Dr Dave Rowell

Dave works on the global drivers of African climate change to understand their mechanisms and improve their modelling.

Current activities

Dave's main area of work aims to understand the errors in modelling teleconnections to Africa from a number of key regions around the globe. This is funded by the Department for International Development ( DFID), and involves evaluating the capacity of models to reproduce these teleconnections and improve our understanding of the mechanisms involved. It is an important topic because we know that interannual to decadal fluctuations of African rainfall are primarily determined by climate fluctuations beyond the African continent. Ultimately, it is hoped that this work will contribute to an improved modelling capability over Africa, and so contribute to better climate forecast information for this vulnerable continent.

Dave is also currently coordinating a group to evaluate the skill over Africa of the development version of the latest Met Office Hadley Centre climate model. This involves developing metrics to assess the model's climatology, variability, and teleconnections, and is being undertaken both within the Met Office Hadley Centre and in consultation with the African science community.

A further project that Dave is completing is some research into the uncertainties of future changes in local precipitation arising from differences in model formulation. This uses data from both the Seamless Prediction and CMIP3 multi-model ensembles. The aim is to evaluate the potential for reducing uncertainties in local precipitation change through model improvements and observational constraints. Insights into the physical causes of this modelling uncertainty may, ultimately, help improve models and develop observational constraints.

Career background

For the first decade or so of Dave's Met Office career he worked on understanding tropical climate variability, using General Circulation Model (GCM) and observed data, with a particular focus on the African Sahel. Other research interests included atmospheric decadal variability, global seasonal predictability, and European climate variability. He was one of the founding leaders of the Climate Variability and Predictability (CLIVAR) - Climate of the 20th Century (C20C) project, and was also involved in a number of other international projects.

From 2001, Dave's work focused on understanding the mechanisms and uncertainty of future regional climate change, with particular focus on Europe, North America and the tropics. This involved the analysis of both idealised model experiments and the QUMP perturbed physics ensemble. Again, he was actively involved in a number of international projects: PRUDENCE (as a workpackage coordinator), WAMME (an ongoing programme), ENSEMBLES, and the Met Office led PRECIS project.

Since January 2010 Dave's work has again focused on modelling African climate variability.

Before joining the Met Office, Dave completed a PhD at the University of Reading in short-range rainfall forecasting over the Sahel, having previously graduated from the University of York with a BSc in Maths with Physics.

Last updated: 9 April 2014

About Dave Rowell

Dave Rowell

Dave works on the modelling of African climate change.

Areas of expertise:

  • African climate variability.

  • European climate variability and change.

  • Mechanisms and uncertainty of future regional climate change.

  • Seasonal predictability. 

My Publications - Rowell, D