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21 March 2023

Science for Society

Morning Keynote Plenary

Distributed Air Quality Measurements using Low Cost Sensors in West Yorkshire

Dr Jim McQuaid, Associate Professor of Atmospheric Composition, University of Leeds

Awaiting abstract

Towards a Global Heat Health Early Warning System

Chloe Brimicombe, Post-Doctoral Researcher, Wegner Center, University of Graz, Austria

Heatwaves are the deadliest weather hazard. Heatwaves also have several other health and cross-sectional impacts including a reduction in crop yields and pressuring infrastructure. There has been a long-term mandate from the World Meteorological Organization for heatwave early warning systems since 2004, recently being reinforced with the vision that everybody should have access to early warning systems in the next 5 years. Extreme heat can be suggested to be borderless stretching across traditional political country boundaries. However, there isn’t currently a publicly available global Earl Warning System for heatwaves. In addition, heatwave impacts are often under-reported by meteorological organisation databases and reports and in the English news media. This leads to them sometimes being known as silent or invisible killers and this has also somewhat led to a lack of education around heat risks. In this talk, the systems approach that was taken to develop a pre-operational version of a global heat health early warning system will be discussed. And a vision for a Global Heatwave Early Warning system presented using ideas from OneHealth. It also makes the case for why Early Warning Systems are only one of a number of tools that can reduce climate risks and the fact that robust early warnings rely on resilient networks and infrastructure.  


Communicating Climate Science : Misinformation, storytelling and creativity

Peter Stott, Science Fellow in Attribution, Met Office and Professor in Detection and Attribution University of Exeter

Awaiting abstract

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The 2022 Hunga-Tonga Volcanic Cloud: Stronger than expected stratospheric aerosol optical depth, alongside also continuing water vapour radiative & chemistry effects

Dr Graham Mann, Lecturer, University of Leeds

The 15th January 2022 Hunga-Tonga volcanic eruption was the most explosive since 1883 Krakatau, the eruptive plume reaching into the mesosphere, with a main detrainment in the mid-stratosphere, at 30-40km.  Although this explosivity was unprecedented, aerosol radiative effects are relatively modest, satellite measurements detecting only 0.4-0.5Tg of sulphur dioxide (SO2) compared to 14-23Tg from 1991 Pinatubo.

Although emitted SO2 was relatively low, Hunga Tonga emitted more than 100Tg of water vapour and the Southern Hemisphere mid-latitude stratosphere has a continuing unprecedented enhancement in stratospheric water vapour. The layer of enhanced water vapour has strongly cooled the stratosphere, with also an unexpectedly strong aerosol signal emerging, the 2022 stratosphere having the highest optical depth for 30 years (see Khaykin et al., 2022), due to water uptake amplifying aerosol scattering (Zhu et al., 2022).

The strong radiative forcings in the years after historical major eruptions is caused by a strong and sustained solar dimming from long-lived sulphate aerosol cloud, formed from the oxidising SO2.  For Hunga Tonga, Sellitto et al. (2022) show the long wave radiative effects from the strongly elevated stratosphere water vapour exceeded the short wave aerosol effects, and the event represents a new case study for a different regime of volcanic forcing.

In this presentation we present findings from a series of interactive stratospheric aerosol microphysics model simulations of the Hunga-Tonga volcanic aerosol cloud. We evaluate simulated aerosol optical properties, comparing to satellite measurements from the Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite instrument (Taha et al., 2022), and ground-based lidar measurements from Reunion Island (Baron et al., 2022) and Sao Paulo (Landulfo et al., 2022).

The model experiments use the UM-UKCA interactive stratosphere-troposphere chemistry and aerosol model, applying the same version used for the Agung, El Chichon and Pinatubo aerosol clouds (Dhomse et al., 2020). We focus on the unexpectedly strong optical depth of the Hunga-Tonga aerosol, increasing emissions from the observed 0.4-0.5Tg of SO2 (Carn et al., 2022), and exploring the water vapour influence, aligning with protocols from a multi-model Hunga-Tonga aerosol intercomparison co-ordinated by the University of Colorado (Clyne et al., 2022).  

