Dr Helene Hewitt

Helene manages the sea ice modelling area and is leading some of the Hadley Centre effort on Arctic climate change.

Current activities

Helene manages sea ice modelling group in the Met Office Hadley Centre. The group comprises of three scientists who work on sea ice modelling which includes both development and assessment of the sea ice model used for climate modelling. Helene is responsible for providing the strategic direction for the work of the group. A major aim of the work of the group is to quantify confidence in model predictions of Arctic sea ice changes and assess the importance of missing processes.

The sea ice model currently used at the Met Office Hadley Centre is the CICE model developed at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Helene led the work to move to the CICE model. Helene managed the development of the next generation climate model, HadGEM3. HadGEM3 couples NEMO and CICE, as the ocean and sea ice components respectively, to the Met Office Unified Model atmosphere. Helene has worked with the Australian ACCESS group as well as the NERC QUEST project to use the HadGEM3 model. She is currently working with the seasonal forecasting area to use this model to predict seasonal changes in sea ice.

Helene has previously been involved in evaluation of the ocean component of the climate model. This has involved confronting the model with observations and using the results to guide future model development. Helene coordinated the development of metrics for the assessment of climate models with a particular focus on HadGEM3.

Helene leads external collaborations on Arctic sea ice both within the UK and internationally. She is currently a member of the NERC Arctic Programme advisory group.

Career background

Helene joined the Met Office Hadley Centre in 1996 as an ocean scientist, where she worked on evaluating climate models. From 2003 she led the ocean and sea ice model development before focusing on sea ice modelling and Arctic climate change in 2009.

Prior to joining the Met Office, Helene obtained a PhD in Oceanography from Southampton University (now the National Oceanographic Centre). Her PhD was on the topic of mixing in the Western Equatorial Pacific. During her PhD, Helene participated in an oceanographic cruise as part of the World Ocean Circulation Experiment (WOCE) and was a summer fellow at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. Helene obtained a first class degree in Mathematics from Cambridge University (Fitzwilliam College).

External Recognition

Helene is a member of the CLIVAR Working Group for Ocean Model Development (WGOMD) and co-chaired this group from 2007 to 2008.

Helene is a member of the Programme Advisory Group for the NERC Arctic programme.

Last updated: 4 April 2014


Helene Hewitt

Helene manages the polar climate group

Areas of expertise:

  • Sea ice modelling
  • Ocean modelling
  • Climate model evaluation
  • Climate model development