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Dr Philip Bett

Philip researches the impacts of climate variability and change

Philip researches the impacts of climate variability and change, from seasonal climate predictions to possible changes over many decades, to develop climate services that can help to inform adaptation decisions for public and private sector organisations.

Current activities

Philip is working on the new set of climate projections for the UK, the UKCP18 project.  He is contributing to the analysis and validation of the new projection results, and the development of the project as a service to government and non-government users.

Philip is also working on science to support seasonal climate prediction for the energy sector (Clark et al. 2017). Seasonal forecasting – producing a probabilistic forecast for a 3-month period, usually one month in advance – poses many technical and communication challenges, but there is a clear demand for such services in the energy sector.   Philip's work in this field focuses on two areas:

  • Assessing the skill and reliability of seasonal forecasts relevant to the energy sector;
  • Relating that skill to user needs through stakeholder engagement activities, leading to designing and producing operational trial seasonal climate prediction services.

This work is being carried out with colleagues in both Europe and China, as part of the CSSP-China project and the ECEM (European Climatic Energy Mixes) project, part of the Copernicus Climate Change Service.

Recent Projects

By analysing large data sets based on historical observations, Philip has looked at how wind speeds over the UK and Europe vary decade to decade, and how our recent experience of winds in the 1990s and 2000s fit into the long term context.  By obtaining more accurate estimates of the the true historical variability of wind speeds, wind farm developers can have greater certainty in the possible power generation at a site, which reduces the risks for financial investors (Bett et al. 2013, 2017).  This work was developed into an extension of the Met Office Virtual Met Mast™ product, allowing wind farm developers to understand the long-term climate variability around their site of interest.

Philip has also performed research under the 2012-2015 Hadley Centre Climate Programme to provide evidence to help inform renewable energy policy choices.  While the UK is particularly well-placed to take advantage of wind energy, the country will require energy from a broad mix of sources in the coming decades to ensure a stable supply.  Renewable energy sources such as wind, wave and solar electricity are directly linked to the weather and climate, and temperature plays a large part in determining energy demand.  Philip has investigated the relationships between these meteorological factors in the energy system, to understand the impact of the climate on our future energy mix (Bett et al., 2016, Mitchell et al. 2016).

Career background

Philip joined the Met Office Hadley Centre in October 2011. Prior to this, he worked at the University of Bonn as a postdoctoral researcher in astrophysics and cosmology, analysing supercomputer simulations of dark matter haloes, galaxies and the large-scale structure of the Universe. His obtained his PhD from Durham University in the same subject in 2008, where he also studied Physics and Astronomy as an undergraduate.

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