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Glen Harris

Glen is a senior scientist in probabilistic climate prediction and is involved in the production of probabilistic climate projections, combining observations and ensembles of climate model simulations.

Areas of expertise:

  • Production and analysis of ensembles of climate simulations.

  • Statistical techniques for probabilistic climate prediction.

  • Simple energy balance climate models.

  • Scaling techniques for climate prediction.

Current activities

Glen's work aims to quantify and understand the different sources of uncertainty in future climate projections by creating and analysing large "perturbed physics" ensembles of climate model simulations with different settings for uncertain model parameterisations. In helping create these ensembles, Glen has simulated over 25000 model years with the HadCM3 version of the Met Office Unified Model.

A key aspect of Glen's work is to develop statistical and scaling techniques to use ensemble output, constrained by observational data and combined with other sources of modelling uncertainty (such as the strength of the climate Terrestrial Carbon Cycle feedbacks), to make robust predictions of probability distribution functions for future climate change.

This work helped deliver the UKCP09 projections, and was also used for probabilistic climate projections for the European region as part of the European ENSEMBLES project. Currently, Glen is involved in several papers documenting this effort, and is active in further extending ensemble climate prediction techniques at the Met Office. This work will use information from ensembles of shorter Monthly to decadal prediction climate simulations to inform the projections on longer multidecadal time scales.

Career background

After joining the Met Office in 1998, Glen spent five years in the Verification Team, developing systems to assess the skill of operational weather forecasts. This included development of software to monitor and assess the quality of TAFs (Terminal Aerodrome Forecasts), model forecasts of UK rainfall, web-based forecasts, and gale warnings in the Shipping Forecast.In 2003 Glen moved to the Climate Prediction group at the Met Office, joining the Seamless Ensemble Prediction Team, where he now works in the area of probabilistic climate prediction. He was a contributing author to the Global Climate Projections chapter of the IPCC Fourth Assessment (Climate Change 2007 - The Physical Science Basis).Glen was a key member of the team that delivered the UKCP09 climate projections. Glen completed a PhD in 1989 with the Plasma Physics group at Imperial College, modelling instabilities in tokamaks (toroidal magnetic confinement devices for controlled nuclear fusion). Between 1988-1990 he was posted to the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics near Munich, to work on design studies for the ITER test fusion reactor. From 1991 to 1993 Glen worked for the Commissariat a l'Energie Atomique in Cadarache, Provence, analysing energy transport in the French superconducting tokamak experiment. In 1994 Glen started work at the High Temperature Science Laboratories at Sheffield University, where he undertook research work modelling electric discharge light sources with commercial applications, before joining the Met Office in 1998.

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