Dr Keith Williams

Keith leads research to evaluate and understand, from a process-based perspective, the cause of errors in the Met Office Unified Model

Current activities

Keith is the scientific manager of the Model Evaluation and Diagnostics team. The work of this team is focused on evaluating the Unified Model on time and space scales appropriate to the processes being assessed, and understanding how errors in the simulation of those processes affect the simulation on other time and space scales. A key aspect of the work is developing novel diagnostic techniques to assess the model against a variety of observational data (satellite data, intense observing sites, re-analyses, etc.).

Keith leads the steering committee of the Working Group on Numerical Experiments (WGNE)/Working Group on Coupled Modelling (WGCM) co-sponsored Transpose-AMIP project. This project aims to run climate models in 'weather forecast mode', by initialising them with re-analyses and running five-day hindcasts. This methodology allows the models to be evaluated against detailed observations such as at ARM sites, CloudSat passes, etc. for particular synoptic events. 
Keith's personal research is in evaluating cloud processes across timescales. This involves understanding the cause of the spread in cloud response to climate change, relating this to the simulation of present day climate, determining the timescale on which the errors leading to the spread in response occur, and evaluating the simulation of the relevant processes on those timescales. He is currently carrying out this research using the latest versions of the Unified Model and other model submitted to the CMIP5 and Transpose-AMIP projects.

Career background

Keith obtained his degree in physics and meteorology and his PhD from the University of Reading. Upon joining the Met Office in 1998, Keith focused on understanding processes leading to a spread in climate sensitivity between climate models. Most of this work involved understanding the spread in cloud response to climate change between climate models, and determining confidence in their response through evaluation of relevant processes in the current climate.  
In 2008, Keith became the manager of the Seamless Prediction team which began the work of drawing together model assessment techniques from the weather and climate communities. Following a re-structuring of the Met Office science areas in 2010 to promote far more seamless working, Keith began managing the Model Evaluation and Diagnostics team.

External recognition

Keith is the steering committee chair of the WGNE/WGCM endorsed Transpose-AMIP project.

Last updated: 4 April 2014

About Keith Williams

Keith Williams

Keith leads research to evaluate and improve the simulation of the Met Office Unified Model.

Areas of expertise:

  • Model Evaluation.

  • Seamless modelling approach.

  • Understanding cloud feedback processes.

  • Process-based metrics of model performance.

Publications by Keith Williams