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Robert Neal

Robert develops post-processing systems and products for high impact weather.

Robert develops post-processing systems and products for high impact weather.

Current activities

Robert works in the Verification, Impacts and Post-Processing team, post-processing data from numerical models covering a range of forecast lead times. His focus of work is on the societal risk from the impact of weather, of which probabilistic forecasts based on ensemble forecasting systems is a key tool. Specific projects are outlined below.

Weather regime forecasts

Development and maintenance of a probabilistic medium- to long-range forecasting tool called Decider, which is based on a set of 30 and 8 objectively derived European weather regimes. Research is focusing on how these weather regime forecasts can be applied to specific high impact applications in the UK, such as coastal and fluvial flooding. Robert is also involved with the LANDSLIP research consortium, which is hoping to relate predefined weather regimes over India to the occurrence of landslides in two study regions (Darjeeling and Nilgiris).

First-guess warnings

Development and maintenance of a probabilistic first-guess early warning tool for severe weather to support the impact based National Severe Weather Warning Service (NSWWS). This tool presents ensemble information in a user-friendly format which mimics the NSWWS colour states, taking account of the expected impact of weather as well as likelihood. Robert has also recently contributed towards research looking into the use of the NSWWS impact approach for issuing heat and cold health first guess warnings, where impact thresholds are based on epidemiological data.

Maintenance and upgrades to post-processing systems

Routine maintenance and upgrades to Met Office ensemble post-processing systems, including testing model upgrades during parallel suites.

Career background

Robert completed a BSc in Geography (2004 - 2007) and an MSc in Applied Meteorology and Climatology (2007 - 2008), both at the University of Birmingham. Before starting his MSc, Robert spent three months working for Vaisala servicing roadside weather stations, which are used by local authorities to determine when to grit roads in winter. Robert joined the Met Office in 2008 where he started work in one of the post-processing teams, generating products from ensemble forecasting systems. Since 2012, Robert's work has shifted slightly with a focus on forecast decision tools in support of high impact weather.

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