Research groups within the Department of Meteorology

The Department of Meteorology is world-renowned for its pioneering research on the fundamental dynamics and physics of weather and climate. Our research divsions and research groups tackle some of the most critical environmental issues facing society today, including understanding and predicting climate, hazardous weather & air pollution.

Our three Research Divisions are WeatherClimate and Earth Observation and Space, in addition to the Met Office@Reading group of Met Office researchers located within the department.

Operating within and across the three Research Divisions are our research groups, whose activities may be part of any (or all) of the Research Divisions. Please click on the group name below to access the group's web pages. The groups are listed alphabetically.



Aerosols research groupGroup leader: Professor Ellie Highwood

The Aerosol Group studies the chemical and optical properties of different aerosol types and the radiative and climatic impact of aerosols. We are involved in both the analysis of observations of real aerosol and in climate modelling. We aim to identify and quantify the uncertainties in radiative forcing, climate change and the hydrological cycle due to changes in tropospheric and stratospheric aerosols and other mechanisms.

Research Divisions: Climate, Weather, Earth Observation and Space

Aviation Meteorology

Aviation Meteorology Group leader: Dr Helen Dacre

The Aviation Met group aims to bring together all aspects of research related to aviation within the Meteorology Department. The group meets regularly each term to exchange knowledge. We welcome external visitors from the aviation industry to discuss current research and potential collaboration opportunities.

Research Divisions: Climate, Weather, Earth Observation and Space

Boundary layer

Boundary layerGroup leader: Professor Janet Barlow

The boundary layer research group studies the interactions between the Earth's surface or the oceans and the atmosphere. Recent research has included turbulence, dispersion, air quality, ocean mixed layer dynamics, cloud-topped boundary layers, convection, orographic drag, using methods such as ground-based remote sensing, large eddy simulation, mesoscale modelling, theoretical development and parametrization. The group meets once a fortnight during academic terms with a variety of informal talks, visitor seminars, paper reviews, and discussions. For urban boundary layers, please see the Urban Meteorology research group.

Research Divisions: Weather, Climate

Data Assimilation Research Group (DARC)

Data AssimilationGroup leader: Professor Peter Jan van Leeuwen

We work on data assimilation theory and applications in all areas of the geosciences, including meteorology, atmospheric chemistry, oceanography, land surface physics, coastal sediment transport and space. Novel research areas include the development of particle filters for high dimensional systems and quantifying observation and model error correlations.

Research Divisions: Weather, Climate, Earth Observation and Space - also NCEO

Dynamical processes group

Dynamical processesGroup leader: Professor Sir Brian Hoskins

The aim of the group is to enhance the understanding of the dynamics and nature of phenomena that occur in the atmosphere on meso to global scales and that are important in weather and climate. This aim is pursued using a combination of theory, diagnostics of observations and the design, execution and diagnosis of experiments using a range of numerical models.

Research Divisions: Weather, Climate, Earth Observation and Space

Energy meteorology group

Energy meteorologyGroup leader: Dr David Brayshaw

The Energy Meteorology research group seeks to understand the impact of weather and climate on the energy sector and to develop new ways to exploit weather and climate information for energy risk management.

Research Divisions: Climate, Weather


High-resolution global climate modelling (HRCM) group

HRCM groupGroup leader: Professor Pier Luigi Vidale

The High-Resolution global Climate Modelling (HRCM) group is a long-standing collaboration between NCAS and the Met Office in the development of high-resolution global climate models, metrics and process-based model evaluation regarding the role of resolution in atmospheric and oceanic processes, air-sea interactions, and land surface-atmosphere interactions (e.g. energy and water cycles, mean and extreme precipitation, tropical and extra-tropical cyclones, blocking events, heat waves and droughts, ocean eddies).

Research Divisions: Weather, Climate

The Institute for Environmental Analytics (IEA)

Institute for Environmental Analytics (IEA)Chief Technical Officer: Dr Jon Blower

The Institute for Environmental Analytics is a partnership of academic, industry and public sector partners, led by the University of Reading. It bridges the gap between environmental science research and users in industry and government by carrying out collaborative projects, performing training and enabling knowledge exchange activities.

Research Divisions: Climate, Weather, Earth Observation and Space

Land surface processes group (LSP)

Land surface processesGroup leaders: Professor Pier Luigi Vidale (Meteorology) and Professor Anne Verhoef (Department of Geography and Environmental Science)

The land surface exchanges heat, momentum, water and carbon-dioxide with the atmosphere and hence plays a role in our microclimate, crop productivity, and can even affect extreme weather phenomena such as heat waves or floods. The land surface-atmosphere interactions can be summarised via the land surface energy-, water- and carbon balance and related key processes, variables and parameters; it is these that are studied by members of the Land Surface Processes Cluster.

Research Divisions: Climate, Weather, Earth Observation and Space

Mesoscale group

Mesoscale groupGroup leader: Professor Sue Gray

The Mesoscale Group is comprised of academic staff, postdoctoral researchers (including scientists funded by the NCAS atmospheric physics Directorate), PhD students, and Met Office researchers who share a common interest in mesoscale weather processes and systems. The mesoscale, which occupies a horizontal length-scale range of approximately 1–1000 km, incorporates a vast array of meteorological phenomena, from individual convective storms and gravity waves to tropical and extratropical cyclones. Research interests within the Mesoscale Group are diverse and include the predictability and parametrization of convection, diabatic processes within extratropical cyclones, pollution and volcanic ash transport, sting-jet dynamics, stationary rainbands, stratosphere/troposphere exchange, and urban meteorology.

