It could be argued that over the last 20 years climate science has become synonymous with global warming, but there is so much more to climate science than just climate change. At its roots it is about understanding how the various components of the climate system – the atmosphere, oceans, land surface and ice – work together to give us the regional climates we experience around the world. This lecture will present a personal perspective of how climate science has evolved from meteorology and oceanography, through the application of theory, observations and modeling, to deliver the understanding we now have of how our climate system works and why climate change is arguably one of the greatest challenges facing us in the 21st century.
Julia Slingo became Met Office Chief Scientist in February 2009 where she leads a team of over 500 scientists working on a very broad portfolio of research that underpins weather forecasting, climate prediction and climate change projections. Since joining the Met Office Julia has sought to integrate the UK community in weather and climate research to ensure that the UK receives maximum benefit from its science investments. She has strengthened the NERC /Met Office Joint Weather and Climate Research Programme to secure the UK’s national capability in observations, modelling and supercomputing, and set in place a unique Academic Partnership with leading universities including Exeter University to advance cutting edge research and bring more of their science through to impact. Before joining the Met Office Julia was the Director of Climate Research in NERC ’s National Centre for Atmospheric Science, at the University of Reading. In 2006 she founded the Walker Institute for Climate System Research at Reading, aimed at addressing the cross disciplinary challenges of climate change and its impacts. Julia has had a long-term career in atmospheric physics and climate science, working at the Met Office, the European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecasts, and the National Center for Atmospheric Research in the USA . Throughout her career she has brought innovative approaches to understanding and modelling weather and climate. She has developed and used complex weather and climate models to deliver new insights into how the atmosphere and climate system works, as well as significant advances in predictive skill. Her special interests are in tropical weather and climate variability, understanding their influence on the global climate system and their role in monthly to decadal climate prediction.