Using JULES to Model the Congo Peatlands

Dr Peter Anthony Cook, Research Scientist, Global Systems Institute, Department of Geography, University of Exeter

The Cuvette Centrale swamp forest around the Congo river has the most extensive peatland complex in the tropics, but due to its remoteness the peat was only recently discovered.  The international project CongoPeat, which includes scientists from the Republic of the Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo and works with the local people of the Cuvette Centrale, is studying the peatlands to determine how they formed and the possible threats since it is vital that the peat is preserved.  While the peatlands are at least 20,000 years old the peat is thin compared to other tropical peatlands of similar age.  The JULES land surface model has been used with a reconstruction of the past annual rainfall and a simulation of other climate variables with the HadCM3 model to simulate the development of the peatlands.  The model results support the hypothesis that a long period of reduced rainfall a few thousand years ago lead to a large loss of peat and recreate the age-depth profiles of the peat in measured soil cores including the feature called a “ghost interval”.  This confirms that a constant high water table is needed to keep decomposition of the peat to a minimum and hence preserve the peatlands.  JULES was then run with future climate projections from five global climate models to simulate how the peatlands could change up to 2100.  In most projections the increased temperatures lead to increased evapotranspiration, lower water tables and increased decomposition of peat.  In most cases peat is lost overall, particularly when rainfall is also reduced further lowering the water tables, in-spite of increased CO2 concentration increasing the amount of vegetation and litterfall while reducing the amount of plant transpiration. The risk to the peatland Carbon is greater at higher levels of global warming.

Understanding Uncertainties in Radar Rainfall Estimation: A radar error model

Dr Amy Charlotte Green, Research Associate, Newcastle University

Weather radar is a crucial tool in rainfall estimation, for flood forecasting and urban drainage design. While rain gauges give sparsely distributed ground observations over time, a weather radar provides a picture of the spatial distribution of rainfall. Radar rainfall estimates are subject to many error sources - ground clutter, attenuation, beam blockage, the vertical profile of reflectivity and the drop-size distribution - resulting in complex correction procedures, often relying heavily on ground observations. To investigate the error structure (and resulting shadow effects) in radar rainfall estimation, a flexible stochastic model for simulating spatio-temporal rainfall event fields is implemented, to gain an improved understanding of the error structure and space-time properties of the radar rainfall estimation process, to improve radar rainfall estimation.

Simulated reference `true' rainfall fields satisfy key aspects of a spatial rainfall field, namely the spatial correlation structure, anisotropy, marginal distribution and advection. Standard weather-radar processing methods are inverted, with uncertainties imposed on rainfall fields, through a combination of a stochastic drop-size distribution field, random errors and path-integrated attenuation effects, resulting in an ensemble of radar images. Applying a radar rainfall estimation procedure to simulated rainfall fields allows for the investigation of the resultant error structure between simulated and corrected rainfall rates. This provides realistic weather radar images, of which we know the true rainfall field, and the corrected ‘best guess’ rainfall field which would be obtained if they were observed in the real-world case. The structure of these errors is then investigated, looking at the bias, root-mean-square error and ensemble variability. The frequency and behaviour of rainfall shadows is also considered and formally defined, and attempts are made to identify event and image properties which correspond to high variability and large differences between the simulated and corrected rainfall fields. The wider impact of these errors in hydrological modelling is considered, estimating runoff uncertainty for different sized hydrological catchments within the radar domain, identifying the impact the radar errors have on estimates.

This flexible and efficient model performs well at generating realistic weather radar images visually, for a large range of event types. Radar estimation errors are heavily dependent on the rainfall intensity, as expected, mostly due to the impact of attenuation effects. Variability in errors is fairly homogenous, except where the radar signal is fully attenuated. Rainfall shadows are defined as areas of high-intensity simulated rainfall with corrected rates less than 10% of the original rate. In cases where rainfall shadows occurred in one ensemble member, they were likely to occur for all ensemble members. Half of simulated weather radar images have at least 3% of significant rainfall rates shadowed, and 25% had at least 45km2 containing rainfall shadows. This highlights the importance of gaining an improved understanding of rainfall shadows, as this gap would result in underestimation of potential impacts of flooding, providing. The simulation tool is demonstrated to provide a model framework for investigating the behaviour of errors relating to the radar rainfall estimation process, with many hydrological and meteorological applications.

