An external view of the Met Office building at night.

Neil Kaye

Areas of expertise

  • Data visualisation techniques
  • Spatial data analyses
  • GIS tool development
  • Translating scientific requirements into technical solutions 

Current activities

Neil's work aims to improve the visualisation and clarity of presentation for climate research. As a specialist in GIS, he has developed a range of tools and techniques to visualise and analyse climate model output on GIS platforms. Currently he is creating a database to store, display and retrieve climate model, socio-economic and environmental data to facilitate the assessment of climate impacts.

One example of Neil's work is the development of a new mapping technique to improve communication of climate model uncertainty. This varies the saturation of a small palette of colours to indicate direction, magnitude and agreement of ensembles of climate change projections. This work is available as a Met Office Hadley Centre Technical Note.

Neil has recently worked with Met Office Hadley Centre colleagues to assess the efficacy of pattern scaling as a method to provide climate change projections for time periods and emission scenarios that have not been simulated by climate model simulations. The study explored theoretical issues regarding how best to estimate and assess the climate change patterns, and how decisions might be made on whether and how to use pattern scaling.

One aspect of Neil's future work will be to review the Visualisation techniques used in the IPCC AR4 and produce guidelines for future improvements in preparation for IPCC 5th assessment report.

Career background

Neil joined the Met Office Hadley Centre at the beginning of 2008 and is a member of the Vegetation-Climate Interactions which is part of Climate Monitoring and Attribution. Whilst in the team he has improved visualisation and enabled team members to successfully incorporate GIS visualisation and analyses into their projects. From 2002 he worked for six years in the technology division of the Met Office. While there he was technical lead on a variety of projects, including: the creation of a GIS tool to help design climate networks; a tool to automatically generate maps of pollution dispersion; a product to provide electricity companies a 5 day forecast of customer outage due to severe weather; a tool to automatically generate aviation advisories of airborne pollutants.

Before that Neil worked for two years at the agricultural consultancy ADAS where he worked on numerous projects including high profile GIS analyses during the Foot and Mouth crisis.

Neil did his first degree in Geography at the University of Southampton and his undergraduate dissertation was entitled 'Impacts on grapevine cultivation in England and Wales following a climatic warming', this won the AGI student of the year award and is surprisingly relevant for the work he is doing now. Neil obtained an MSc in GIS at the University of Leicester which gave him the foundation of knowledge for his subsequent career.