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Dr Jonathan Wilkinson

Jonathan works on cloud microphysics modelling.

Jonathan works on cloud microphysics modelling, with the specific interest of improving the microphysics within the forecast and climate models.

Current activities

Jonathan is a scientist working in the field of cloud microphysics. Jonathan is responsible for the development and upgrades made to the microphysics code within the Unified Model which is used for both climate and weather forecasts.

The main focus of Jonathan's work is to improve the warm-rain, mixed-phase and ice microphysical processes within the Unified Model. To carry out these tasks, Jonathan uses recently published research, results from Observation Based Research cloud physics and cloud radar and lidar data.

In order to improve forecasts of drizzle in boundary layer clouds, Jonathan has developed a simple aerosol-cloud interaction for operational NWP forecasts using high-resolution models. He is looking to continue this work in collaboration with Leeds University, assisting with the development of a new multi-moment microphysics to see what level of complexity of aerosol-cloud interactions are required for NWP forecasts.

Since 2011, Jonathan has been involved with commercial consultancy for theUK Civil Aviation Authority. Jonathan has investigated instances where helicopters serving the UK Oil and Gas industry have triggered a lightning strike. Jonathan has been able to link this phenomenon to cold-air outbreak thunderstorms which occur over the North Sea during winter. This means that forecasts can be produced showing when strike conditions are likely. This in turn improves safety for those working in the oil and gas industry. 

Jonathan is also interested in the formation of lightning in UK summer thunderstorms and in particular he is interested in why some storms produce lightning while others do not. Using the graupel scheme in the Unified Model, Jonathan is investigating the feasibility of producing lightning risk forecasts directly from the model. This has led Jonathan to work closely with Reading University to examine the results from their DYMECS project.

Jonathan also collaborates with Reading University as part of the Cloudnet programme, which evaluates the ability of NWP models to forecast cloud properties, as determined by ground-based radar and lidar.

Career background

Jonathan has been a member of the Atmospheric Processes and Parametrizations group since starting at the Met Office in 2007. Prior to joining the Met Office, Jonathan completed a PhD in evaluating cloud and microphysics parametrizations in numerical models using radar and lidar at Reading University. Jonathan also obtained a B Sc in Meteorology from Reading University in 2003 with first-class honours.

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