CO2 Mixing Ratio Evolution of Three Alpine Grasslands along a Climatic and an Altitudinal Gradient in the Pyrenees

Dr Beatriz Fernández-Duque, Post-Doctoral Researcher, Laboratory of Functional Ecology and Global Change (ECOFUN), Forest Science and Technology Centre of Catalonia (CTFC), Spain 

Grasslands are one of the most affected ecosystems by global change that has undergone degradation. In this sense, knowledge of the CO2 dynamic behaviour can help to quantify the role played by grasslands in the global carbon cycles. To address this gap, we measured carbon dioxide (CO2) fluxes spanning 10 years of continuous measurements at three grassland sites in the eastern Pyrenees: Pla de Riart (RIART, 1003 m a.s.l.), La Bertolina (BERT, 1276 m a.s.l.) and Castellar de n’Hug (CAST, 1900 m a.s.l.). The three long-term databases were divided into diurnal and nocturnal datasets in order to obtained more detailed results concerning the CO2 temporal patterns. The positive mean trend values for the studied period were higher at RIART (around 400 ppm and 402 ppm during the daytime and the night-time respectively). However, lower values were found at the other two stations (around 371 ppm during the day and around 378 ppm during the night). As regards the growth rate values, it should be noted that those recorded at CAST (2.7 ppm approximately) agree well with the general trend pattern described at other worldwide background sites against to the growth rate values recorded at RIART and BERT. Finally, it should be noted that despite differences in environmental and management conditions with elevation, the three grassland sites showed virtually the same patterns over time. Thus, we consider necessary to investigate more grassland sites according to the methodology presented here in order to further reduce uncertainties and to test the hypothesis, supported by our results.

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Impacts of Biases in the Tropical Atlantic in Seasonal Forecast System GloSea5

Tamara Collier, Scientist, Met Office

Previous work has shown large cold and dry biases in seasonal forecasts over the equatorial Atlantic. In addition, the correlation between tropical Atlantic rainfall and the North Atlantic Oscillation in seasonal hindcasts is reversed compared to the observations. This work investigates these biases in the Met Office Seasonal Forecast System (GloSea), and uses a novel ensemble based method to estimate the impact they have on forecasts of the North Atlantic.

Winter hindcasts covering the period 1993 – 2016 are analysed for biases in tropical Atlantic rainfall rate. The internal variability in ensemble members is then used to explore the impact of the dry bias in equatorial Atlantic rainfall rate on the North Atlantic. This is done by selecting model members which most closely resemble the bias and model members which most closely resemble the observations and using the differences as a proxy for the model error.  

We explore the impact of the equatorial Atlantic bias on Rossby wave sources in the tropical Atlantic, and extratropical circulation. We find that the tropical Atlantic bias impacts Atlantic Rossby wave sources over the northern tropical Atlantic, a common source of Rossby waves propagating over the North Atlantic.  A clear Rossby wave pattern originating from this area appears in the analysis and projects onto the NAO. We argue that this can explain a significant amount of the mean bias over the North Atlantic.

Initiation of Rain from Non-Rainy Conditions
Sen Jaiswal Rajasri, Head, Centre for Study on Rainfall and Radio wave Propagation & Professor, Physics, Sona College of Technology

