An external view of the Met Office building at night.

Dr Michael Sharpe

Areas of expertise

  • Weather warnings
  • Marine
  • Space Weather
  • Extremes
  • Aviation

Publications by Michael Sharpe

Current activities

The Met Office has a vast array of numerical models and data. The information they contain are used to generate products which are communicated directly to expert customers or for display to the general public via a variety of different media channels. Some of these products are generated by Operational Meteorologists, whilst others are subject to almost no human involvement, instead they are generated by post-processing model data. Either way it is very important that the resulting forecast products are comprehensively verified to ensure that they are fit for purpose, mistakes are learnt from and that the forecast user has confidence in the product and understands its limitations.

A Fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society, Michael works within the Operational Verification Systems and Products Team of Weather Science where his research focuses on the development of systems and novel techniques for the verification of forecast products. Ongoing research areas include  

  • Marine products generated by Operational Meteorologists on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency:
    • Shipping Forecasts and Gale Warnings
    • Inshore Waters Forecasts
    • High Seas Forecasts and Storm Warnings
  • Heavy rainfall alerts produced by both post-processed numerical models and Operational Meteorologists for the Environment Agency and the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency
  • Space Weather forecasts generated daily by operational meteorologists, including collaboration with CCMC NASA and University College Dublin
  • Aviation forecasts generated at airports throughout the UK and abroad by Operational Meteorologists
  • Site-specific model generated forecasts issued via the internet
  • Numerical model generated national severe weather warnings
  • Techniques for the verification of extreme weather events
  • Techniques for the verification weather warnings

Career background

Joining the Data Assimilation division of the Met Office in 2001 Michael’s initial task was to rewrite the numerical weather prediction code which reads and compares observational data and recent forecast fields to generate a most accurate initial state of the atmosphere for the global numerical model. A variety of assignments followed including aviation, defence and research work on the quasi-geostrophic omega equation to diagnose vertical velocity increments within the variational data assimilation scheme.  Whilst working within Data Assimilation Michael obtained a distinction in a 4-year Diploma in Statistics with the Open University, undertaken during his evenings and weekends. Prior to joining the Met Office Michael completed a PhD in Industrial Applied Mathematics at the University of Southampton, this included the numerical modelling of super-cooled liquids using a phase-field approach. Michael also studied mathematics as an undergraduate, again at the University of Southampton, during which he received two outstanding achievement awards and a national award from the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications.