Prof Brian Golding OBE

brian golding

Current activities
Following his recent partial retirement, Brian is involved in several strands of research into forecasting the impacts of the weather. He is currently assessing the performance of products from the Met Office’s new very high resolution (2.2km grid length) ensemble prediction system, MOGREPS-UK, during its trials last summer. Unusually for such a trial, there was no shortage of days when “high impact” weather occurred with a wide variety of predictability observed during the three month period.
Brian also contributes to the Hazard Impact Model project of the Natural Hazard Partnership, a collaboration among the Met Office, the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, the British Geological Survey, the National Centre for Atmospheric Science, the Health and Safety Laboratory, the Ordnance Survey and the Environment Agency to develop a suite of models that will provide forecasts of the social and economic impacts of the main natural hazards to which people in the UK are exposed, including floods, high winds, landslides and snow.
He is also collaborating with leading scientists in the University of Exeter, the European Centre for Environment & Human Health at Truro, the Health Protection Agency and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine to develop a research platform for bringing together major climate and health databases to explore the connections between the weather and human health.

Career background
Brian’s interest in the weather started when he undertook a school project to record the weather for a month, when he was fourteen years old. Following a degree in mathematics at Leeds University, where he chose final year modules in fluid mechanics and numerical methods, he joined the Met Office in 1972, where he has been involved in Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) for most of his career. In the late 1970s, following research projects in aviation forecasting and data assimilation, he investigated the kinematic and dynamic structure of model simulated depressions, work which gained him a PhD at the University of Reading. During the same period, he developed the Met Office's ocean wave prediction system and was involved in early work on the wave power climatology of the UK. In the 1980s, after a short spell in operational forecasting, he led the team that developed the world's first operational non-hydrostatic mesoscale NWP system. In 1990 he was seconded to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology for two years, when he used the non-hydrostatic model to study a wide variety of Australian weather systems. In the 1990s, he led the development of the automated Nimrod nowcasting system and became involved in a variety of consultancy contracts in the UK and overseas. More recently, he has contributed to the application of rainfall nowcasts and convective-scale NWP in flood prediction and participated in the Pitt review of the 2007 summer floods in the UK. His last full-time role in the Met Office was as Deputy Director of Weather Science, a role that saw him representing the science of volcanic ash dispersion to television audiences during the Ejyafjallajokull eruption in 2010 and, more recently, showcasing the Met Office’s latest developments in forecasting the weather and its impacts for the London Olympic and Paralympic Games.

External recognition

  • Brian is a member of the Joint Steering Committee of the World Weather Research Programme of WMO.
  • Brian was a member of the EUMETSAT Applications Expert Group that specified the User Requirement for the Meteosat Third Generation satellites.
  • For many years, Brian was the UK representative to the European COST (Co-operation in Science & Technology) Meteorology committee, and served as vice chair in its final year.
  • Brian is a visiting Professor and member of the Strategic Advisory Board in the College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences at Exeter University.
  • Brian is a visiting Professor in hydro-meteorology in the Department of Civil Engineering at Bristol University, where he also serves on the Strategic Advisory Board of the Cabot Institute.
  • Brian serves on the Programme Executive Board for the NERC Changing Water Cycle and Storm Risk Mitigation programmes. He is also a member of the Incident Management and Community Engagement theme advisory group in the defra/EA Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management programme.
  • Brian was awarded the OBE in the 2013 New Year Honours list, for services to weather forecasting and the prediction of hazardous weather.