Understanding the global ocean circulation, and in particular the Meridional Overturning Circulation and the risk of abrupt climate change.
Laura works on understanding the MOC and in particular its long term variability and the risk of a rapid and/or irreversible changes in its strength under climate change. This involves analysis of an ensemble of models based on a Met Office Hadley Centre climate model (HadCM3) but where parameters have been varied, and also other climate models from this and other modelling centres. In particular she is examining the forcings and feedbacks associated with the variability of the MOC, and whether this helps in understanding the mechanisms of rapid changes.
She is collaborating with the UK research community as part of a project RAPID-WATCH to conduct a risk assessment of rapid or irreversible changes in the MOC. This will be done by utilising climateprediction.net to run a large ensemble of experiments on people's home computers.
Before joining the Met Office in 2008, Laura was a postdoctoral researcher at GFDL and Princeton University in America. There she worked on a project researching entrainment by gravity currents in the ocean, and how to improve representation of this process in climate models. A new parameterization for shear-driven ocean mixing in a climate model was developed and is being used in a GFDL climate model.
Laura has a PhD in Ocean Modelling from Liverpool University where she investigated the effects of topography on the ocean circulation. Prior to that she did an undergraduate degree in Mathematics at Cambridge University and a MSc in Industrial and Environmental Modelling at Bristol University mathematics department.
Last updated: 11 November 2010