An external view of the Met Office building at night.

Dr Rachel Stratton

Areas of expertise

  • Atmospheric convection.

  • Using the Met Office Unified Model in idealised mode.

  • Using the Met Office Unified Model for aqua-planet, climate and NWP atmospheric simulations.

  • Single column modelling.

  • Running and analysing CRM simulations using both the LEM and MONC.

Publications by Rachel

Current activities

Rachel is a senior scientist working on convection. Rachel is now the idealised UM code owner. Before this she was the convection scheme code owner. She works on improving the convective parametrization scheme in the Unified Model.

Convective parametrization improvements often come from first running and analysing Met Office Large Eddy Model at resolutions where convective processes are fully resolved. The ideas derived from the CRM simulations are used to alter the parametrized convection scheme in the model. Changes to the convection scheme are usually tested in a SCM version of the Unified Model first to see how well they are able to reproduce CRM simulations or particular observational datasets. See various GASS observational case studies. If the SCM results look promising then the changes are tested in aqua-planet, climate and NWP.

Rachel has recently focused on:

  • Running a 10 year 4.5km regional climate simulation over Africa as part of the IMPALA project under the Future climate for Africa programme
  • Using the idealised UM to look at convection as part of the ParaCon project.

In the past Rachel has focused on:

  • Using the high resolution (~1.5 km) Unified Model simulations from Cascade project to try to improve the convection scheme at climate and NWP global resolutions.
  • Improving the diurnal cycle of tropical convection over land in collaboration with Alison Stirling.

  • Looking at the parametrization of deep convective momentum transport.

Rachel contributes to joint Met Office, Reading University  and Leeds University groups looking at improving the Unified Model's ability to simulate tropical convection,  the Monsoon,  forecasts over Africa  and the MJO.

Career background

Rachel has been a member of Atmospheric Processes and Parametrizations since 2003. Rachel started at the Met Office in 1985, working for 5 years in the area of ocean wave modelling, recoding the wave model for a change in supercomputer and helping to develop a wave data assimilation system. Rachel moved to the Met Office Hadley Centre in 1991 spending the first 2 years building the Unified Model. Rachel then moved into the then new area of Climate Model Evaluation and Development, where she contributed Met Office Unified Model simulations to the:

  • European HIRETYCS project.

  • The AMIP.

  • The APE project.

During her time working on model evaluation Rachel built up a range of expertise covering:

  • Increasing atmospheric resolution.

  • Using dynamical core simulations to help understand increasing resolution and changes to the energy cycle.

  • Using spin-up tendencies.

  • Looking at storm tracks in climate models.

Prior joining the Met Office Rachel completed a D.Phil in theoretical nuclear physics at Oxford University.