Philip R.A. Brown

Phil manages the Cloud Physics research group, which uses the FAAM BAe146 research aircraft to study cloud microphysical and dynamical processes.

Current activities

A current focus for the group is the study of processes in mixed-phase cloud systems (those containing both ice and supercooled liquid water). There is a particular interest in cold-air outbreak clouds and the processes that control the transition between largely continuous stratiform cloud cover and open cellular convection. This transition has a large impact on both the radiative properties of the cloud layer itself and the energy budget of the sea-surface below. Similar processes occur to a different degree in mid-tropospheric altostratus cloud layers and these are also a subject of current study. Precipitation evolution through both droplet collision/coalescence and ice-phase processes in organized convective clouds over the UK is being studied as part of the COPE (Convective Precipitation Experiment) field campaign in July/August 2013.

Phil's personal interests are in the development of measurement techniques for both individual cloud and precipitation particles and also bulk cloud properties such as liquid or ice water content. He is also involved in the continued development of the wind and turbulence measurement system on the FAAM aircraft including its capability to operate in supercooled clouds with the presence of airframe icing.  These measurements are also applied to a variety of issues in aviation meteorology.

Career background

Phil joined the Met Office in 1978 and has worked with airborne research observations throughout his career. At the Meteorological Research Flight (MRF), Farnborough, he studied mountain lee waves over the UK. He then joined the Cloud Physics research branch at Bracknell studying secondary ice nucleation in convective clouds around the UK and continuing the development of a  holographic cloud particle imager.

In 1992, Phil joined the Joint Centre for Mesoscale Meteorology at Reading University, helping to develop the Large Eddy Model to study convective clouds and precipitation processes. Working with members of the Radar Meteorology group, he contributed to the observational validation of cloud simulations and on early assessments of the capability of spaceborne cloud radar. He contributed to a number of cloud-scale modelling case studies as part of the EUCREM model-intercomparison project and the GCSS Working Group on cirrus clouds (now a part of GASS).

In 2000, Phil became manager of the Cloud Physics Group which became part of Observation Based Research following relocation of the Met Office to Exeter in 2003.

Phil has been involved with a number of international field measurement campaigns, initially with the Met Office's C-130 aircraft and subsequently the  FAAM aircraft. These include ICE (1989), EUCREX (1993),  RICO (2005) ,  VOCALS-REx (2008), and COPE (2013).

External recognition

Phil is the Scientific Coordinator of the  EUFAR research aircraft network and also its Transnational Access activity. This is an EC-funded activity to facilitate the closer integration of airborne research infrastructures and activities across Europe.

Last updated: 8 April 2014

About Phil Brown

Philip R.A. Brown

Phil studies cloud microphysical and dynamical processes using research aircraft observations.

Areas of expertise:

  • Cloud microphysical and dynamical measurements;

  • Cloud-scale modelling;

  • Airborne field campaigns.

Publications by Phil