Bryan Lawrence : bio

Bryan Lawrence

... personal wiki, blog and notes


Image: static/2010/04/15/bnl.jpg

The Reader's Digest Read

(A version of what I put in my track record for grants): Prof. Bryan Lawrence holds a chair in Weather and Climate Computing at the University of Reading, and is the Director of NCAS Models and Data. He has 25 years of experience in both atmospheric sciences and computational sciences, having been principle investigator or co-investigator on many projects. He is intimately involved in establishing the UK and European strategies for climate modelling. As well as particular interest in large scale dynamics, gravity waves and other sub-scale physics parameterisations, he has been leading work documenting and improving climate simulation workflows, as well as more generic metadata problems. He also holds a part-time position at STFC, where he is the Director of the Centre for Environmental Data Analysis, CEDA. CEDA delivers data and compute services for the UK environmental science community, and with the STFC Scientific Computing Department, hosts the JASMIN super-data-computer.

The Longer version

I left Colenso High School (Napier, New Zealand) at the end of 1981 and went to the University of Canterbury in 1982 with the intention of doing Astrophysics. During my undergraduate degree in physics I got interested in earth sciences and decided to become an atmospheric scientist. I graduated with a B.Sc (1st Class Hons) in 1986.

My Doctoral studies were also at the University of Canterbury (1986-1990) where my thesis "The Southern Hemisphere Middle Atmosphere: Climatology and Waves" was a synthesis of radar data and satellite data. I chose this topic because I knew it would involve some trips to Antarctica. During most this time I was funded by a University Grants Committee Scholarship and part-time teaching at both the University and Christchurch Polytechnic. In the latter part of my doctorate I worked as a part-time Wide-Area Network manager for the University and was one of the driving forces behind bringing the internet to the South Island of New Zealand.

In October 1990 I took up a Post-Doctoral Research Associate position in the Physics Department at Oxford University in the U.K. where I worked on satellite data analysis and numerical modelling.

In April 1994 I took up an Atlas Research Fellowship at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) near Oxford, a position which involved teaching at Lady Margeret Hall (Oxford University) and research at both RAL and Oxford University. At this time I joined the U.K. Universities Global Atmospheric Modelling Programme as one of the Principal Investigators. During this period my main interests became focussed on the impact of gravity waves on climate.

In August 1996 I returned to New Zealand to a permanent Lectureship in the Department of Physics and Astronomy (link, the very same one I did my degrees in). I designed and taught a new digital electronics course, lectured in geophysical fluid dynamics and radar remote sensing, and supervised a number of graduate students for their doctoral and masters theses. I served on many committees, and was responsible for the pastoral care of third- year undergraduates.I was promoted to Senior Lecturer in January 1998.

In April 2000 I returned to the U.K. to Head the British Atmospheric Data Centre (BADC, based at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory). In response to questions as to why I left New Zealand (again), I can only say that the New Zealand University system was being put under such financial strain by the then government that the life of a lecturer who wanted to be both an excellent teacher, and to retain an international reputation, was unreasonably hard (at least in my discipline). ... so I came back to the UK for a slower pace of life.

When I began with the BADC in 2000 my main role was to provide intellectual and management leadership for the BADC. In 2006, with a behind-the-science merger of the NERC Earth Observation Data Centre (NEODC), I became the director of the Centre for Environmental Data Archival (CEDA). Around the same time CEDA also acquired responsibility for leading IPCC data activities on behalf of TGICA. CEDA now provides a range of other services, including interfaces to the UK Climate Impacts Projections, and a range of environmental data consultancies.

At the beginning of September 2011 I took up a chair in weather and climate computing at the University of Reading - but retained the directorship of the Centre of Environmental Data Archival (and a 20% position at STFC).

I have served, and continue to serve, on many national committees (standing and ad hoc), mainly for the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), but also for the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and other organisations. I was on the team that led the procurement specification for the ARCHER supercomputer. I am on the board of the European Network for Earth Simulation (ENES).

My STFC research group specialises in atmospheric physics and the application of computer science techniques for both atmospheric physics and data management. In terms of data management, our research interests include improving our use of metadata, exploiting OGC services, and promulgating the use of citation to provide credit for scientific data production.

At the University of Reading, our computational and model services group provides high peformance computing support for the UK weather and climate community. We are also interested in next generation (exascale) computing, and a range of research problems associated with weather and climate computing.

My scientific interests (when I get time for science) range from the implementation of orographic cloud parameterisations in climate models, through to investigating the general techniques and methods of large scale earth system modelling.

This page last modified Thursday 18 June, 2015
DISCLAIMER: This is a personal blog. Nothing written here reflects an official opinion of my employer or any funding agency.