Ken is a Science Fellow working in the exploitation of ensembles and probabilistic forecasts.
Areas of expertise
- Ensemble forecasting and application
- Communication of uncertainty in forecasts
- Weather-related risk management
- Operational high-resolution Numerical Weather Prediction
- Severe and high-impact weather prediction
- Weather impact modelling
As Science Fellow Ken’s primary focus is to support the use of ensemble and probabilistic forecasts in Met Office products and services. Over many years Ken has played a leading role in developing the science and demonstrating that probabilistic forecasts provide greater prediction skill and can support better decision-making by users. As Fellow he hopes to bring his science experience to support others across the Met Office to ensure that the power of these forecasts can be used to help people make better decisions to stay safe and thrive.
Ken was a Scientific Strategic Head in Weather Science between 2013 and 2022, first as Head of Numerical Modelling and then following a reorganisation, as Head of Verification, Impacts and Post-Processing. During this time he led the development of the new IMPROVER post-processing system designed to fully exploit the latest high resolution ensemble systems, supporting a risk-based approach to decision-making for high-impact weather. IMPROVER uses modern software to process the huge volumes of data from today’s NWP systems, and Ken also engaged several international partners to collaborate on IMPROVER development. He also initiated a project to replace and update the Met Office forecast verification systems to support the future modelling systems and revised the Met Office Key Performance Indicators for forecast accuracy to focus on ensemble performance.
From 1999 to 2011 Ken managed the Met Office's ensemble forecasting team, which followed six years working as an operational forecaster in the Met Office's Operations Centre. During this time he led the development of the short-range MOGREPS ensemble system, the applications of ensembles and their integration into the Met Office's core operational forecasting procedures. Key aspects of this work were the communication of uncertainty to users of weather forecasts, and how the uncertainty in the weather forecast translates into uncertainty in the impact of the weather. In 2012-13 he led the creation of a new team to conduct research and development in weather impact prediction before promotion to Scientific Strategic Head in May 2013.
Over many years, Ken has filled many leading roles for the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). He chaired the Expert Team on Ensemble Prediction Systems for 8 years and then in from 2012 to 2016 was on the management committee of the Commission for Basic Systems as Chair of the Data Processing and Forecasting System. He also chaired the Steering Group of the WMO Severe Weather Forecast Demonstration Projects to build capacity for prediction of hazardous weather in less-developed countries. He now chairs the Expert Team on Operational Weather Forecast Systems under the new INFCOM Commission.
Before this, Ken joined the Met Office in 1984 with a degree in Physics from Oxford University. His first seven years were spent conducting experimental research on the dispersion of pollution in the turbulent boundary layer, pioneering measurements of the rapid fluctuations of pollutant concentration within a dispersing plume.
In November 2016 Ken was presented with a Long Service Award by the Commission for Basic Systems of the World Meteorological Organization.