NCAS Weather Directorate

Lead Research Organisation: NERC National Ctr for Atmospheric Sci

Abstract

The NCAS Weather directorate conducts research on dynamical and physical processes in the atmosphere on the local and regional scale. This involves atmospheric flows ranging from building-scale turbulence up to the country-wide influence of the jetstream, cyclones, anticyclones and embedded structures that dominate the weather of the UK. The work is organised in two broad themes: urban meteorology, pollution transport and air quality; and convective processes, severe weather and predictability. The research exploits state-of-the-art observations made in collaboration with the NCAS technology division and facilities. It makes considerable use of high resolution weather prediction models for simulating real atmospheric situations, interpretation of new observations and bringing them together to form a picture of the physical mechanisms that govern the temporal evolution of weather events. It also sheds light on those aspects of the atmosphere that are inherently less predictable and the reasons why. This improved physical understanding contributes to the development of prediction models and eventually to enhanced weather forecast skill; to better representation of weather processes in global climate models; and better forecasts of air quality

Publications

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Achtert P (2015) Measurement of wind profiles by motion-stabilised ship-borne Doppler lidar in Atmospheric Measurement Techniques

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Agustí-Panareda A (2009) On the dependence of boundary layer ventilation on frontal type in Journal of Geophysical Research

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Agustí-Panareda A (2009) Radiosonde humidity bias correction over the West African region for the special AMMA reanalysis at ECMWF in Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society

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Allen G (2013) Gravity-wave-induced perturbations in marine stratocumulus in Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society

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Allen G (2008) Aerosol and trace-gas measurements in the Darwin area during the wet season in Journal of Geophysical Research

 
Description There have been a number of influential findings in the programme relating to high-impact weather. 1. Finding that there is an increased risk of sting-jets (extremely high winds) in a future warmer climate. 2. An improved understanding of the processes that control the jet stream (upper-level winds); this has implications for the persistence of heat waves and storm systems. 3. New results showing that in the period between present day and 2030 over the UK: the average precipitation rate per event will increase, dry periods will extend and wet periods shorten. 4. A combination of ERA-Interim global reanalysis, surface observations, radiosonde data and satellite imagery were used to determine the importance of cold pools for the transport of moisture, dust and clouds. 5. A distinctive hydrometeor type -- "drizzle-rimed columnar ice" or "ice lollies" was repeatedly observed in supercooled conveyor belts of a low-pressure system which has not been widely reported in previous studies. 6. Ozone measurements
made with instruments on the Global Hawk show a marked contrast in ozone concentrations in the tropical tropopause layer between the hemispheres, due to uplift of almost-unmixed boundary layer air in deep convection. 7. WRF model results successfully captured the Lake Nyos disaster in Cameroon in 1986, where CO2 (a dense gas) erupted from a lake and spread into the surrounding valleys, causing many fatalities. 8. Development of a new parametrisation of rainfall rate from X-band radar observations.
Exploitation Route The above results will lead to a better representation of physical processes in NWP and climate models. NCAS engages with scientists at the Met Office and NCAR where model code is held to ensure that the new understanding is taken forward into model improvement. There are also direct links with user groups (such as fishing and agricultural communities), in Kenya, Ghana, Senegal and Nigeria, and through the WMO. Field-campaign observations and modelling results of heavy rainfall will be used by JBA consulting to test the chain of events from rainfall to flooding and the warning processes.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Environment,Healthcare

URL https://www.ncas.ac.uk/en/atmospheric-physics-home
 
Description This submission relates to the NCAS Atmospheric Physics programme, which used to be called NCAS Weather (as named here). This large programme has generated research that has been used to support a wide range of science applications relating to high-impact weather (e.g. flooding and severe winds), and climate change. The principal contribution to non-academic impacts has been to the improvement of models used to predict the high-impact weather. For example, there has been a significant contribution to the new convection parametrisation scheme in the Met Office Unified Model, and improvements in the model due to a better understanding of sting jets. There is significant work being done to improve the quality of livelihood in Africa. In East Africa, the work involves improving the understanding of key climate-water processes in the region, and working in partnership with a wide range of stakeholders to apply this knowledge in rural communities that rely on agriculture and fishing and urban populations where water supply and sanitation are under pressure.
First Year Of Impact 2017
Sector Agriculture, Food and Drink,Environment,Healthcare
Impact Types Societal,Economic

 
Description Attending VAORG (Volcanic Ash Observation Review Group) to advise DfT on volcanic ash hazards to aviation
Impact Attending VAORG (Volcanic Ash Observation Review Group) to advise DfT on volcanic ash hazards to aviation
 
