Dr Kate Willett

Kate is a climate scientist working on high resolution climate data with a focus on surface humidity and thermal comfort.

Areas of expertise:

  • Observational data - issues of quality and homogeneity.

  • Recent climate change in the atmospheric system.

  • Human thermal comfort and climate.

My Publications - Willett, K

Current activities

Kate is creating HadISD, a high resolution land dataset of surface temperature, dewpoint temperature, sea level pressure, wind speed and cloud cover from global weather reports from 1973. This will eventually be updated in near-real time and will be a tool for studying climate extremes. The work involves quality controlling the data to remove erroneous values, detecting inhomogeneities within the data which may cause spurious trends and adjusting for such inhomogeneities to leave only true climate signals.

High resolution data are becoming more and more essential not only within the realm of climate science but in many other disciplines such as health, agriculture, energy and insurance/reinsurance. There are many issues of data quality in the synoptic record due to instrumental or recording errors and also changes in practices, station locations and technology. It is essential that high resolution climate data used in any sector is of high climate quality to ensure accurate and robust results.

The dataset will be used within the Met Office Hadley Centre for enhancing our understanding of climate extremes such as heat waves, cold snaps and storms both in the historical record and state of the art GCM reconstructions and future projections.

Kate also works the surface humidity dataset  HadCRUH for monitoring recent climate changes. She is involved with Health within the Climate impacts group. She has recently co-edited the Global chapter of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (BAMS) State of the Climate 2009.

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 exceedance 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 dataset. This followed a BSc in Environmental Sciences also at the University of East Anglia.

Last updated: 4 April 2014