Research Divisions: Weather, Earth Observation and Space

Met Office@Reading

Met Office@Reading

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), FFIR (Flooding from Intense Rainfall).

More information on Met Office@Reading research groups and areas can be found in this link.


MicrometeorologyGroup leader: Profesor Sue Grimmond

The influence of the surface on the lowest part of the atmosphere is of concern in micrometeorological studies. Research into different transfer heat, moisture, carbon dioxide and momentum processes away or towards the surface are of interest. The implications of the changing roughness and patchiness are of interest (both horizontally and vertically). The group has expertise in observation and modelling.

Research Division: Weather

Ocean group

Ocean groupGroup leaders: Dr Remi Tailleux and Dr David Ferreira

Oceans affects Earth's climate by storing and transporting large amounts of heat and carbon. The ocean group uses theory, numerical models and observations to understand the physical processes controlling these phenomena, such as mixing, meridional overturning circulation, anthropogenic heat uptake, sea level change, deep water formation and Southern ocean processes.

Research Division: Weather, Earth Observation and SpaceClimate

Radiation group

Radiation groupGroup leader: Professor Keith Shine

The Radiation Group focuses on the interaction of solar and infrared radiation with the Earthʼs atmosphere. It performs fundamental research on the way water vapour absorbs radiation, collaborating with experimental spectroscopists, and applied research on the impact of human activity on the radiation budget, including aviationʼs role in climate change.

Research Division: Climate

Reading eScience centre (ReSC)

Radiation groupGroup leader: Professor Keith Haines

The Reading e-Science Centre is a group of researchers and technologists within the Department of Meteorology at the University of Reading. We aim to make environmental data more useful and accessible by researching, developing and applying advanced computing techniques. We develop open-source software and participate in collaborative research and development projects with partners in academia, government agencies and industry.

Research Divisions: Weather, Climate, Earth Observation and Space

Remote sensing and clouds group

Remote sending and clouds groupGroup leadership:Dr Chris Westbrook, Dr Christine Chiu, Dr Thorwald Stein, Emeritus Professor Anthony Illingworth and Dr Robin Hogan.

Research into remote sensing techniques and cloud processes. Development of new technologies and retrieval techniques, and their application to understanding clouds and precipitation, and evaluating their representation in numerical models. Fundamental research into cloud microphysical and radiative processes.

Previously known as Radar meteorology group.

Research Divisions: Weather, Climate, Earth Observation and Space

Space and Atmospheric Electricity group

Space and Atmospheric Electricity groupGroup leadership:Professor Giles Harrison, Professor Mike Lockwood, Professor Chris Scott, Associate Professor Mathew Owens, Dr Clare Watt

The space and atmospheric electricity group is active in fundamental research in solar, heliospheric, magnetospheric, ionospheric and atmospheric physics. We have particular interests in space weather, such as Earth’s radiation belts, and space climate, such as solar variability on decadal timescales. Our atmospheric science focuses on the measurement and interpretation of electrical processes, such as the global electric circuit and lightning.

Research Division: Earth Observation and Space

Tropical applications of meteorology (TAMSAT)

TAMSATGroup leaders: Dr Emily Black and Dr Tristan Quaife

The TAMSAT group uses satellite imagery to estimate near real time daily rainfall for all of Africa, at 4km resolution. TAMSAT rainfall estimates support climate services, ranging from seasonal drought insurance to infrastructure planning. In addition, we carry out research on hydrological and agricultural risk, African climate variability, remote sensing methodologies and data assimilation.

Research Divisions: Earth Observation and Space - also NCEO and NCAS

Tropical weather group

Tropical weather groupGroup leader: Dr Steve Woolnough

We focus on advancing our understanding and simulation of tropical phenomena on scales ranging from individual convective cells to large-scale monsoon circulations and atmosphere-ocean coupled modes of variability, such as the El Nino Southern Oscillation. Particular foci include the Madden-Julian oscillation, the South and East Asian monsoons, African rainfall and Maritime Continent variability.

Research Divisions: Weather, Climate, Earth Observation and Space

Urban Meteorology group

Urban meteorologyGroup leaders: Professor Sue Grimmond, Professor Janet Barlow, Professor Peter Clark, Dr Omduth Coceal

The urban meteorology group undertake measurements and modelling of atmospheric processes in cities. Their research covers the development and evaluation of new parameterizations, the development and application of tools to provide climate services. Their research is concerned with micrometeorological, hydrological, meso-scale, climate, weather, dispersion, air quality, data assimilation and boundary layer processes.

Research Divisions: Weather, Climate, Earth Observation and Space


Water@ReadingGroup leaders: Professor Hannah Cloke (Meteorology and Geography & Environmental Science) and Dr Liz Stephens (Department of Geography & Environmental Science)

Water@Reading is a cross-faculty research group for the science and policy of building resilience to water related hazards across the world. We have particular expertise in hydrometeorology, monitoring and forecasting droughts and floods, water quality, urban hydrology, global scale hydrology, climate impact on water resources, satellite applications, policy and practice for catchment management and future water.

Research Divisions: Weather, Climate, Earth Observation and Space




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