Simon uses ground-based in-situ and remote sensing instruments to observe and better understand aerosol, cloud and radiation processes, which are then used to improve Numerical Weather Prediction forecast models.
Simon carries out analysis and quality control on data gathered from ground-based instrumentation. This includes in-situ and remote sensing techniques. An example of in-situ is flying a cloud droplet probe on our tethered helium balloon; examples of the latter are broad-band and narrow-band radiometers covering the solar and near-infrared spectrum. Experiments take place both at the Cardington field site and on detachment to temporary sites around the UK. The purpose of this work is to improve the physical representation of boundary layer processes in models.
Simon is currently analysing data from the COALESC field experiments that took place in the Spring of 2011 and 2012. The aim of COALESC was to observe the evolution of stratocumulus cloud in north-easterly flow across East Anglia. This involved flying the tethered balloon at Cardington, releasing radiosondes at various remote ground stations, operating surface Doppler lidars to look at turbulence beneath cloud base, and also flying the FAAM BAe-146 aircraft. Comparisons are under way between observations and model forecasts of cloud fields and cloud liquid water when running the model in research mode (down to 100 metre horizontal resolution).
Simon joined the Met Office at Met Research Flight (MRF), Farnborough in 1989. In 1991 he took special leave to do a sponsored first degree (Physics, UMIST 1991-1994), and then re-joined MRF as a cloud physics researcher using Hercules C-130 aircraft data.
Simon then studied for a doctorate on the interaction of pollution aerosols and stratocumulus (UMIST, 1995-1998). In 2000, Simon changed from cloud physics to aerosol-radiation work involving the direct radiative effect of biomass burning, desert dust and urban aerosol plumes. He moved with relocation of HQ to Exeter, still in Observation Based Research (renamed from MRF) and now using data from the FAAM BAe-146 aircraft based in Cranfield.
In 2010 Simon relocated to the Cardington Field Site in Bedfordshire (still within OBR) to work on ground-based boundary layer studies.