Fluid Dynamics of Weather and Climate

Fluid Dynamics of Weather and Climate

Led by Professor John Thuburn, Dr Bob Beare, Dr Frank Kwasniok, Professor Geoff Vallis and Professor Beth Wingate

Climate change and severe weather are of major importance for society. There is a need for rigorous fluid dynamics research to underpin this area of science, and a need for new algorithms to exploit the coming generation of massively parallel computers that will be needed for high-resolution prediction. This group has close links with the Met Office in Exeter, with Professor John Thuburn holding a Met Office joint chair, and several recent CASE studentships.

John Thuburn's main research interest is in numerical methods for weather and climate models. He collaborates closely with the Met Office Dynamics Research group and has other collaborations with international partners - see the projects links below. He also has a long-standing interest in the dynamics of the stratosphere and mesosphere.

Bob Beare's fields of interest are the atmospheric boundary layer and dynamical meteorology. The boundary layer is the layer of the atmosphere in which we live and ranges between 100 m and 1 km in depth. It is often turbulent, that is to say the winds fluctuate on timescales of minutes. The gusts of wind that we experience daily are evidence of these turbulent fluctuations. The turbulent fluctuations are responsible for transporting important physical properties such as moisture, heat and momentum to and from the surface. The boundary layer's transport properties play a fundamental role in both the short range (weather- days) and long range (climate- years) evolution of the atmosphere. He currently has projects on:

  • The use of balance in understanding how the boundary layer couples with the larger scale (in collaboration with Mike Cullen, Met Office).
  • The dispersion of pollution by the early evening boundary layer (PhD student - Alex Taylor, CASE partner David Thomson, Met Office)
  • Modelling the observed Antarctic boundary layer for Astrophysical applications (PhD student - Kieran Walesby, in collaboration with Phil Anderson, British Antarctic Survey and University of Exeter Astrophysics group).
  • Modelling the boundary layer in the grey-zone (when the eddies are partially resolved), in collaboration with Adrian Lock, Met Office.

Frank Kwasniok's research interests include developing low-order models of the atmosphere that correctly capture the climatological statistics of more complex models. He also develops and uses sophisticated techniques for extracting dynamical information from time series data. With student Robin Beaumont, he is using reanalysis data and numerical models to study the dynamics of the stratospheric winter vortex.

Research projects

The following are some current and recent projects. For more information, please contact the relevant staff member and research students.


Academic Staff: Dr Bob Beare, Dr Frank Kwasniok, Professor John Thuburn

Research Staff and Students: Robin Beaumont, Jacky Goddard, Iva Kavcic, Dan Holdaway,
James Kent, David Long, Alex Taylor, Kieran Walesby

Postgraduate Research 

We welcome enquiries from prospective postgraduate research students.