Professor Lizzie Kendon

Lizzie also has a joint Met Office Academic Partnership (MOAP) position at Bristol University as Professor in the Faculty of Science, exploiting new high resolution climate projections for impacts modelling and user applications.

Areas of expertise

  • Climate extremes

  • Regional climate prediction for the UK and Europe

  • Convective-scale climate modelling

Publications by Lizzie Kendon

Current activities

Lizzie leads a team of scientists using very high-resolution (kilometre-scale) models to study climate change, with a focus on gaining a better understanding of extremes and their future change. Lizzie also has a joint position as Professor in the Faculty of Science at Bristol University, building collaborations on exploiting new high-resolution climate projections for impacts modelling (e.g. flooding) and user applications.

Lizzie recently led work delivering the first national climate scenarios at convection-permitting scale as part of the UK Climate Projections (UKCP) project. She has also run European-wide climate simulations at 2.2km resolution and is collaborating with colleagues across Europe to identify how results vary across model resolution and across different climate models. Lizzie is also leading work to run ensemble climate simulations at km-scale across Africa.

Her current work aims to exploit these new high resolution simulations to understand future changes in high impact events at local scales. This includes exploring process-links between the large-scale atmospheric circulation and local extremes. She is also interested in exploring the role of land-atmosphere coupling and model deficiencies in the representation of this at km-scale. 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.

Work at the Met Office has shown that convection-permitting models, commonly used for weather forecasting, better represent small-scale processes in the atmosphere such as convection, which is a key process behind many of our extreme weather events. These models are also able to better represent the influence of mountains, coastlines and cities on our local climate compared to more traditional climate models. As a result, convection-permitting models are able to provide credible projections of future changes in local weather extremes, including convective summer storms important for flash flooding.

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 future changes in local weather extremes over the coming decades.

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 high impact events nd 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).