Dr Amanda Kerr-Munslow

Amanda uses surface and balloon-borne instruments to observe and study cloud and radiation processes, so as to improve their representation in atmospheric models.

Areas of expertise:

  • Cloud microphysics modelling and observation.
  • Instrumentation for boundary-layer and cloud studies.

Publications by Amanda

Current activities

Amanda is responsible for the use and maintenance of ground based and balloon-borne instruments used for cloud and fog research, both based at Cardington and deployed elsewhere on field campaigns:

  • A microwave radiometer, which is a ground based remote sensor used since 2002 to continually take observations of the total water vapour and liquid water content of the atmosphere overhead.
  • A doppler LiDAR, which uses a laser to obtain air velocity and cloud layer information. This has been observing since 2008. Using this, we can study the properties of the atmosphere over longer timescales than is available from in-situ probes such as radiosondes and balloon-borne turbulence probes.
  • A cloud droplet probe, which uses a laser to count and measure the size of individual water droplets. This is used in both ground based and balloon-borne modes to observe fog and cloud water droplets, both as the cloud drifts past and to obtain profiles through the cloud. This instrument is deployed in appropriate weather conditions.

Amanda uses data collected from these and other instruments to research cloud processes for improving the numerical weather prediction models. Research topics are directed by the needs of Forecasting R&D, particularly parametrizations.

Of particular interest currently is the forecasting of fog; observations of the life cycle of fog will be used to help improve this. Amanda also studies the evolution of stratus and stratocumulus clouds and their homogeneity.

Collaborations with other observational research groups such as FAAM, OBR and  FGAM allow for the scope of an observational campaign to be wider and more comprehensive with a greater instrument base to be deployed.

Career background

Amanda received her undergraduate degree in Physics from Imperial College, London, working for the Met Office during her summer holidays as a vacation student in the then Atmospheric Processes Research group. She then went on to do a DPhil at the University of Oxford sponsored by Met Office Climate Research as a CASE student, studying the effects of wave driving on the annual cycle of the tropical tropopause. After her DPhil, she joined the Met Office in 2003, returning to APP as a Clouds and Radiation Research Scientist. During her time in APP she worked on the PC2 cloud scheme in the Unified Model and Single Column Model. In 2006, she then transferred to Observational Based cloud research at Cardington, using instruments to observe the processes she had previously been modelling, collaborating with her former team in APP. Understanding both the modelling and observations aspects of cloud microphysics research helps to bridge the gap between the two areas, with their individual advantages and limitations.

Last updated: 8 April 2014