HELEN DACRE

I'm a lecturer in the Department of Meteorology at the University of Reading. My area of research can be broadly defined as the dynamics of weather systems and their role in transporting atmospheric pollutants. For more details click on the research tab.

**** PhD studentship 2014 ****

Improving the accuracy of air quality forecasts

Supervisors : Helen Dacre (Reading), Marion Mittermaier and Carlos Ordonez (Met Office) This project has guaranteed funding via a NERC Industrial CASE Award
Poor air quality has serious impacts on human health, in particular for those who suffer from respiratory illnesses. For example, during the heat wave of August 2003 it was estimated that up to 800 premature deaths in the UK were associated with poor air quality. Thus the provision of accurate air quality forecasts is very important to provide guidance to those who are vulnerable to high pollution levels. Air quality forecasts are produced using a combination of weather forecast models and chemistry models. The accuracy of air quality forecasts therefore depends on the accurate representation of the meteorology, the chemistry, and the interactions between the meteorology and the chemistry in these models. For example, during summer high pressure events, wind speeds are generally low and sunshine levels are generally high due to the absence of clouds. The abundance of sunshine results in an enhancement in ozone production. The low wind speeds mean that there is little transport of ozone away from the Earth's surface resulting in a build-up of ozone concentrations. This has consequent impacts on human health and crops. The ability to forecasts such poor air quality events can help improve the way that people prepare and behave during hazardous episodes. In order to improve air quality forecasts, sources of error in the representation of the meteorology, the chemistry, and the interactions between the meteorology and the chemistry need to be identified. This aim of this project is to separate out and quantify the meteorological and chemical sources of forecast error in a systematic way by developing new and improved verification techniques.

If you are interested in this project, please contact me.

Extratropical Cyclone Atlas

The Extratropical Cyclone Atlas explores the mean structure and evolution of the 200 most intense north Atlantic cyclones identified in 20 winters of the ERA-Interim reanalysis data. To access the Atlas click on the Extratropical Cyclone Atlas tab. The cyclone composites in the atlas highlight the relative positions of cold, warm and occluded fronts and their associated wind and cloud patterns. They also illustrate the evolution of cyclonic flows such as the warm and cold conveyor belt and dry intrusion.

My research group

PhD students:

  • Dan Peake 2008- Oct 2012 (jointly with John Methven) *completed* Now working at MetraWeather
  • Natalie Harvey 2009-2013 (jointly with Robin Hogan) *submitted*
  • Matt Hawcroft 2011-present (jointly with Len Shaffrey and Kevin Hodges)
  • Kate Fradley 2013- present (jointly with Andrew Charlton-Perez)
Post-docs:
  • Benoit Vanniere at Imperial College (jointly with Tim Woollings and Arnaud Czaja)
  • Natalie Harvey 2013-present (jointly with Dave Thomson (MO) and ACP)
  • Marc Stringer 2012-2013
  • Marc Stringer 2010
  • Alan Grant 2010-2011

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