An external view of the Met Office building at night.

Dr Glenn Shutts

Areas of expertise

  • Large-scale, balanced dynamics

  • Gravity wave dynamics

  • Deep convection and mesoscale interactions

  • Stochastic parametrization techniques

Current activities

Glenn is presently involved in a joint collaboration with ECMWF to develop the theory and practice of stochastic parametrization and works part-time in both institutions. His current research uses dynamical understanding of convective and mesoscale phenomena to improve their representation in weather forecast and climate models. A particular emphasis in recent work has been to introduce stochastic forcing functions into ensemble prediction systems and climate models. These enhance natural upscale energy transfer mechanisms that are under-represented in current model formulations and lead to more accurate probabilistic forecasts.

Career background

Glenn graduated from Reading University in 1973 with a degree in Physics with Meteorology. From there he studied planetary wave dynamics at Imperial College with John Green and obtained a PhD in 1976. After spending one year at Manchester University, he returned to Imperial College as a postdoctoral research assistant and worked on simple dynamical models of climate and theories of blocking. In 1982 he joined the Met Office where he developed new atmospheric diagnostics and continued his analysis of blocking. In 1985 he helped develop and implement the first operational gravity wave drag parametrization at the Met Office. During the next 5 years he contributed to the development of semi-geostrophic theory and published a comprehensive, dynamical study of the Great Storm of October 1987.

In 1991 Glenn was promoted to Individual Merit scientist and a led a small group studying orographic gravity wave dynamics and the numerical modelling of deep convection - both resulting in improvements to the accuracy of forecast models.

In 2002 he began a two-year secondment to ECMWF to work on stochastic parametrization and this led to the development of a stochastic backscatter scheme that is currently used in the MOGREPS ensemble forecast system at the Met Office. Since then he has continued to collaborate with ECMWF on an improved backscatter scheme and he coordinates stochastic parametrization work within the Met Office for medium-range forecasting, seasonal and climate prediction.

During his time in the Met Office he has been involved in two international field projects (FRONTS87 and MAP) and also some smaller-scale UK-based field projects to study gravity waves over hills.

External recognition

  • Royal Meteorological Society's L.F Richardson prize (1983).

  • Royal Society Esso Energy Award (as part of a Met Office team award) (1985).

  • Royal Meteorological Society's Buchan prize (1986).

  • L.G. Groves Memorial Prize for Meteorology (1994).

  • Organizing Committee member of the Mesoscale Alpine Programme (1998-2002).