Dr Lizzie Kendon

Areas of expertise

  • Climate extremes

  • Regional climate prediction for the UK and Europe

  • Reliability of projected precipitation change

Publications by Lizzie Kendon

Current activities

Lizzie's work aims to gain a better understanding of extreme rainfall processes, and model deficiencies in the representation of these, across space and time scales. Her work links up Met Office expertise in forecasting extreme events on weather and climate change timescales, and exploits the seamless nature of the Unified Model.

A key aspect of her work is developing and running very high resolution (1.5 km) climate simulations for a limited area of the UK. The simulation of extreme rainfall in the 1.5 km model is being analysed and compared with lower resolution model versions. In particular, she is exploring process-links between the large-scale atmospheric circulation and extreme rainfall across model resolution.

Work at the Met Office has shown significant improvements in the representation of extreme rainfall at cloud-permitting scales, with better representation of the diurnal cycle and of internal cloud dynamics (essential for capturing the development and persistence of convective events such as Boscastle in 2004). This suggests the importance of using very high resolution models in climate change studies, in particular for the estimation of changes in convective summer storms and thus flash floods.

New understanding from this work will be applied in the context of developing and improving our climate models, as well as providing guidance to the government on the reliability of future projections of extreme precipitation change.

Career background

Lizzie joined the Met Office Hadley Centre in 2006 and since then has worked in regional climate modelling. She currently leads a team of scientists using very high resolution (kilometre-scale) models to study climate change, with a main focus on gaining a better understanding of extreme rainfall processes and their future change.  Her work has been pioneering in the field of convection-permitting climate modelling, with a high profile paper in Nature Climate Change in 2014.  She recently led the design and delivery of the first national climate scenarios at convection-permitting scale, as part of the UK Climate Projections (UKCP18) project.  She has also worked on the FCFA IMPALA project involving convection-permitting climate simulations over Africa, with the first future change results published in Nature Comms in 2019.  Lizzie also has a key role in the ERC INTENSE project analysing intense rainfall, NERC FUTURE-STORMS project looking at changes in high impact events and is participating in the EUCP project which includes carrying out coordinated convection-permitting climate simulations over Europe.

Prior to joining the Met Office, Lizzie did a PhD at Imperial College London using observational data to study the variability of atmospheric water vapour. During this time, she was lucky enough to have the opportunity of combining meteorological research with the ascent of an 8000 m Himalayan Peak, Cho Oyu. Before moving into climate research, Lizzie spent a few years working as a Radiological Analyst. As an undergraduate Lizzie studied Natural Sciences (Physics) at Cambridge University (1998) and also has an MSc in Pollution and Environmental Control from Manchester University (1999).