Noel Nelson

Noel is seconded to the Pirbright Institute at Pirbright, Surrey, where he is responsible for researching the links between the atmospheric transmission of certain animal diseases such as foot and mouth and the weather.

Areas of expertise

Noel's areas of expertise include:

  • Short and long range atmospheric dispersion modelling
  • Weather and health relationships
  • National and European air quality policy
  • Virus aerosol sampling

My Publications - Nelson, N

Current activities

Noel is currently working closely with veterinary scientists and epidemiologists within the Transmission Biology Group at Pirbright to better characterise the virus aerosol emerging from an infected farm premises.

The relationships between disease transmission are very complex and require in-depth understanding of all phases of the processes involved. Only once these relationships have been established can detailed predictive real time modelling using the Met Office's Numerical Atmospheric-dispersion Modelling Environment be undertaken. It is expected that the research work undertaken at Pirbright will better enable the NAME model to describe the atmospheric spread of aerosol virus.

Noel also spends some time seconded to the Atmospheric and Local Environment Policy Group at Defra to forge a closer working partnership between the two organisations and to ensure that Government benefits from the relevant expertise in the Met Office such as air quality modelling and climate change research. 

Career Background

After completing an Honours Degree in Physics and an MSc in Environmental Science, Noel worked for a short period based at Essex University, where he was engaged in research investigating atmospheric inputs to the North Sea as part of the European funded North Sea Project.

Noel Joined the Met Office in 1991 where he initially worked on the development of the NAME model. Noel then worked in the consultancy area of the Met Office using both NAME and short range dispersion models to perform atmospheric impact assessments for both the Government and the Environment Agency. After exploring the influence of the weather on health, Noel was involved in the development of the Health Forecast Unit at the Met Office. In order to better understand how science was used to formulate policy, Noel was seconded for several years to Defra's air quality division and then later to the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution, where he was involved in the formulation of several Command Reports. Noel returned to the Met Office in 2010 to take up his current role at the Pirbright Institute.

External Recognition

  • Vice Chairman of the Institution of Environmental Science
  • Executive Member of the Institute of Air Quality Management

Last updated: 15 April 2014