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Manhattan cocktail with maraschino cherry
4 March 2016 11:35

Carbon Briefly: Peter Stott

Carbon Brief Staff

Carbon Brief Staff

04.03.2016 | 11:35am
InterviewsCarbon Briefly: Peter Stott

People working on climate or energy give Carbon Brief a sense of their lives beyond the nine-to-five…

Dr Peter Stott is the scientific strategic head for the climate monitoring and attribution at the Met Office Hadley Centre. He leads a team of 30 scientists involved in the development of the observational evidence base for responding to climate variability and change. Peter is one of Carbon Brief’s contributing editors.


The Hidden Oasis by Paul Sussman. Paul was a brilliant writer who died in 2012 from a ruptured aneurysm when only 45. I met Paul when I was an extremely nervous first time participant of an Arvon writing course at Totleigh Barton in Devon. He was one of the tutors; incredibly funny, insightful as to the strengths and weaknesses of the participants’ writing and very considerate. His books are that rare thing of wonder: beautifully written thrillers that keep you turning the pages yet make you care about the characters.


Glenorchy in the Southern Alps of New Zealand. There’s a place to stay called Kinloch Lodge where you can order a mighty fine steak for dinner with a bottle of New Zealand Pinot Noir and the next day you can set off on some of the most thrilling long distance hikes anywhere in the world. The Rees Dart track takes you up to Cascade Saddle and views of jagged peaks and tumbling glaciers. I have been lucky enough to go several times to work with Sam Dean at NIWA in Wellington and then after a few weeks research have caught the boat across the Cook Strait for my fix of South Island magic.


Some Like It Hot. I once watched it at the National Film Theatre. Before hand in the bar we ordered Manhattans with maraschino cherries. Needless to say, everybody there knew the film and the last line “Nobody’s perfect” was spoken not just by Osgood Fielding III, but by the whole cinema.


In the last couple of years, I’ve taken up tennis. I’d like to play in the style of Roger Federer, but my single-handed backhand keeps letting me down not to mention all the rest of my game.


Performance by live musicians forms an integral component of the works of the choreographer Mark Morris. I first saw his masterpiece to Handel’s L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato at the Edinburgh Festival in 1995. I have followed the New York-based Mark Morris Dance Group ever since, taking in every UK tour. If you don’t cry (with happiness) during the final moments of l’Allegro then there’s something wrong with you!


My wife is Swiss and Swiss curry was a family favourite when she was growing up. It is served with rice, tinned peaches and fried bananas and, while it contains curry powder, it is not at all like anything the main curry eating peoples of the world would recognise as curry.


A Very Peculiar Practice was a brilliant black comedy series written by Andrew Davies and set in a University Medical Practice in the 1980s. I watched it when it first came out and I was a struggling PhD student. I loved it then and I love it now it has been released on DVD and I have climbed slightly further up the greasy pole of academic respectability. Given the continuing absurdities of academic life, this brilliant series still seems to be just as pertinent now as it was then.

Role model

There is a photograph taken at the Royal Society of me and three of my predecessors as Coordinating Lead Author (CLA) of the detection and attribution chapter of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). We’re in front of a portrait of Benjamin Franklin. I’ve learnt a great deal over the years from the people standing next to me in that picture; Ben Santer, John Mitchell and Gabi Hegerl, CLAs of the second, third and fourth assessment reports respectively. I was CLA of the fifth.


My rather expensive set of noise-cancelling headphones.


A book to read. I can’t seem to get on with e-readers so I buy old-fashioned hard copies and lug them around with me. I prefer browsing in independent bookshops like Winstone’s Books in Sidmouth.

Main image: Manhattan cocktail with maraschino cherry.
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