MetOffice@Reading - research groups based within the Department of Meteorology

The Department of Meteorology, University of Reading hosts around 25 scientists from the Met Office within the Meteorology building at Reading, working on convective-scale, modelling, ensembles, predictability and data assimilation, urban modelling, novel observations, land surface data assimilation and climate change.

The Met Office has had staff at the University of Reading for about 30 years. This was originally part of the Joint Centre for Mesoscale Meteorology (JCMM) but now that Met Office staff with wider interests are located at Reading the name has been changed to MetOffice@Reading. The University of Reading is also part of the Met Office Academic Partnership.

MetOffice@Reading scientists collaborate extensively with University researchers at Reading and elsewhere. Major current and recent projects that they've collaborated on include DIAMET (Diabatic Influences on Mesoscale Structures in Extratropical Storms), DYMECS (Dynamical and Microphysical Evolution of Convective Storms), and FFIR (Flooding from Intense Rainfall).

Research groups and areas


Led by Sue Ballard and including Expert Scientist Graeme Kelly, this group is based entirely at Reading and is part of the Data Assimilation and Ensembles Section of the Met Office. Their work includes:

  • Improvements to convective scale 3D and 4D variational data assimilation. In particular through exploitation of novel observations such as radar Doppler wind and reflectivity data, satellite atmospheric motion vectors, geostationary satellite radiances, ceilometer backscatter and Mode-S data.
  • Diagnosis and treatment of correlated observation errors
  • Use of data assimilation for prediction of precipitation for use  in flood forecasting systems. In the past they developed  an advanced nowcasting system producing 4D-Var analyses and 6hour forecasts every hour at 1.5km resolution over Southern England.

Cristina Charlton-Perez is now part of the Met Office Earth System Data Assimilation Group and is working on land surface data assimilation.

Mesoscale Modelling Research
Led by Humphrey Lean this group is based entirely at Reading and is part of the Atmospheric Processes and Parametrizations Section of the Met Office. Their work includes:

  • Improvement of the convection permitting versions of the Met Office Unified Model, its application and interpretation
  • Investigating convective processes
  • Convective-scale predictability and ensemble prediction
  • Urban modelling
  • Next generation, order 100m modelling

Nigel Roberts is now part of the Gridded Post Processing group in the Weather Science Numerical Modelling section of the Met Office.
He is the science lead in the development of a new probabilistic post processing system and works on the predictability and information content of convection-permitting models and ensembles.

Climate and Applied Science
MetOffice@Reading includes a number of Hadley Centre staff from Climate and Applied Science in the Met Office. This includes Principal Research Fellow John Mitchell FRS; Richard Jones, Science Fellow, and Simon Wilson, Expert Scientific Software Engineer, in the International Development team in Applied Science; and Jason Lowe Met Office Hadley Centre Head of Climate Services for UK Government. Their work includes:

  • Providing policy-relevant evidence and research on avoiding dangerous climate change and its impacts
  • Developing models and techniques to produce regional climate information for climate change impacts and adaptation assessments, often with a focus on, and collaboration in, developing country regions
  • Understanding anthropogenic climate change

Upper Air Observations
MetOffice@Reading includes staff from the Upper Air Observations Group, part of the Observations Research and Development Section of the Met Office and includes Senior Scientists Catherine Gaffard and Zhihong Li. Their work includes:

  • Wind profiler observations

Dynamics Research
Terry Davies from the Dynamics Research Section works on the development and maintainance the atmospheric dynamical core of the Met Office's Unified Model.
Post Processing Science

Internal reports
Much of the work done by members of the MetOffice@Reading group - previously known as the JCMM - was published in the form of internal reports (discontinued in 2003). If you would like more information on these reports, or if you would like a copy, please send an email to Khalid Mahmood


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