Alan West Brewer (1915 – 21 November 2007) was a Canadian-English physicist and climatologist. Born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada and raised in Derby, England, he earned a scholarship to study physics at the University College of London. He received his M.Sc. there, and began to work for the Met Office in 1937. During World War II, he researched contrails for the Royal Air Force, making the discovery that the stratosphere is much drier than had been presumed. Later this observation led to the development of Brewer-Dobson circulation. Brewer worked at the Subdepartment of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Planetary Physics, University of Oxford from 1948 until 1962, when he became a professor at University of Toronto. In 1977, Brewer retired from the University of Toronto, returning to England, in Devon, where he farmed until nearly 80 years old.[1][2][3]

In late 1959, he and James Milford developed the Oxford-Kew ozone sonde.[4][5] He also developed the Brewer ozone spectrophotometer with Dave Wardle which is currently the most accurate instrument for measuring ozone.[6]

Brewer married Iris, another UCL physicist, in 1939. They had three children.[1]


  1. ^ a b Brewer, Rob. "Alan W. Brewer (1915–2007)". Retrieved 20 July 2008.
  2. ^ "Brewer-Dobson Workshop Newsletter 15". Archived from the original on 28 August 2007. Retrieved 20 July 2008.
  3. ^ "TAO: Facility Description". Archived from the original on 23 April 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-20.
  4. ^ "Brewer-Mast Ozone Sonde (BM)". Institut für Chemie und Dynamik der Geosphäre. 13 February 2006. Retrieved 14 September 2007.
  5. ^ Brewer, A. W.; J. R. Milford (19 July 1960). "The Oxford-Kew ozone sonde". Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series A, Mathematical and Physical Sciences. 256 (1287): 470–495. Bibcode:1960RSPSA.256..470B. doi:10.1098/rspa.1960.0120. S2CID 96147302.
  6. ^ "The Brewer ozone spectrophotometer and the UV index". EnviroZine (75). 14 September 2007. Retrieved 20 July 2008.[dead link]