An external view of the Met Office building at night.

David Sexton

Areas of expertise

  • Making probabilistic climate projections using Bayesian methodology.

  • Using observations to evaluate and weight climate models.

  • Analysing results from perturbed physics ensembles and multiple model ensembles.

  • Multivariate statistical analysis of climate data.

  • Designing efficient climate model experiments.

Current activities

David leads the team that produced the latest set of climate projections for the UK, UKCP09, that were launched by the government on 18th June 2009. Part of that role, is to liaise with government, users of the projections, and other organisations as part of a nationwide project management team. Feedback from users has formed the basis for the next stage of the project, UKCP09 Extras, where additional products, reports and functionality will be made available. David is currently writing up several papers on the method underpinning UKCP09.

David is now developing more powerful statistical techniques for making probabilistic projections of many variables at once, so that the probabilities capture the key relationships between the climate variables. Such statistical techniques will improve the efficiency of production, thereby allowing more development and testing. This work will also make it easier to use more observations to narrow the uncertainty.

David will also be helping to develop a prediction system based on many climate model simulations that makes climate projections from time scales of seasons to multidecadal.

Career background

David joined the Met Office Hadley Centre in August 1993, after studying Maths at Cambridge University. David spent the first nine years working on detection and attribution of anthropogenic climate change. This period culminated in a PhD in 2001 on experimental design and statistical modelling of climate model experiments, done jointly with the Met Office and Reading University. In 2002, David moved to the Climate Prediction group to work on climate prediction. In 2006, David became head of the team which produced the latest set of climate projections for the UK, UKCP09. For the first time, these projections were probabilistic in nature and are designed to help planners use a risk-based approach to deciding how to adapt to climate change.

External Recognition

  • Fellow of Royal Meteorological Society, 2006.

  • Winner of the L G Groves Memorial Prize for Meteorology, 2008, for my work on UKCP09.