An external view of the Met Office building at night.

Dr Jonathan P. Taylor

Areas of expertise

  • Radiative transfer theory;

  • Satellite remote sensing;

  • Cloud microphysics;

  • Aircraft scientific instrumentation;

  • Field campaign planning.

Publications by Jonathan

Current activities

Jonathan is one of the Strategic Heads in Forecasting Research and Development, and directs the R&D activities of the Observation Based Research section.

He manages a team of around 50 research and technical staff working in 6 different teams at 3 different locations in Southern England.

Three of the research teams are based in Exeter, working on Cloud Microphysics, Radiative Transfer in the Atmosphere, and Aerosols. All three work with the heavily instrumented FAAM Atmospheric Research Aircraft which is a BAe146, a joint project with NERC. He also oversees management of the Met Office staff based at FAAM and the Boundary Layer research group at Cardington, also near Bedford, which conducts surface based research.

The aim of the research within OBR is to develop our understanding of the atmosphere by challenging models with state of the art observations.

Career background

Jonathan graduated from the University of Reading with a Joint Honours Degree in Physics and Meteorology in 1988.   He then joined the Met Office and attended the Met Office College.  In February 1989 he joined the Meteorological Research Flight, conducting radiative transfer research using the Met Office C130 aircraft.   Whilst working for the Met Office, Jonathan completed a PhD in 1993 at University of Reading on The Remote Retrieval of Stratiform Water Cloud Radiative and Microphysical Properties.

In 1997 Jonathan became research manager of the Airborne Remote Sensing Group which used a suite of microwave instruments and a thermal infrared interferometer to remotely sense the atmosphere using the C130 aircraft and develop new techniques to optimise the benefit from satellite instruments.

In 2000 the Airborne Remote Sensing Group was merged with the Atmospheric Radiation Group and Jonathan took on the management of this enlarged group.  The group now uses the FAAM BAe146 Atmospheric Research Aircraft to study radiative transfer in the atmosphere, to improve the utilisation of satellite data and develop tactical decision aids for the military.

One focus of Jonathan's research has been the development of new techniques to better utilise data from the IASI instrument which flies on the Metop satellite. In his previous team, the Havemann-Taylor Fast Radiative Transfer code has been developed which allows the prediction of all the spectral channels of IASI using a principal component based technique. Utilising this very fast radiative transfer code the team are developing techniques to remotely sense profiles of temperature, water vapour and ozone along with surface temperature and emissivity over any surface (land or water). 

Jonathan has led many international field campaigns with the FAAM BAe146 aircraft and with its predecessor the Met Office C130 aircraft. He became manager of Observations Based Research in 2010 and now manages the staff and budgets associated with all Met Office operations using the FAAM BAe146, MOCCA and the ground based research facility at Cardington.

External recognition

  • Jonathan received, jointly with Stephen English,  the Royal Meteorological Society L.F. Richardson Prize in 1996.  The L.F. Richardson Prize is awarded annually for an outstanding paper published in the RMetS Quarterly Journal by an author under the age of 30.
  • He received the L.G. Groves Memorial Prize for Observations in 2009, jointly with Stuart Newman, for their work on the Joint Airborne IASI Validation Experiment.
  • Co-chair of the IASI Satellite Sounding Working Group which is a scientific advisory body to both CNES and Eumetsat on all matters relating to the IASI instrument on Metop.
  • Invited contributing author of the 1994 Dahlem Workshop textbook titled "Aerosol Forcing of Climate".
  • Jonathan has served as an associate editor of the Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society.