Description Coleg Cymraeg, Aberystwyth, review of proposals for new academic appointments
Impact Coleg Cymraeg, Aberystwyth, review of proposals for new academic appointments
 
Description Development of Community Multiscale Air Quality (CMAQ)
Impact Development of the Community Multiscale Air Quality (CMAQ) modelling system for policy applications
 
Description Development of the Air quality Data Analysis & Retrieval Tool (AirDART) for policy applications
Impact Development of the Air quality Data Analysis & Retrieval Tool (AirDART) for policy applications
 
Description Direct provision of data/information/advice to Government bodies
Impact Contribution to the 2nd phase of the Defra Modelling Intercomparison Exercise (MEI Phase 2)
 
Description Member Blackett Review Committee on Bio-detection
Impact Member Blackett Review Committee on Bio-detection
 
Description Met Office Scientific Advisory Committee
Impact Met Office Scientific Advisory Committee 13 -14 Nov 2012 ? advice to Met Office on Weather forecast research programme
 
Description Participation in VAORG (Volcanic Ash Observation Review Group)
Impact Participation in VAORG (Volcanic Ash Observation Review Group), a DfT expert group to advise on ash hazards to aviation
 
Description Review of Hans Ertel Centre (German research programme)
Impact Deutscher Wetterdienst 19-20 Nov 2012. Review of Hans Ertel Centre (German research programme)
 
Description NCAR Affiliate scientist 
Organisation NCAR National Center for Atmospheric Research
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Research on: (a) the development of warm rain; (b) improving the representation of cloud processes in NWP and climate models; and (c) ICED project
Collaborator Contribution Calculations and model development; analysis of data.
Impact None so far.
Start Year 2015
 
Description NERC RRS Discovery in London. Public & Community Engagement. 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Presenting the research and facilities of NCAS as well as "Science Busking" on London's Lower Embankment. Involvement with this event raised the profile of the National Centre for Atmospheric Science within NERC and with a wide range of stakeholders. Over 500 people were involved with tours, busking and in other activities surrounding the events in October in London. Felicity Perry
Volunteers included Jamie Minaeian, Matt Gascoyne, James Lee, James Allan, Sarah Moller, Tor Smith, Felicity Perry, Ioana Colfescu, Zoe Fleming, Marvin Shaw, Tomas Sherwen and Sina Hackenberg
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL https://storify.com/PlanetEarthnews/rrs-discovery-visits-london
 
Description National Science and Engineering Week - University of Manchester 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Presented atmospheric science experiments at the Barometer podcast stall during the University of Manchester's contribution to National Science and Engineering Week 2013

N/A
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Bennett, Lindsay - Lectures/talks/debates 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Presentation to the Leeds Rotary club on 27th February 2015 titled "Improving forecasts of heavy rain and floods", describing the past, present and future research on convective clouds and rainfall.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Bennett, Lindsay - schools activities 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Participation in the ICAS "Weather and Water" event during the Leeds Festival of Science, using demonstrations to illustrate processes in the atmosphere.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Careers Evening (Altrincham Grammar School for Girls) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Participated in the careers evening at Altrincham Grammar School for Girls.

N/A
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Educational display and pamphlet 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A display board and pamphlet was produced to describe the scientific background behind the COPE project, its aims and objectives and the anticipated impact of the research.

Engagement with the public leading to their increased understanding of the scientific challenges and questions being addressed in COPE.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Flash Flooding workshop with end users 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation workshop facilitator
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The workshop was planned as part of the Impact in this Microscope grant to bring people together that are working on various aspects of flash flooding in the UK from research scientists, businesses, the Natural Hazards Partnership and government bodies. The meeting achieved that goal.

