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Cloud electrification and lightning in the evolution of convective storms

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  • Full or part time
    Dr T Stein
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

Project Description

Hail and lightning are severe-weather phenomena that can occur throughout the year in the UK. For several years now, the UK Met Office have run their 1.5-km operational forecast model (UKV) with prognostic graupel alongside cloud ice and liquid and rain. The additional information of ice hydrometeor characteristics in clouds and storms allows for improved predictability of lightning. A
lightning parameterization has been developed for the UKV and shows promising results, but the stochastic nature of lightning
makes forecast verification challenging. In this project, the student will develop new quantitative methods for lightning and hail forecast verification, using a range of observations including detection networks for lightning and electrostatic field changes and detailed radar measurements of turbulence and hail in convective storms. The student will investigate storm dynamics and microphysics before and after electrification and the representation of these processes in high-resolution simulations with the Met Office model.

This project will involve simulations with the Met Office model and the option of operating the Chilbolton Advanced Meteorological Radar (CAMRa) to track thunderstorms.

The project is supervised by Thorwald Stein (University of Reading), and co-supervised by Giles Harrison (University of Reading), Jonathan Wilkinson (Met Office), and Kirsty Hanley (Met Office).

The full project description is available at:

A video is also available at

Funding Notes

Funding would be via the NERC SCENARIO Doctoral Training Partnership

To apply for this PhD project please visit

This project would be suitable for students with a background in the mathematical or physical sciences. The student will be required to work across the meteorological disciplines of numerical weather prediction, atmospheric physics, and radar meteorology; good understanding of at least one of these is desirable.

How good is research at University of Reading in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 75.68

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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