An external view of the Met Office building at night.

Dr Martin Best

Areas of expertise

  • Land surface

  • Surface / atmosphere interactions


  • Urban meteorology

Current activities

Martin is a science fellow and part of the boundary layer and surface processes team in Atmospheric Processes and Parametrizations. His responsibilities include managing the relationship with the NERC funded Hydro-JULES project led by the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (UKCEH) and he has a team member based at their main site in Wallingford. He also takes a leading role in collaborations on land surface related science with international Unified Model partners.

Martin leads the development of the Joint UK Land Environment Simulator (JULES), the UK’s community land surface model. JULES provides a modelling capability for research and development by the UK and international land surface community, while remaining intimately linked to the Met Office weather and climate models. This enables the community to contribute towards improved accuracy and understanding in weather forecasting and climate change predictions.

Martin is on the science coordination committee for an international observational field campaign LIAISE (Land surface Interactions with the Atmosphere over the Iberian Semi-arid Environment), based in part of the Ebro river basin in North East Spain. The project brings together ground-based and airborne measurements to support a number of planned international modelling activities to increase understand of land surface processes, land/atmosphere interactions and human influences on the terrestrial water cycle in a semi-arid environment, where water availability plays a pivotal role.

Martin is also on the teams leading two international community modelling experiments. Both experiments are related to the benchmarking of models with the aim of identifying common research and development priorities for these models. The first focusses on land surface models considering natural vegetation under various climates, whilst the second focusses on models developed by both the urban and land surface communities considering a range of natural vegetation to built area land cover fraction ratios.

Career background

Martin joined the Met Office in 1992 after completing a BSc in Mathematics at the University of Nottingham. After spending a year working on atmospheric dispersion, he has worked on the development of the land surface for a wide range of applications, from the prediction of pipe bursts in the soil through to climate change predictions and weather forecasting.

He contributed to setting up the climate side of JCHMR in 2002 and took over the management of the land surface processes group in 2004. In between he spent six months in the commercial side of the Met Office working on business development in the energy sector.

Martin completed an MSc at the department of Meteorology at the University of Reading in 1996 as part of his training within the Met Office and a PhD in urban meteorology at King’s College London in 2015.

External recognition

  • Martin served over 10 years on GLASS, which forms part of GEWEX, co-chairing the panel for four of these years.
  • Martin also served two terms on BUE, the AMS board for urban meteorology.
  • Martin has been named in the Web of Science list of Highly Cited Researchers list in 2018, 2019 and 2020, recognising exceptional research performance as demonstrated by the production of multiple highly cited papers that rank in the top 1% for research field and year.