In this paper the authors aim to investigate the characteristics of meteorological elements that lead to initiation of rain from the non-rainy conditions. They also aim to find the changes in these elements as rainfall intensity varies from a very low to the extreme category. They have carried out this study over a few locations in India, namely Chennai, Puri, Machilipttanam, Vishakhapattanam, Mumbai, Panjim, Trivendrum, Karaikal, and Kakdwip. They have chosen several pairs of rainy and non-rainy days and have investigated the variations of a few surface meteorological elements, viz. surface pressure (SP), surface temperature (ST), relative humidity (RH), and precipitable water (PW); and a few upper-air meteorological elements, viz. cloud liquid water (CLW), latent heat (LH), and integrated precipitable water from surface up to 18 km above. The investigation shows that it is possible to predict initiation of rain from the non-rainy days based on these elements. The study also reveals that as the rainfall intensity varies from a very low to the extreme category, these elements show gradual variations.  The authors have obtained the surface meteorological elements data from the Integrated Global Radiosonde Archive (IGRA) and the upper-air meteorological elements data from the data product 2A12 of the TRMM Microwave Imager (TMI) onboard the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite. They have performed the investigation from 1999-2008 with some data gaps. 

Tropical Cyclone Landfalls in Yangtze River Delta and Its Relationship with ENSO

Lai Xu, Johns Hopkins University

The paper analyzes the TCs (Tropical Cyclones) that make landfall in the Yangtze River Delta between 1951 and 2021, including the annual and seasonal variability in their pathway and intensity. The relationship between TCs and  El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the mechanisms accounting for the trend are highlighted. On average, there is an annual landfall frequency of 0.8 TC in the region, most of the which originate from region (5˚–25˚N, 125˚–160˚E) and show great seasonal variations in pathway. In El Niño years, there will be more and weaker TC landfalls due to high SSTs and humidity in the formation region, an alternated vertical wind shear and westerlies pattern and intensified subtropical high.

Transport and Redistribution of Aerosol Species over South Asia by the Monsoon Intraseasonal Oscillations

Dr Ana Gupta, Special Researcher, Tokyo Metropolitan University

The summer monsoon season, which contributes primarily to the annual rainfall over South Asia, also brings a large amount of aerosols with its southwesterly winds. We found that the aerosol distribution over South Asia was intraseasonally modulated by the long-range transport of natural aerosols such as dust and sea-salt from the Arabian Peninsula and the Arabian Sea, respectively, and the redistribution of anthropogenic aerosols such as organic matter, sulfate and black carbon within South Asia. These aerosol conditions were observed by the analyses using the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) TERRA and AQUA L3 datasets at an aerosol optical depth (AOD) of 550 µm and using the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) reanalysis dataset. Further, we found that aerosol transport over India increased with the intraseasonal strengthening of the southwesterly winds. During the active monsoon phases, the aerosol optical depth (AOD) was higher accompanied by the stronger southwesterly winds. Interestingly, there was a time lag of one phase in the interseasonal variations between the AOD and the rainfall amount from all the types of precipitation and, a time lag of two phases between the rainfall amount from all the types of precipitation and the rainfall amount brought by extreme rainfall. Extreme rainfall events were found to be less during the active monsoon phases, analyzed using the final integrated multi-satellite retrievals for the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM; IMERG) dataset. In the presence of the high AOD in the active monsoon phases, incoming solar radiation was reduced, which reduced the surface heating, diurnal variability and weakened the convection process over India. 

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Till Kuhlbrodt abstract
Taro Kunimitsu abstract
Peter Watson abstract
Saleem Ali abstract

Weather, Art and Music

Musical Messages – Creating a Bespoke Climate Story for the Outer Hebrides

Dr James Pope, Senior Climate Scientist, Met Office

Exposed to westerly and south-westerly Atlantic weather systems, the Outer Hebrides (off the west coast of Scotland) are a series of islands where the inhabitants are already well versed in coping with severe weather.  Headed by the Outer Hebrides Community Planning Partnership (OHCCP) Climate Change Working Group (CCWG), a range of adaptation planning documents are in production. Driven by a desire to engage with local communities, the CCWG alongside the Làn Thìde Climate Beacon, Adaptation Scotland and the Met Office created a project to explore the development of a storyline to communicate climate change information to the Outer Hebrides community.  Collaborating with a local artist, Tuil is Geil (Gaelic for “Flood and Wind”) was created through a combination of sonified climate data, local voices and field recordings of local weather.  Three themed pieces were created and these pieces (alongside a science presentation on projections of climate change for the Outer Hebrides) formed the centre of public engagement sessions when members of the public were able to share their thoughts about vulnerabilities and adaptation needs on the islands. While as a project team we learned a number of important lessons around the process for creating a bespoke storyline for a community, we strongly believe that this approach has major community impact and it is the intention to support similar storyline projects in other regions of Scotland. 

