Susan Ballard

Susan leads the Advanced Nowcasting Research Group group, responsible for research and development into convective-scale data assimilation and numerical weather prediction-based nowcasting for the Met Office, based at the Joint Centre for Mesoscale Meteorology at Reading University.

Areas of expertise

  • Mesoscale and convective scale NWP
  • Variational data assimilation
  • Use of conventional and remote sensing observations for NWP 

Current activities

Manager of Advanced Nowcasting Research Group based at MetOffice@Reading, University of Reading.

  • Member of Met Office Weather Radar Theme Board, FUND project board and 1.5 km UK model implementation project board.
  • Member of  COST CONCERTED RESEARCH ACTION 731 - Propagation of uncertainty in advanced meteo-hydrological forecast systems.
  • Advisor to COST EG-CLIMET - European Ground-Based Observations of Essential Variables for Climate and Operational Meteorology.
  • Met Office supervisor to three CASE students at the University of Reading, working on radar refractivity data, ensemble techniques for data assimilation.
  • Collaboration with the  University of Reading  FREE project on use of radar insect radial Doppler winds and refractivity data.
  • Collaboration with the  University of Reading  NCEO data assimilation staff on ensemble methods and derivation of improved background error covariance.
  • Collaboration with KMA and  BMRC on radar data assimilation

Career background

Susan obtained a first class degree in physics from the University of Durham and then undertook post-graduate research at the University of Oxford on remote sensing of the atmosphere of Venus.

She joined the Met Office and worked on vortex dynamics for fundamental fluid dynamics, before moving to work on the development of the formulation of the 15 km nonhydrostatic mesoscale model, particularly the dynamics and physical parametrizations, and training forecasters on the interactive mesoscale initialization.

Susan then had a short time at the Met Office/Oxford University Hooke Institute at the  University of Oxford working on use of satellite data in NWP. She was promoted to lead that group before moving back to Bracknell to lead the group responsible for the development of the operational mesoscale NWP system, introducing first the original nonhydrostatic model and then the hydrostatic unified model for 15 km NWP forecasts over the UK.

She then worked at the Joint Centre for Mesoscale Meteorology (JCMM) at the  University of Reading on development of a mixed phase microphysics scheme and led a group using mesoscale NWP in field study campaigns to validate and improve the model formulation, as well as to understand mesoscale processes.

Susan moved back to Bracknell to lead the final development of the operational global 3D and then 4D-variational data assimilation schemes, and the development of the linear model for use in 4D-variational data assimilation.

In 2003 Susan moved back to JCMM to lead the development of the convective scale data assimilation and nowcasting systems and exploitation of novel remote sensing data such as radar. In 2010 JCMM merged with Met Office climate science staff at University of Reading to become MetOffice@Reading.

External recognition

  • Twice member of the Royal Meteorological Society Council.
  • Former Associate Editor of Atmospheric Research Letters.
  • Former Lead for  SRNWP convective scale/variational data assimilation theme.
  • Member of organising committee for many international meetings and conferences.

Last updated: 30 April 2014