About Me

I am a Postdoctoral Research Scientist in the Department of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics (APAM) at Columbia University in the City of New York, working with Lorenzo Polvani. I study large-scale climate dynamics and variability, stratosphere-troposphere coupling, subseasonal-to-seasonal predictability and its applications. I am also Co-Editor-in-Chief of the RMetS Weather journal.

I have been interested in the atmosphere from a young age. I was inspired by, and learnt a lot from, the 2002 BBC TV series Wild Weather (presented by Donal MacIntyre). A key moment in my developing interest occurred in August 2004, when heavy rainfall due to the remnants of Hurricane Alex affected the UK. I was fascinated by how a tropical cyclone could influence the weather in somewhere seemingly so far removed from the tropics, and thus began an interest in large-scale weather phenomena.

In October 2021, I completed a PhD in the Department of Meteorology at the University of Reading, UK. My PhD, “Stratosphere-Troposphere Coupling on Subseasonal Timescales”, was supervised by Andrew Charlton-Perez and Steve Woolnough at the University of Reading, and Jason Furtado at the University of Oklahoma. The project developed an understanding of the influence of the Scandinavia-Greenland pattern on the stratospheric polar vortex and its representation within current S2S forecast models, and characterised the influence of the stratospheric state on North American weather regimes. The results of the work can be found in four published papers: “Abrupt stratospheric vortex weakening associated with North Atlantic anticyclonic wave breaking”, “Representation of the Scandinavia-Greenland pattern and its relationship with the polar vortex in S2S forecast models”, “Wintertime North American weather regimes and the Arctic stratospheric polar vortex”, and “How do stratospheric perturbations influence North American weather regime predictions?” (the last awaiting publication in J. Climate).

Prior to my PhD, I gained a first-class Master’s degree in Meteorology and Climate (MMet) from Reading, during which I spent a year at the University of Oklahoma. My MMet dissertation research was supervised by Paul Williams and Tom Frame. Some of this work was published in a Nature paper, where we show that there has been a significant increase in vertical wind shear at aircraft cruising altitudes over the North Atlantic, with consequences for clear-air turbulence.

In July 2018, I went viral on Twitter by comparing the UK heatwaves of 2018 and 1976, which showed how the event in 2018 was less unusual with respect to the global background climate.

I am originally from North Yorkshire, and have a fondness for outdoor activities including running, hiking, and road cycling. I also enjoy storm chasing in the US Great Plains, and have seen many tornadoes. My photo of a tornado near Forgan, OK on 17 May 2019 features in the frontispiece of the second edition of Introducing Meteorology: A Guide to Weather by Jon Shonk.