Ken leads the Weather Impacts Science team to conduct research and development leading to a capability to predict the societal impact of forecast weather for management of weather-related risk.
Areas of expertise
Ken manages research into the prediction of the impact of the weather on society, based on the weather prediction capabilities of the NWP system. The team is a leading partner in the development of the Hazard Impact Model (HIM) as a framework to be used for the prediction of impact from a wide range of hazards within the Natural Hazards Partnership (NHP), and part of Ken's role is as Science Lead for the HIM within the NHP.
A key aim of impact prediction work is to improve risk management associated with high-impact weather. Risk is a combination of impact and likelihood, so prediction combines use of impact modelling with understanding of the uncertainty in the weather forecast. This work is therefore a natural progression from Ken's previous role in the applications of ensemble forecasts which are the key tool for understanding forecast uncertainty.
The main areas of work of the team are therefore:
From 1999 to 2008 Ken managed the Met Office's ensemble forecasting team, which followed six years working as an operational forecaster in the Met Office's Operations Centre. During this time he led the development of the short-range MOGREPS ensemble system. Since 2008 Ken has focused specifically on the applications of ensembles and their integration into the Met Office's core operational forecasting procedures. Key aspects of this work were the communication of uncertainty to users of weather forecasts, and how the uncertainty in the weather forecast translates into uncertainty in the impact of the weather, which led into his current focus on weather impact prediction.
Before this, Ken joined the Met Office in 1984 with a degree in Physics from Oxford University. His first seven years were spent conducting experimental research on the dispersion of pollution in the turbulent boundary layer, pioneering measurements of the rapid fluctuations of pollutant concentration within a dispersing plume.
Ken was Chair of the Expert Team on Ensemble Prediction Systems for the World Meteorological Organization ( WMO) from 2003 to 2012. He also supports the WMO Severe Weather Forecast Demonstration Projects to improve capability for prediction of hazardous weather in less-developed countries.
Ken was awarded the L. G. Groves Memorial Award for Meteorology in 2007.