Top scientists from the National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS) and the University of Reading in the UK have won awards from the Royal Meteorological Society (RMetS) for their dedication and determination to develop weather research.
The RMetS awards honor researchers who have made significant contributions to meteorology. This year’s winners are Professor Ed Hawkins and Professor Bryan Lawrence.
Professor Hawkins has been given the Hugh Robert Mill Award for Precipitation Research for his Rainfall Rescue project. The project, launched in March 2020, led to national rainfall data from as far back as 1836 becoming available after Hawkins and 16,000 volunteers helped to restore 66,000 pages of weather observations containing 5.2 million numbers. The venture was completed in 2022 and the results have provided more context around recent changes in rainfall due to human-caused climate change.
“Recent experiences with droughts and floods across the UK have highlighted the need to learn more about past variations in rainfall to put these events into a longer-term context,” Hawkins noted. “The resulting data are now incorporated into the official UK rainfall statistics and have dramatically improved our estimates of rainfall patterns back to the early 1800s.”
Professor Bryan Lawrence was presented The Award for Innovation in Development of Computational Models, Tools or Visualization. His award recognizes his work in making national and international contributions to the design, development, implementation and governance of computational and data services for environmental science. He played a key role in the instigation and subsequent evolution of the JASMIN data analysis facility, which was set up to support the analysis of large, archived data sets.
Lawrence commented, “Much of the motivation for JASMIN arose from the NERC DataGrid e-Science project, two learnings of which were that ‘my colleagues had big aspirations but were hamstrung by technology’ and ‘sometimes distributed is not the right answer’. So this is an award for believing in my colleagues and (for once) being able to follow through a pathway to impact by operationalizing some research outcomes.”