An external view of the Met Office building at night.

Dr Paul Barrett

Areas of expertise

  • Design of atmospheric scientific research campaigns.
  • Airborne meteorological instrumentation and observations.
  • Measurements of convection, in-cloud turbulence, cloud and aerosol microphysics.

Paul's Publications

Current activities

Paul is an experienced and skilful observational scientist in the Cloud and Aerosol Group of Observation-Based Research (OBR) who works with national and international collaborators to design and undertake atmospheric science field work in locations around the world.

His current focus is as Principle Investigator for Wescon 2023 (Wessex Summertime Convection Campaign), a project that aims to improve understanding of UK summertime rain showers. Such convective storms can be responsible for high impact weather. Coordinated flights between the FAAM BAe146 large research aircraft and the Chilbolton Radar will generate a dataset that will be a key step along the path to high resolution and the enhanced representation of such storms in the next generation of convection permitting models.  

Alongside field measurements, Paul is also involved in the development and exploitation of world-class scientific instrumentation for the benefit of weather and climate prediction. As part of this work, he chairs the FAAM Meteorological Instruments Working group. Currently this involves working on the FAAM Mid-life upgrade (MLU), a major £50m national-capability project to enhance and future proof the research aircraft and facilities. He sits on the MLU scientific advisory panel making recommendations as to how to best focus the investment.

Career Background

Paul has previously worked on the FAAM BAe146 research aircraft to study warm boundary layer clouds, including stratocumulus in the south-east Pacific (VOCALS) and more recently studying aerosol-cloud interactions in the south-East Atlantic during CLARIFY where he also flew on the NASA P3 aircraft. Other campaigns Paul has participated in include ACAO (Arctic, 2022),  EUREC4A-UK (Barbados 2020, flying on the BAS Twin Otter), HyVIC (Lake Victoria, 2019), MACCSMIZE (Arctic, 2018), ICE-D (Cape Verde, 2015), ACCACIA (Arctic, 2013), SAMBBA (Amazon, 2012), and PIKNMIX (UK, 2010-2014).

He gained his Doctorate in 2017 while investigating turbulence and ice production in altocumulus clouds: through part-time study at University of Leeds School of Earth and Environment through the Met Office Academic Partnership. This followed time in industry, monitoring airborne asbestos particle concentrations, and a physics degree from University of Sheffield (MPhys, 2002) where he undertook a research masters developing thin-film toxic-gas detectors.

External Recognition

Chair: FAAM Meteorological Instruments Working Group

Member: FAAM MLU scientific advisory committee