Dr Alison McLaren

Alison leads the transitions of improvements into the operational ocean forecasting systems together with the maintenance and support of these systems.

Areas of Expertise

  • Sea ice modelling
  • Model evaluation

Current Activities

Alison manages the ocean forecasting development team within the Ocean Forecasting Research & Development group.  
The team is principally responsible for:

  • Performing trials of changes to the Met Office's ocean forecast systems and assessing the impact on product accuracy;
  • Transitioning developments into the operational ocean forecast systems; 
  • Developing the OSTIA (Operational Sea Surface Temperature and sea Ice Analysis) system;
  • Maintaining and supporting the operational ocean forecast systems.

Alison regularly plans upgrades to the FOAM deep ocean and shelf seas systems, which requires coordination with the other ocean development teams to transition developments into the operational system. Major upgrades to FOAM are generally carried out every one to two years. Alison is managing the upgrade OSTIA to use the NEMOVAR data assimilation system (which is used in FOAM) and to additionally include a diurnal skin SST analysis. 

Alison is also currently managing the operational implementation of a coupled ocean-atmosphere data assimilation and forecast system which will produce demonstration short-range atmosphere and ocean forecasts using the coupled HadGEM3 model. 

Career Background

Alison became manager of the Ocean Forecasting Development team in 2012 having previously worked on sea ice modelling in the Met Office Hadley Centre since 2002. Prior to joining the Met Office, Alison completed a PhD and PostDoc at the University of Liverpool in Physical Oceanography. As an undergraduate Alison studied Geophysical Sciences at the University of East Anglia.

Last updated: 15 September 2015