Dr Philip Bett
Philip researches the impacts of climate variability and change, often for the energy sector.
Areas of expertise
- Application of seasonal forecasts into climate services
- Assessment of seasonal forecast skill and reliability
- Impacts of climate variability and change on wind and other renewable energy sources
Philip develops and delivers seasonal forecasts of summer rainfall in the Yangtze River Basin, which can be prone to disastrous and costly flooding. Our first forecasts correctly predicted an increased chance of above-average rainfall in 2016, and we have subsequently continued to develop this prototype climate service alongside our colleagues in China. The extreme rainfall suffered by the region in summer 2020 helped us better understand the strengths and limitations of our forecast system (Bett et al., 2021a).
Philip has also looked more broadly at the potential forecast skill for the energy sector in China and Europe. His work shows that, although skill is very patchy, there is scope for seasonal climate service development in some specific cases (Bett et al., 2017; Bett et al, 2018a, 2018b).
Recently, Philip has led a study as part of the EU Horizon SECLI-FIRM project on whether a "weather regimes" approach could be used to improve seasonal forecasts for the energy sector across Europe (Bett et al., 2021b).
Other work on seasonal forecast skill for vegetation growth and fire risk in the tropics (Bett et al., 2020) helped other colleagues and Brazilian partners develop a seasonal climate service for fire risk across South America (Anderson et al., 2021).
Philip worked on the new set of climate projections for the UK, the UKCP18 project. He worked on the data analysis and validation of the new projection results, contributing to the Overview and Land Projections science reports, and several factsheets including on wind speeds and the jet stream.
Philip has also worked on research on the impacts of climate variability and climate change on renewable energy in the UK, including the co-variability between wind and solar power (Bett et al., 2016), future wave energy (Mitchell et al. 2017), and long-term wind climate variability (Bett et al. 2013, 2017). This work can help inform policy and financial planning in the development of renewable energy in the UK. Philip contributed to more recent work showing the diversity of possible future outcomes due to energy policy choices as well as future climate scenarios (Bloomfield et al., 2021)
Philip joined the Met Office Hadley Centre in 2011 working on climate impacts and adaptation, moving to the Monthly to Decadal Variability and Prediction area in 2014. Prior to becoming a climate scientist, he worked at the University of Bonn as a postdoctoral researcher in astrophysics and cosmology, analysing supercomputer simulations of dark matter haloes, galaxies and the large-scale structure of the Universe. He obtained his PhD from Durham University in the same subject in 2008, where he also studied Physics and Astronomy as an undergraduate.