Phil manages the Cloud Physics research group, which uses the FAAM BAe146 research aircraft to study cloud microphysical and dynamical processes.
Areas of expertise:
Cloud microphysical and dynamical measurements;
Airborne field campaigns.
The Cloud Physics Group's interests fall into two areas: (i) the development and evolution of stratocumulus cloud layers, (ii) the nucleation of ice crystals in cold clouds and the impacts on precipitation development.
Stratocumulus over land has an important impact on the forecasting of surface temperatures and visibility. Globally, stratocumulus in the subtropics has an important impact on the Earth's radiation budget. Stratocumulus is formed and maintained by a complex set of physical processes involving turbulent transports of heat and moisture, radiative heating in both the visible and thermal infra-red and the formation and evaporation of drizzle precipitation. We are currently studying these processes both in cloud layers over the UK and as part of the VOCALS-REx (2008) and COALESC (2011) field campaigns.
We also study the evolution of ice in convective clouds, in particular the interaction between ice nucleating aerosol (IN) and liquid-phase precipitation and the subsequent onset of
secondary ice nucleation. We use both aircraft observations and simulations using the Large Eddy Model. We are examining differences due to the use of explicit and parametrized representations of IN. The CONSTRAIN field campaign in early 2010 has studied cloud regions in which certain microphysical process were expected to be dominant. The observations are being used to refine the parametrized representations of these processes in the Unified Model. The group is also developing an instrument to count IN.
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) and VOCALS-REx (2008).
Phil is currently the coordinator of the Transnational Access activity within the EUFAR network. This is an EC-funded activity to facilitate the closer integration of airborne research infrastructures and activities across Europe.