Professor Tim Palmer
My DPhil was in general relativity theory from Oxford in the mid 1970s, after which I moved into the field of weather and climate dynamics and prediction, first at the UK Meteorological Office and then at the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts. I have been a visiting scientist at the University of Washington and more recently was the Rothschild Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Cambridge.
My research spans a wide variety of areas, from the theoretical to the practical, in issues related to the predictability and dynamics of weather and climate. On the theoretical side, I am especially interested in aspects of the climate system which exhibit nonlinear behaviour, for example where atmospheric processes on different space and time scales interact. This has led me to try to recast the basic equations for climate prediction as stochastic rather than deterministic. On the practical side, I have worked on the application of weather and climate forecasts for malaria prediction, flood forecasting, and crop yield estimation.
I have been a lead author of the IPCC third assessment report, have coordinated two European Union climate projects, and was co-chair of the international scientific steering group of a World Climate Research Programme project on climate variability and predictability. I was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2003, and served on the Royal Society Council in 2008-9. I am currently President of the Royal Meteorological Society, and am serving on a Government Office of Science Expert Panel looking at how science can help mitigate the humanitarian impact of natural disasters. I serve on the Met Office's Scientific Advisory Committee and am a consultant for the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts. I have won prizes from a number of learned societies and academies, in the UK and overseas. Amongst recent public lectures, I gave the Bjerknes Lecture at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting: Towards the Probabilistic Earth-System Model.
I retain a keen and active interest in my DPhil topic, particularly in relation to the interface between quantum theory, gravitation theory, and nonlinear dynamical systems theory. My hobbies include playing lead guitar and singing in a rock and roll band, golf, and riding my mountain bike over the beautiful West Berkshire Downs, where I live. Married to Gill, with three sons.