An external view of the Met Office building at night.

Doug Johnson

Areas of expertise

  • Aviation meteorology and regulated aviation services
  • Cloud physics
  • Simulating planetary motions in rotating, baroclinic laboratory experiments

 Publications by Doug Johnson

Current activities

Applied Science and Scientific Consultancy is a relatively new directorate within Science. Doug has been asked to set up and lead this to facilitate improved engagement between Met Office scientists and our customers and stakeholders to ensure that our world leading scientific capability is used to maximum effect in providing them with cost benefits and risk mitigation in their weather and climate sensitive operations.

The main objective of Applied Science is to have better alignment between the Science and Business Strategies of the Met Office so that Science can significantly increase its contribution to the Met Office growth initiative.

Career background

Doug joined the Met Office in 1973 and was initially in the operations area undertaking observing and forecasting duties at Shoeburyness, Stansted and London Weather Centre before getting his BSc in Meteorology at Reading University in 1980.

On return from University he worked in the Observations area being involved in the development and design of the ATD system, and AWSs for oil rigs and monitoring weather related diseases in crops.

In 1983 he joined the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory where he was involved with simulating and understanding flows in planetary atmospheres using rotating, baroclinic laboratory experiments, in particular the impact of topography on rotating, baroclinic fluids.

In 1989 he was promoted to Manager of Cloud Physics Research and moved to Farnborough to join the Meteorological Research Flight. Whilst there he undertook over 2000 hours of flying making cloud microphysical measurements in order to develop parameterization of clouds to improve their simulation in numerical weather prediction models. He also was the lead scientist in 5 international field campaigns involving multiple research aircraft investigating issues ranging from the environmental impact of the Kuwait oil well fires to how outbreaks of continental air masses from Europe evolve into maritime air masses as they are transported over the subtropical North Atlantic.

In 2000 he moved into the Business area to use his aviation meteorological knowledge to develop improved met services for aviation customers and became Head of the Aviation Business Unit and then Head of the Transport Business Unit. During this time he built up strong strategic relationships with the CAA and other aviation customers and helped maintain the £30 million a year revenue the Met Office gets from aviation.

In 2013 he took up the Deputy Director role in Applied science to utilise the mixture of his research and business experience to improve the way in which Science engages with customers.

External recognition

  • 2010: MOD Chief Scientist commendation for the operational response to the 2010 Icelandic volcanic eruption
  • 1997: NASA team award for contributions to the FIRE science team during Atlantic Stratocumulus Transition Experiment (ASTEX)
  • 1996: Office of Naval Research (ONR) award for achievements in ocean science (contributions to Monterrey Area Ship Track (MAST) experiment)