Weather and Geology in Dutch Landscape Painting

Franz Ossing, Head media and communications, ret, GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Potsdam, Germany

Dutch painting of th 17th century was a true revolution since here, for the first time in in the history of painting, a completely new style developed in which the depicted items were rendered close or even true to nature. In an interdisciplinary approach of art history and sciences we could show that the paintings as artworks reproduced an „invented reality“: the paintings are compositons put together by the artists, but each single element of these compositions is rendered close to nature.

The question arises why it is Holland, out of all places, where this revolution in painting took place. I will reflect the history of science before and after the 17th century, and follow this line via impressionism to the abstract painting of the early years of the 20th century.


Screaming Clouds

Helene Muri, Research Professor, Norwegian University of Science and Technology

“Mother-of-pearl clouds”, or nacreous clouds, appear irregularly in the winter stratosphere at high northern latitudes, about 20-30 km above the surface of the Earth. The size range of the cloud particles is near that of visible light, which explains their extraordinary, beautiful colours. We argue that the Norwegian painter Edvard Munch could well have been terrified when the sky all of a sudden turned “bloodish red” after sunset, when darkness was expected. Hence, there is a high probability that it was an event of mother-of-pearl clouds which was the background for Munch’s experience in nature, and for his iconic Scream.


Currently, the leading hypothesis for explaining the dramatic colours of the sky in Munch’s famous painting is that the artist was captivated by colourful sunsets following the enormous Krakatoa eruption in 1883. After carefully considering the historical accounts of some of Munch’s contemporaries, especially the physicist Carl Störmer, we suggest an alternative hypothesis, namely that Munch was inspired by spectacular occurrences of mother-of-pearl clouds. Such clouds, which have a wave-like structure akin to that seen in the Scream were first observed and described only a few years before the first version of this motive was released in 1892.


Unlike clouds related to conventional weather systems in the troposphere, mother-of-pearl clouds appear in the stratosphere, where significantly different physical conditions prevail. This result in droplet sizes within the range of visible light, creating the spectacular colour patterns these clouds are famous for. Carl Störmer observed such clouds and described them in minute details at the age of 16, but already with a profound interest in science. He later noted that “..these mother-of-pearl clouds was a vision of indescribable beauty!” The authors find it logical that the same vision could appear scaring in the sensitive mind of a young artist unknown to such phenomena.

Weather in Music

Karen Aplin, Professor of Space Science and Technology, Bristol University

Composers and songwriters have always been influenced by the world around them, but have you ever wondered what is behind this inspiration? We analysed music featuring weather phenomena in the title, theme, or lyrics, to find out which types of weather were represented and how, and if this could be related to the composer’s location or nationality. Some composers and songwriters referred to the weather that motivated them directly. We also, with hindsight and access to meteorological data, identified the indirect influences of unique or special weather, for example, an especially wet summer. 

Meteorological phenomena were frequently used to provide a “soundtrack” supporting the emotions depicted in music. Through this emotional connection, music represents a strong method to communicate science to the public. In this talk I will discuss the different ways that composers and songwriters, from Vivaldi in the 17th century to Adele in the 21st were affected by the weather and climate.

Art of the Atmosphere

Stanley David Gedzelman, Professor Emeritus, Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, City College of New York

In this talk I present a brief cultural and natural history of the artistic discovery of the atmosphere's many faces - its colors, optical phenomena, clouds, signs of changing weather, and marks of climate, starting from the Ice Age and continuing to the present. Painted and real skies are compared and explained using a scientific perspective that in many cases only became available long after the early artists first portrayed phenomena they could identify but could not understand. Unusual or distinctive clouds and optical phenomena are used to provide a key to distinguishing studio productions from works painted from real life. 

