Dr Kate Willett

Kate works on climate change in the recent past and produces climate quality monitoring products for the surface atmosphere with a focus on surface humidity.

Areas of expertise:

  • Observational data - issues of quality and homogeneity;

  • Recent climate change in the atmospheric system;

  • Surface humidity.

My Publications - Willett, K

Current activities

Kate produces the surface humidity monitoring product HadISDH. This is a monthly mean gridded global product from 1973 onwards. At present it only contains land surface specific humidity but work is ongoing to expand this to other humidity and temperature variables and eventually include ship and buoy data over the oceans.

Kate has been the lead editor of the Global Climate chapter of NOAA's annual State of the Climate reports since 2010 with an international team of co-editors. These reports bring together summaries for as many essential climate variables as possible, describing their behaviour over the current year in context of the historical record and known modes of variability such as the El Niño Southern Oscillation.

Kate sits on the steering committee of the International Surface Temperature Initiative ( ISTI). The ISTI is working to improve the state of land surface temperature data in terms of comprehensive, open access and version controlled archiving with provenance to source origin. The ISTI is also working to provide robust assessments of methods used to build climate data products. Kate is chair of an ISTI working group building benchmark systems to test the skill of methods used to perform homogenisation on station data. Homogenisation is an essential process in creating climate quality data sets where changes resulting from events such as station moves or instrument changes are removed from a time series. This work focuses on monthly time scales. Kate has a PhD student with Exeter University working on daily timescale benchmarks.

Career background

Kate joined the Met Office Hadley Centre in 2007, where she spent the first year working on human thermal comfort and climate. Prior to that, Kate spent a year working as a post-doc at Yale University studying the exceedence of thermal comfort thresholds in a warmer and moister climate. She attained her PhD from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia on the creation and analysis of a global surface humidity data set. This followed a BSc in Environmental Sciences also at the University of East Anglia.

External recognition

  • Contributing author, IPCC AR5 (Working Group 1, Chapter 2)
  • Contributing author, BAMS State of the Climate reports 2011, 2012, 2013
  • Steering committee member of the ISTI from 2010
  • Working group Chair for benchmarking and assessment, ISTI from 2010

Last updated: 20 June 2014