Dr Laura Pitcher (née Stewart)

Laura's research focuses on improvements in convective scale weather forecasting for the UK and the tropics. She works in the Data Assimilation @ Reading Group based at MetOffice@Reading Unit at the Department of Meteorology, University of Reading

Areas of Expertise

  • Infrared sounding retrievals
  • Error modeling in satellite sounding data
  • Four-dimensional data assimilation in convective scale models

Current Activities


Laura is a research scientist working on tropical and mid-latitude convective scale data assimilation. Laura works on the development of an hourly four-dimensional data assimilation system for the UK. The work involves developing and trialling data assimilation suites for UK based convective models which investigate the impact of such variables as: lateral boundary conditions, cycling frequency and observation cut-off times.

Laura is also involved in the SINGV project, which is a collaboration between the Meteorological Service Singapore and the Met Office to develop tropical, high-resolution NWP for the Singapore region. The aim of the project is to equip MSS with a state-of-the-art tropical convective-scale NWP/nowcasting system capable of utilising observations from current and novel observing systems.

Career Background


Laura has been a member of the data assimilation team at Reading since September 2014. Prior to that she worked as a EUMETSAT research fellow in the Satellite Applications group, investigating the potential of the future geostationary infrared sounder MTG-IRS to improve the analysis of wind and humidity in the convective scale. Prior to joining the Met Office, Laura completed a PhD in NWP at the University of Reading; her thesis title was "Correlated observation errors in data assimilation". As an undergraduate Laura studied Mathematics at the University of Bath, and achieved a first-class MMath with honours in 2005.

Last updated: 12 June 2015

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