A native of North Wales, Prof. Vaughan gained his BA from Cambridge University and DPhil from Oxford. He started his research career in the Meteorological Office, initially on rocket-borne measurements of mesospheric ozone, then on airborne measurements of stratosphere-troposphere exchange. In 1984 he joined the Physics department at the University of Wales Aberystwyth, moving to Manchester in January 2005.
Prof Vaughan's research interests are concerned with measurements of atmospheric dynamics and chemistry, and interpreting those measurements in terms of the meteorological processes involved. He is Director of Observations for the National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS), overseeing a range of airborne and ground based facilities for measuring the atmosphere. Prof Vaughan has a particular interest in active remote sensing, using light and radio waves; he is a major user of the NERC Mesosphere-Stratosphere-Troposphere radar facility near Aberystwyth, and operates a number of lidars at this site to measure profiles of ozone, aerosols and humidity.
Currently, he is working on mesoscale structures in weather systems, the impact of convection on the upper tropical troposphere, the transport of chemicals from the boundary layer to the free troposphere, remote sensing of the boundary layer and interpretation of clear-air radar echoes and improvements in lidar profiling of the atmosphere. Prof. Vaughan is a Fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society, a member of the American Geophysical Union and an associate editor of Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics.