Dr Steve Derbyshire

Steve leads a research and development team working on atmospheric convective cloud systems and their representation.

Current activities

Steve's focus is the scientific and practical improvement of the ways in which we represent convective cloud systems in the Met Office Unified Model.

Convection is one of the most complex physical processes we have to represent in atmospheric modelling, and we need to bring together many different sources of information:

  • Detailed observational information about cloud systems.

  • Results from research simulations of convection. 

  • Observational verification of weather and climate modelling. 

  • Theoretical insights.

One of Steve's key interests is the link between the detailed process (and its representation) and the behaviour of the atmospheric system as a whole. Recently Steve contributed to a Harvard/MIT Workshop on Tropical Large-scale Circulations in a Convecting Atmosphere.

Career background

Steve's PhD was a collaboration between Cambridge University and the Met Office (Julian Hunt and Paul Mason) on 'Modelling the Nocturnal Boundary Layer'. He used large-eddy simulation and theoretical analysis to develop and extend our understanding of the stably-stratified atmospheric boundary layer and its governing parameters.

Following his PhD, Steve led the rewriting of the Met Office Large Eddy Model so that it could be used for both boundary layer and deep convection problems.

Steve then spent six years (1991-7) conducting observationally based research at the Met Office Research Unit, Cardington, leading a number of experiments and detachments, including studying nocturnal flow over the Llanthony valley using a tethered-balloon-based measurement system.

In 1997 Steve returned to Met Office in Bracknell to take up responsibilities for moist atmospheric convection. The European Cloud-Systems (EUROCS) collaboration led to an influential paper on convection sensitivity to environmental humidity, based on intercomparison of Cloud-Resolving and Single-Column models.

Since 2003 Steve's team has been directly responsible for convection parametrization in the Met Office Unified Model and has brought forward a number of incremental improvements, as well as testing new types of convection representation. Steve has supervised four PhD students, on both boundary-layer and convection topics (Andrew Maguire, Bernard Claxton, John Holden and Laura Davies).

External recognition

  • L.F Richardson prize winner 1992.

  • Meetings Secretary of the Royal Meteorological Society 1997-2003.

  • Editorial Board member of Boundary-Layer Meteorology 2002-present.

Last updated: 9 April 2014

About Steve Derbyshire

Dr Steve Derbyshire

Steve works on atmospheric convective cloud systems.

Areas of expertise:

  • Moist convection in the atmosphere.

  • Boundary layer meteorology.

  • Large-eddy simulation and cloud resolving modelling.

Publications by Steve