I also document that the prevailing climate has been but one factor in the artists' choice of atmospheric setting, for in every age, painters have also used the sky as a mirror of humankind's soul and its cultural and historical odyssey, and as a signpost of the times. For example, artists portrayed the sky clear and limpid in optimistic periods such as the Renaissance and the youth of America, but misty, obscured and stormy in pessimistic times, such as when France’s Ancien Régime was collapsing toward the French Revolution, and when Europe hurtled downward towards the irrational carnage of World War I. The proliferation of the irrational in art also coincided with the growth of career opportunities in science and engineering that drew practical-minded people away from the arts.

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Air Pollution in the United Kingdom

Dimitra Gkouzouli, Project Lead, Six Degrees Edinburgh

Contrary to popular belief, the United Kingdom (U.K.) air pollution crisis does not mainly stem from rising levels of air pollution, but from the impacts of air pollution. This report attempts to estimate the levels of ground-level air pollution, assess the impacts and review the relevant policies. We analysed data from 2020 by the Department of Environment and Rural (D.E.F.R.A.) and the National Atmospheric Emission Inventory (N.A.E.I.) using Python. We included the industrial processes into a broad industrial sector, to examine how legitimate is to focus the blame into individual responsibility. We innovate by naming the company sites that recorded highest annual emissions. We found out that the D.E.F.R.A.’s pollutant with the greatest number of zones exceeding limits is ozone (O3), followed by nitrogen oxides (NOx). Both are greenhouse gasses (G.H.G.s) with no legally binding limits. Greatest annual overall pollution was found at South Whales, followed by The Greater London Urban Area. The cleaner air is found in Northeast Scotland. Industries cover the greatest responsibility of pollutant sources (37%), with agriculture (18%) succeeding. The sites that recorded highest annual limits, with descending order, were Wintershall (gas and oil), Wyman-Gordon Limited (forging for civil and military applications), YUASA BATTERY (UK) LTD (batteries manufacturer for commercial, industrial and defence applications), Px (TGPP) Limited (waste disposal management and energy storage) and Vion Food group (meat and plant-based alternatives). The annual NOx offshore levels exceed those of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Whales all together, exposing the personnel into alarmingly high health risks. There are no data about U.K. Overseas Territories, Gibraltar, and Crown Dependencies. UK pollutant limits align with the WHO guidelines, but there is great uncertainty as to which legislations will cease after Brexit. Steps need to be taken to monitor more effectively and transparently air pollution, with a focus on vulnerable communities.

Guiding Principles for Drought Early Warning: For agricultural planning, humanitarian action and biodiversity conservation

Dr Victoria L. Boult, NERC Knowledge Exchange Fellow, University of Reading; NCAS

Reliable information on the likelihood of drought is of crucial importance to decision making in a range of sectors. In Africa, drought is expected to become more frequent, severe and widespread under climate change scenarios. Improved drought early warning is urgently needed across the continent. The Tropical Applications of Meteorology using SATellite data—AgriculturaL Early waRning system (TAMSAT-ALERT) provides seasonal forecasts of soil moisture for all of Africa. Here, we draw on learnings from the agricultural and humanitarian sectors to describe a series of generalisable guiding principles for the application of seasonal meteorological forecasts, such as TAMSAT-ALERT, in drought early warning and action across sectors. We demonstrate the application of these principles in biodiversity conservation.


How do we ‘see’ Meteotsunami Water Waves in Atmospheric Data?

Clare Lewis, PhD Student, University of Reading & Plymouth Marine Laboratory

Meteotsunamis are globally occurring shallow water waves which tend to be initiated by sudden air pressure changes (±1 mb) and wind stress from moving atmospheric systems. Sources range from convective clouds, cyclones, squalls, atmospheric gravity waves and strong mid-tropospheric winds. When the water wave reaches the coastline, it is further amplified through coastal resonances where it can elevate the coastal water level and substantially increase flow velocities. Due to the rapid onset and unexpected nature of these waves they have the potential to cause destruction, injuries and even fatalities to coastal communities.

