deadly tropical heat waves to severe, cold-weather mountain windstorms, his research aims to map the limits of Earth's climate envelope and chart its course as it is shifted by human-caused climate change.

In 2019, Matthews was the Meteorology Team Co-Lead for National Geographic's most comprehensive single scientific expedition to Mount Everest (known locally as Sagarmatha or Chomolungma) in history. 

Working in close collaboration with Tribhuvan University, the Nepali government, major U.S. and international universities, and the local communities of the Khumbu Region in Nepal, the expedition had teams focused on biology, geology, glaciology, meteorology, and mapping as part of a robust effort to improve our understanding and resilience to the impacts of climate change on mountain systems. The expedition was supported by Rolex as part of our Perpetual Planet Initiative.

In May 2022, Matthews returned to Mount Everest and led an expedition team with fellow National Geographic Explorer Baker Perry, Nepali climate scientist Arbindra Khadka, and internationally certified mountain guide, Dawa Yangzum Sherpa, among other elite climbing members of the Sherpa community, to install a new weather station at Bishop Rock. This new work completes the most ambitious scientific undertaking ever conducted on Mount Everest which began in 2019 with the installation of five weather stations, including the two highest in the world at the time.

The elite Sherpa climbers included members: Tenzing Gyalzen Sherpa, Phu Tashi Sherpa, Lhakpa Tsering Sherpa, Ila Nuru Sherpa, Kami Temba Sherpa, Lhakpa Nuru Sherpa, Ngima Nurbu Sherpa, Nima Cherri Sherpa, Nima Kancha Sherpa, Pasang Kami Sherpa, Kancha Nuru Sherpa, Ngima Namgyal Sherpa, and Mingma Nuru Sherpa.  


This Explorer's work is funded by the National Geographic Society
Learn More

Read This Next

Margaret Awuor Owuor: Understanding the invaluable purpose of mangrove forests
Thiago Silva: Uncovering resilience and adaptability in the Amazon’s floodplain forests