An external view of the Met Office building at night.

Dr James While

Areas of expertise

  • Shelf seas data assimilation

  • Diurnal SST modelling and assimilation

Publications by Dr James While

Current activities

James is currently involved in a project to improve data assimilation in the Met Office's shelf seas configuration of the NEMO ocean model. Currently only sea surface temperature data is assimilated into shelf models and James' current work is focused on implementing assimilation of temperature and salinity profiles. This project is made challenging by the shelf seas environment. In particular, complex bathymetry and the s-coordinate vertical levels used in shelf models make 3-D assimilation an ambitious goal.

James is also involved in the development of a global analysis system for the diurnal component of SST - a product never before produced at the Met Office.  This system, which is complementary to the OSTIA foundation SST analysis, will produce a daily analysed global field of the diurnal cycle in SST.

Career background

James began his science career by studying physics at the University of Warwick. At completion of his degree he moved to the University of Leeds to work towards a PhD in geophysics, specifically studying the use of gravity gradiometry in oil prospecting. James completed his PhD in 2006 and in that year his thesis was runner up for the RAS Keith Runcorn prize.

After his PhD James became a post doctoral researcher at the ESSC, located within the University of Reading. There he studied the impacts of physical data assimilation within coupled physical/biogeochemical ocean models.

James joined the marine data assimilation group in the Met Office in May 2009. Since then he has worked on a project to assimilate pCO2 data and has been involved in developing the data assimilation systems used in shelf seas.  More recently, alongside his shelf sea work, he has been involved in the development of an analysis system for diurnal sea surface temperature.