To be able to record these events in the UK  meteotsunami catalogue (currently containing over 95 events since 1750) we need to be able to correctly identify them. A large part of this  identification is using atmospheric data to highlight the characteristics of an event. Over time these atmospheric characteristics will hopefully highlight trends and patterns where we can start to look at forecasting potential future meteotsunami.  

Long-term Outdoor Fungal Spore Counts and Meteorological Data Provide Forecasting Accuracy in Spore Forecasts with Machine-Learning Models

Samuel Anees-Hill, PhD Student, Centre for Environmental Health and Sustainability, University of Leicester

Many fungal spores are important allergens in outdoor environments. This study aims to evaluate the forecasting ability of various machine-learning models to forecast outdoor concentrations of clinically relevant fungal spores. Training data included 52 years of fungal spore count data from the Leicester-Derby area. These provide a significantly longer time-series than those used in similar studies. All four algorithms were able to forecast fungal spore concentrations with reasonable accuracy and differing performance characteristics based upon the model and fungal taxa being forecast. This work highlights the potential of machine learning techniques for forecasting fungal spore concentrations in the UK.

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Afternoon Keynote Plenary

Real-Time Catastrophe Risk Modeling: The Challenges of Quantifying the Impact of Hurricane Ian

James Cosgrove, Senior Catastrophe Modeler, Moody’s RMS

Hurricane Ian was a historic and complex event that caused catastrophic wind, storm surge, and flood damage in southwest Florida in September 2022. As well as being a notable meteorological event, Ian is expected to be one of the costliest U.S. hurricanes on record, and one that will have a lasting effect on the (re)insurance industry.


Catastrophe models can be used to assess hurricane risk in real-time by combining information such as historical storm data, damage potential, and current and forecast weather conditions to simulate potential scenarios and estimate potential losses.


This talk will recap Hurricane Ian and discuss some of the key challenges and methods used by catastrophe modelers to assess and quantify the financial impact of Ian in real-time — including before, during, and immediately after the storm had made landfall — as well as highlighting the challenges of communicating uncertainty in forecasts and loss to a range of audiences.

Monthly Weather Review at 150 Years: Its History, Impact, and Legacy

Prof. David M. Schultz, Professor of Synoptic Meteorology, and Director, Centre for Crisis Studies and Mitigation, University of Manchester

In 2022, Monthly Weather Review published its 150th volume. What started in 1873 as a one-page report and chart of the tracks of low-pressure centers eventually became one of the leading peer-reviewed journals for publishing research on theoretical, observational, and practical meteorology.  Monthly Weather Review publishes 5000 pages a year; its list of contributing authors and editors includes many notable names from the pantheon of meteorology: Abbe, Beck, Bigelow, Bjerknes, Brooks, Humphreys, Köppen, Namias, Newton, Rossby, Simpson, and Wexler. It has had three different publishers, it has been led by 49 different individuals, and it has evolved into an online format with its archive freely available across the globe. This presentation will discuss some of its history and its impact on meteorology and related fields. I will also discuss the celebrations for its 150th year, featuring 9 different editorials on meteorological history, publishing, and being a better author and reviewer.


The Importance of Socio-Meteorology

Helen Roberts, Socio-Meteorologist, Met Office

Over the last 70 years, forecast skill has increased by one day per decade, however an accurate forecast is not enough. When we produce a weather forecast, we are not doing it just for the sake of predicting a future state of the atmosphere, we are doing it because weather impacts us. It determines our daily activities, hobbies, business operations, and our safety. We want to know what the weather will do, rather than what it will be. The Met Office’s purpose is ‘helping you make better decisions to stay safe and thrive’, this statement of intent puts people at the heart of our raison d’etre.

Social and behavioural science can offer insight all the way through the forecast process, from science through to services. The most accurate forecast is of no benefit if not communicated effectively, and precise and timely weather warnings hold little value without clear, actionable advice.

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Chris Kent Abstract
Clare Lewis abstract
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