Met Office staff and affiliates recognised for their work

19 06 2015

World renowned Met Office Chief Scientist Professor Dame Julia Slingo DBE FRS has been awarded the prestigious International Meteorological Organisation (IMO) Prize.

This is the first time, since 1998 that the annual prize, awarded by the World Meteorological Organisation, has been presented to a UK scientist and it is an acknowledgement of her lifetime contribution to world meteorology.

Julia said: “I am very surprised but rather delighted to be recognised by all my meteorological colleagues around the world.  The prize giving will be next June in Geneva where I also have to give a lecture.”


Julia Slingo

Queen’s Birthday Honours List

Meanwhile three men who collaborate with or support the Met Office have been recognised in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

Dr Kamal Puri, from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology has been awarded a Public Service Medal (PSM) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.  The PSM recognises outstanding service by employees of the Australian Government and state.

Kamal has worked in numerical weather prediction and earth system modelling in the Bureau for the last four decades. He is a Met Office Science Advisory Council member and has played a key role in development of our Unified Model partnership. In 2007 he helped develop the Australian Community Climate and Earth System Simulator (ACCESS) which has directly contributed to advanced warnings of hazards such as fires, heatwaves, floods and cyclones, saving many lives.

DR Rob Vertessy, Director of Meteorology and CEO at the Australian Bureau of Meteorology said:  “Kamal’s leadership has enhanced the reputation and standing of Australian weather and climate modelling in national and international circles, and I am sure that you will all agree this award is well-deserved recognition for an exemplary leader and ambassador for the Australian Public Service and the Bureau of Meteorology”.

90 year old Voluntary Weather Observer, Donald Grant, has been awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to Meteorology after supplying weather readings to the Met Office for the past 30 years from his weather station in Dunbar, East Lothian.

Finally Professor Chris Budd from the University of Bath has been awarded an OBE for services to science and maths education.  He works closely with the Met Office helping improve weather forecasting accuracy and he co-founded an international network bringing together mathematicians working in climate change with policy-makers.

Met Office in the Media: 16 February 2014, response by Professor Mat Collins and the Met Office

17 02 2014

An article by David Rose appeared yesterday in the Mail on Sunday entitled: ‘No, global warming did NOT cause the storms, says one of the Met Office’s most senior experts’

In it he says that Mat Collins, Professor in Climate Systems at Exeter University, ‘appears to contradict’ the report released by the Met Office last weekend and that he ‘declined to comment on his difference in opinion’ with one of the report’s authors, Dame Julia Slingo.

This is not the case and there is no disagreement.

The report by the Met Office states that “As yet, there is no definitive answer on the possible contribution of climate change to the recent storminess, rainfall amounts and the consequent flooding. This is in part due to the highly variable nature of UK weather and climate.”   This agrees with the latest IPCC Report that states: “Substantial uncertainty and thus low confidence remains in projecting changes in Northern Hemisphere storm tracks, especially for the North Atlantic basin.”

This is the basis for Prof Collins’ comment and means that we are not sure, yet, how the features that bring storms across the Atlantic to the UK – the jet-stream and storm track – might be impacted by climate change. As the Met Office report highlights for this year’s extreme conditions, there are many competing factors – from changes in the winds of the upper atmosphere to disturbed weather over Indonesia.

What the Met Office report – and indeed the IPCC – does say is that there is increasing evidence that extreme daily rainfall rates are becoming more intense. It is clear that global warming has led to an increase in moisture in the atmosphere – with about four per cent more moisture over the oceans than in the 1970s – which means that when conditions are favourable to the formation of storms there is a greater risk of intense rainfall. This is where climate change has a role to play in this year’s flooding.

With respect to changes in storminess, the good news is that recent advances in climate science are starting to pay dividends. Improved spatial resolution in models – that means that they can model weather and climate in more spatial detail – is allowing the models to represent some of the key factors that drive regional weather patterns. As the Met Office report states ‘With a credible modelling system in place it should now be possible to perform scientifically robust assessments of changes in storminess, the degree to which they are related to natural variability and the degree to which there is a contribution from human-induced climate change.’


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