Paul Barrett

Areas of expertise

  • Research aircraft observations;

  • Counterflow Virtual Impactor (CVI);

  • Marine Boundary Layer studies;

  • Comparison of Unified Model output with observations.

Paul's Publications

Current activities

Paul works closely with the FAAM BAe146 Atmospheric Research Aircraft.  He flies onboard the aircraft during data collection missions, and uses data collected by this aircraft to study the physical processes that affect clouds, in an effort to better represent these in the Unified Model.

He is currently investigating the role of turbulence as a control on ice nucleation in mixed phase clouds.  This work is part of the PhD program that Paul is undertaking with the University of Leeds School of Earth and Environment through the  Met Office Academic Partnership. Observations from the BAe146 as well as ground based observations are used as the starting point for this work.  High resolution numerical model simulations are being performed in order to understand the balance between turbulence and ice nucleation in weakly forced mixed phase layer clouds.

Paul is also the Met Office project manager responsible for the installation of a new Counterflow Virtual Impactor probe, used to investigate properties of clouds.  This probe evaporates the water from cloud droplets to leave water vapour and a residual cloud condensation nucleus ().  These residual particles are analysed downstream, where size, and chemical composition are determined.

Career background

Paul joined the Met Office and the Cloud Physics group in summer 2007. His time in the office has been spent understanding the data from the FAAM BAe146, and the workings of the Unified Model. He has attempted to forge links with outside users of the this aircraft and the data, in order to develop the research capability of the Met Office as a whole.

Previously he worked on data collected in marine boundary layer of the South Eastern Pacific, following VOCALS-Rex, an international study that took place during October 2008.  Study of this region is important as the extensive low lying Stratocumulus clouds have a large impact on the radiative balance of the Earth. Since then he has been involved in numerous field campaigns including studying cloud physics processes in the UK during CONSTRAIN 2010, Piknmix 2012 and COPE 2013, the impact of biomass burning in Brazil, SAMBBA 2012, and the role of aerosols and clouds on the climate of the Arctic, ACCACIA 2013.

Paul studied Physics as an undergraduate at the University of Sheffield, where he gained an MPhys (Hons), following completion of a four year degree and research project. The project involved detecting oxidising gases by measuring a change in the optical properties of a Langmuir-Blodgett thin film of aromatic compounds. Upon adsorption of a gas the optical transmission of the film dropped significantly. The work was aimed at improving the response time of the sensor, in order to provide timely notification of potentially dangerous elevated gas concentrations.

Following this he spent time working in the asbestos remediation industry. This saw him travel the country with a mobile laboratory to test for the presence and concentration of airborne asbestos fibres, to ensure public and worker safety.