An external view of the Met Office building at night.

Dr Samantha Smith

Areas of expertise

  • Orographic precipitation
  • Temperature variations in complex terrain
  • Mountain waves
  • Cloud thermodynamics

Publications by Samantha Smith

Current activities

Samantha is a senior scientist in the orography group.  The current focus of Samantha's work is orographic precipitation enhancement and its representation in the Unified Model.  Comparison of precipitation forecasts against rain gauge observations demonstrated that the model is unable to produce enough orographic precipitation when the grid-spacing is insufficient to properly represent the hills in question.  She has therefore developed a new parametrization scheme to represent the enhancement of precipitation by unresolved hills.  Previous work within the orography group has included the analysis of aircraft observations of mountain waves over the Alps during the Mesoscale Alpine Project (MAP), in conjunction with high resolution simulations, and investigations into the sensitivity of resolved mountain drag on model resolution.  She was also involved in a project focusing on temperature downscaling in complex terrain, in particular the formation of cold air pools within valleys during clear calm nights.  

Career background

Samantha joined the Met Office as a research scientist in 1999.  Previously Samantha obtained a PhD in atmospheric physics at UMIST in 1993,  followed by a two year post-doctoral position.  Her work at UMIST focused on  thermodynamics and turbulence in cumulus and cirrus clouds.  Subsequently she spent three years at NASA GISS in New York, where she continued to work on turbulence and horizontal inhomogeneity in cirrus clouds.