An external view of the Met Office building at night.

Sean Milton

Areas of expertise

  • Coupled global model development for weather and climate.
  • Developing process-based model evaluation diagnostics.
  • Use of field experiment and in-situ observations to evaluate models.
  • Tropical meteorology and Global Monsoon systems.
  • Managing scientific collaborations and programmes.

Publications by Sean Milton

Current activities

In his role as Associate Director, Foundation Science, Sean oversees the work of around 130 scientists and scientific software engineers who carry out underpinning research in seamless global and regional modelling, observations research, and data sciences.  Foundation science areas of responsibility include:

  • Delivering new science configurations of global and regional coupled environmental modelling systems which underpin improvements to Met Office operational prediction systems for weather and climate services.
  • Undertake research observations to better understand fundamental atmospheric processes and feed that knowledge into improved numerical models.  
  • Develop the dynamical core and physical parametrizations in global and regional atmospheric models.
  • Undertake research in the evolving field of data sciences, machine learning and AI led by the Informatics Lab and Joint Centre for Excellence in Environmental Intelligence (JCEEI).
  • Maintaining and developing the IT infrastructure that underpins all Foundation Science research capabilities.
  • Developing key partnerships in the UK and internationally to improve weather and climate modelling, research observational capabilities, and data sciences.

Career background

Sean joined the Met Office in 1986 after completing a Physics degree at the University of Sheffield, and held positions in the Hadley Centre on Extended-range (30-day) prediction and then working at NWP timescales on global model development, diagnostics and evaluation.  His science has focused on process-based evaluation research  which aims to understand the source of model errors and improve the representation of physical processes in coupled global modelling systems for weather and climate.  His most recent role in the Met Office was as Head of  Global Model Evaluation and Development (GMED) in Foundation Science from 2010 to 2019.

External recognition

  • Visiting Professor in Seamless Model development at the School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds.
  • Received the L.G. Groves Memorial Prize for Meteorology in 2004.  This is awarded annually to members of the Met Office and the Royal Navy, Army and RAF for the most important contributions to the science of meteorology and the application of meteorology to aviation of operational meteorology.
  • An invited author on the Meteorology of Tropical west Africa - The Forecasters Handbook.  More than 300 copies have been distributed to the forecasting and training centres in Africa.
  • Editorial Board Member on the Journal Atmosphere.