Several emails from the Natural Hazard Partnership wanting to work with us. Collaboration started between different disciplines. Connections with business.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Insect Autumn Watch presentation 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact David Hooper gave a presentation entitled "Insect Autumn Watch" for approximately 22 year 6 primary school pupils on 10th September 2018. Although, admittedly, the talk was more about insects than about atmospheric science, it was focussed on how those insects adapt to the changing climate conditions of the autumn.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Into The Blue - NERC Public Engagement Event - Manchester 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Into the blue Manchester was held at the Manchester Runway Visitor Park between 25th October and 29th October 2016. Staged under the wings of Concorde, the event consisted of five days of science engagement with a total audience of approximately 5,250 people, an average of over 1,000 visitors each day. Researchers, science communicators, stakeholders and the general public were brought together to bring alive the science we live and breathe.
Into the blue was conceived, funded and managed by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), the UK's leading commissioner of environmental science. NERC has an obligation by royal charter to communicate its research with the public and to create a dialogue that can benefit environmental science, researchers, and society as a whole. In 2016 NERC capitalised on its unique opportunity to engage with public audiences by materialising the UK's largest research aircraft at Into the blue Manchester. The FAAM aircraft provided Into the blue with a central motif that brought to life the UK's world leading research capabilities.
Into the blue Manchester offered visitors a chance to tour the FAAM aircraft, attend talks, meet scientists and interact with a diverse range of hands-on science exhibits. Event contributors represented more than 30 universities and research centres across the UK, showcasing the very best of UK environmental science research.
From the outset it was clear that Into the blue was going to be more ambitious than any event NERC had staged before. To measure the success of Into the blue and to improve future events a comprehensive evaluation has been carried out. This has provided insights and metrics to allow NERC to respond to feedback. By engaging with and listening to our audiences we aim to improve future practice.
This evaluation aims to establish how far the Into the blue showcase was able to achieve the four primary objectives set out by NERC:
Make NERC science accessible to the public, stimulating enthusiasm and support for UK environmental science;
Engage targeted stakeholders with NERC science and innovation to create advocates for NERC;
Engage our colleagues to encourage pride in NERC and act as ambassadors;
Create a focal point for broad-reaching mass public engagement via media and social media based on these events.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://intotheblue.nerc.ac.uk
 
Description National Clean Air Day 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The NCAS Communications team delivered a National Clean Air Day information at a stand on the University of Leeds campus. We gave advice about the individual actions that people can take to reduce air pollution and their exposure to it. Leaflets and advice were given, and attendees had the opportunity to use a virtual reality headset and play an air pollution detection game. We worked with Leeds City Council and Global Action Plan to coordinate activities and obtain suitable advice materials.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description National Oceanography Centre Open Day - Various Staff and Volunteers 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A group of volunteered to helped to demonstrate climate model simulations, and the FAAM aircraft at National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, Open Day 2016.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Operation Weather Rescue at UnEarthed (NERC showcase) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The NCAS Communications Team, Ed Hawkins (NCAS Climate), Lindsay Bennet (NCAS Weather) and volunteers from Edinburgh and Reading universities delivered an exhibition stand about Operation Weather Rescue (OWR) at NERC's UnEarthed environmental showcase (free to attend) event at Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh. 7000 attendees came to the 4-day long event. The NCAS Comms Team designed the exhibition stand, developed engaging animations with the OWR data, created 'make your own weather instruments' activities and installed an outdoor data display of temperature change since the industrial revolution in Scotland.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Public Talks at Into the Blue, Manchester 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact James Allen, Sarah Moller, Zoe Fleming, John Pyle, Grant Allan, Guy Gratton all gave public talks on air quality at Manchester Airport Runway Visitors Centre as part of the NERC 'Into the Blue' event.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://intotheblue.nerc.ac.uk/
 
Description School talks about weather 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Lindsay Bennett talked to Year 3 at Spring Bank Primary School in Headingley and St Joseph's Catholic Primary School in Keighley, about her job as a meteorologist, for their Wild Weather theme this term. She showed photos and animations about clouds, making observations with radar, and talked about storms and tornadoes. They also had fun doing the "cloud in the bottle" and "tornado in a bottle" demonstrations to illustrate some of the science.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description School visits and open day events delivered by Lindsay Bennett 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Lindsay Bennett attended and delivered activities at the following events throughout 2017: 1) talked to Year 3 at Spring Bank Primary School in Headingley (Leeds), about my job as a meteorologist, for their Wild Weather theme this term. Showed photos and animations about radar, storms and tornadoes. Did the "cloud in the bottle" and "tornado in a bottle" demonstrations; 2) collaborated with BBC Yorkshire to showcase two Terrific Scientific demonstrations: 'Cloud in a Bottle' and 'Lemon Volcanoes' at the Great Yorkshire Show; 3) participation in the University of Leeds' School of Earth and Environment "Weather and Water" workshops during the Leeds Festival of Science, using demonstrations to illustrate processes in the atmosphere and ocean; 4) volunteer for the Royal Meteorological Society at the Royal Horticultural Society's Harlow Carr Gardens during their half term "Whatever the Weather" event. This involved making windsocks and weather charts with children of mainly primary school age and their families.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Vaughan, Geraint - Lectures/talks/debates 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Invited public lecture on high-impact weather and climate change, delivered at the National Eisteddfod of Wales, Meifod.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Vaughan, Geraint - Membership of DfT Volcano Advisory Group 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Membership of DfT Volcano Advisory Group
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015