World-renowned climate scientist Sir John Houghton, who lived in Mid Wales, has died after contracting coronavirus.

The former co-chair of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and former chief executive of the Met Office died aged 88 on Wednesday, April 15.

His granddaughter Hannah Malcolm said on Twitter that his death was related to Covid-19.

She said: "He got to live his final years by the sea in Wales, which was perhaps the place (apart from dragging people up 'shortcuts' on Welsh mountains) that he loved most of all. He slowly lost a lot of memories and faculties to dementia, but the sea remained with him. A good life."

Tributes are being paid from around the world to Sir John. The World Meteorological Organization said it was "so sorry", while Met Office chief executive Professor Penny Endersby said Sir John's "leadership in weather and climate science will be remembered".

Sir John was prominent in meteorology and atmospheric science long before his work on climate change began. His work brought the issue of human-caused climate change to the attention of policy-makers and the public.

A committed Christian who devoted his career to climate justice, Sir John grew up in Rhyl in North Wales before winning a scholarship to study at Oxford University. It was there that he became interested in the relationship between science and faith.

He later become a professor at Oxford University and helped set up the first Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 1988.

Sir John was the lead editor of the first three IPCC reports, and in 2007 collected a Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the IPCC alongside former US vice-president and environmentalist Al Gore. In later life he moved to Aberdovey.

"When I was younger, my consistent memory of him was warnings over the devastation waiting us if we didn't act on climate change. And I remember thinking how glad I was that scientists like him were in charge. But of course it isn't the scientists in charge," Hannah wrote.

"He faced a lifetime of lobbyists and corporations trying to undermine his work, question his motives, and distract from evidence. But my other consistent memory will be his deep faith that he was doing work in service of the God he loved, and in service of the world he loved."

In 2016, Sir John made a generous donation to the Centre of Alternative Technology (CAT) in Machynlleth to provide a bursary for its students.

Paul Allen, CAT’s Zero Carbon Britain research coordinator, described Sir John as a "great inspiration" and a "good friend".

"Years before net-zero carbon became a goal of governments around the world, Sir John encouraged us to explore solutions rooted in what the physics of the climate science demands, rather than what is judged to be politically palatable." he said. 

"We worked with him at several UN climate summits, and in 2016 he made a generous donation to CAT that allowed us to create the annual Sir John Houghton Bursary for our postgraduate students, helping support the next generation in exploring climate solutions.

"We will miss his wisdom, deeply held beliefs and foresight."