Explore our science programmes

Climate02 air quality03 atmos phys04 technology05 facilities services

The NCAS Atmospheric Physics directorate conducts research on dynamical and physical processes in the atmosphere on the local and regional scale. This involves atmospheric flows ranging from building-scale turbulence up to the country-wide influence of the jetstream, cyclones, anticyclones and embedded structures that dominate the weather of the UK.  The work is organised in two broad themes: urban meteorology, pollution transport and air quality; and convective processes, severe weather and predictability.

The research exploits state-of-the-art observations made in collaboration with the NCAS technology division and facilities. It makes considerable use of high resolution weather prediction models for simulating real atmospheric situations, interpretation of new observations and bringing them together to form a picture of the physical mechanisms that govern the temporal evolution of weather events. It also sheds light on those aspects of the atmosphere that are inherently less predictable and the reasons why. This improved physical understanding contributes to the development of prediction models and eventually to enhanced weather forecast skill; to better representation of weather processes in global climate models; and better forecasts of air quality.

Major projects currently being undertaken by NCAS Atmospheric Physics are:

  • SEPA RAINS - Radar Applications in Northern Scotland
  • ClearfLo, a project to study the urban boundary layer and air pollution in London.
  • DIAMET, a project to study diabatic process in cyclones.
  • COPE, a project to improve the analysis and forecasting of storms.
  • MicroClimates, a project to develop a very high resolution micro-climate model.
  • VANAHEIM, a project to improve understanding of the impact of volcanic eruptions
  • CAST, a joint project with NASA to study convective transport in the tropics
  • Hazard Forecasting for South Georgia
  • University of Malaya Research Station at Bachok

NCAS Atmospheric Physics also sponsors community meetings and forums. A report on the Boundary Layer forum of 2011 may be found in the Boundary Layer section below. Follow the link for a report on the Rainfall forum held in July 2012.

The NCAS Atmospheric Physics directorate is a distributed centre comprising groups at seven UK universities: Reading, Leeds, Southampton, Manchester, Lancaster, Oxford and Hertfordshire. 

predictability mesoscale convection
cloudmicro boundary urban
modeldev technology volcanoplume