Colin is a scientist working on the monitoring of observations used within the Met Office's data assimilation system.
Colin's work entails monitoring the quality and quantity of observational data used in the Met Office's data assimilation system in order to obtain the best analyses of these data from which to produce accurate NWP forecasts. Biases or random errors in data can produce analysis errors, leading to erroneous forecasts, so it is important to reduce these data errors. Colin produces regular statistics on surface, aircraft, radiosonde and profiler data, from which monthly rejection and correction lists are produced. Recent work includes automating the procedure for producing rejection lists for radiosonde data. The statistics are also used to update the observation errors assigned to each type of observation, for use within the quality control and assimilation systems.
The Met Office is the WMO-appointed Lead Centre for monitoring of surface marine observations, for which Colin produces reports and other statistics (available from the monitoring web page at monitoring). Colin also notifies NMS contacts of all errors detected. As Lead Centre, the Met Office agreed to act as the RTMC for the international Voluntary Observing Ship Climate Project and Colin has been the RTMC Focal Point since 2000. Colin often liaises with other monitoring centres at NMSs and at ECMWF and regularly exchanges monitoring information on the Global Observing System. The Met Office was the first NMS to monitor (and assimilate) European wind profiler data and Colin regularly provides feedback to the data producers on the quality of their winds.
Colin joined the Met Office in 1973 and early work included making observations of the weather at airfields, plotting and drawing up weather maps and briefing aircrew. After gaining a BSc in Meteorology at the University of Reading in 1981, Colin worked on the modelling of hydraulic jumps, before moving into the Data Assimilation area in 1987. Since then he has helped to implement various changes/improvements to the operational systems, including the introduction of synoptic-dependent background errors for use within the quality control and assimilation systems in 1993. Colin took on the role of Observation Monitoring Team Leader in 1997 and has overseen and implemented various improvements to the monitoring system since then, whilst performing regular monitoring activities on time-scales from days to years and responding to frequent requests for information on observation quality.