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Rick Rawlins

Rick leads the development and implementation of data assimilation upgrades for the Met Office operational global model.

Rick leads the development and implementation of data assimilation upgrades for the Met Office operational global model.

Current activities

Rick manages the observation processing and global model data assimilation team which is part of Data Assimilation and Ensembles. The main activities of the team are to coordinate software and scientific upgrades for operational implementation. This includes leading the management of key software applications: OPS and VAR, evaluation of trials and monitoring the quality of the operational assimilation of observations.

The focus of Rick's work is to enable a number of upgrades to the 4D-Var technique at the centre of the global model data assimilation that provide enhancements in the quality of model forecasts while remaining affordable within the operational schedule, requiring continuing attention to efficiency. Data assimilation is strongly linked to both model development and the provision of new observations, and requires coordination of activities to provide optimal combinations for improving Met Office forecasts.

Rick also provides support for the management of all operational changes in the Met Office NWP system, ensuring correctness of processes for reviewing scientific and technical upgrades.

Career background

Rick began work on satellite radiation observations and cloud physics modelling in the 1970's at the Met Office, later leading a small team responsible for research into solar radiation at the earth's surface and the provision of data for commercial customers.

A spell of 2 years as a forecaster at a defence station was followed by work on cloud and radiation at the Met. Research Flight in Farnborough, becoming manager of the Atmospheric Radiation Research group in 1988.

In 1989, Rick moved into Numerical Weather Prediction, leading a team working on the development of the Unified Model in its earliest stages, becoming the first manager of the Unified Model on its operational implementation in 1991. The next challenge was to enable massively parallel software to exploit the new capabilities of supercomputers. Following his introduction of a new dynamical core into the Unified Model system, Rick moved into his current role in 2002, which included managing the implementation of 4D-Var in the operational global model.

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