Awards for Advancing Science 2023

Professor Brian Golding has played a leading role in weather forecasting science at the Met Office for over 50 years and has been particularly influential in translating the latest scientific advances into operational forecasting capabilities for the benefit of society.  

In the 1970’s both his PhD on the Lagrangian analysis of baroclinic instability in moist and dry atmospheres, and separate research developing new techniques for modelling of ocean waves, contributed directly to the Met Office’s operational forecasting models.   

A key part of Brian’s vision, well ahead of his time, was that numerical modelling could go beyond synoptic-scale circulation to simulate finer-scale details of weather, opening the possibilities for automated weather forecasts. In the 1980s Brian led the team developing the Met Office’s non-hydrostatic mesoscale model, his personal contribution being a novel 2-phase cloud microphysics scheme and a convection super-parametrization. The model was implemented in 1986 with a 15km grid as the world’s first operational mesoscale NWP model. He subsequently led the automation of radar-based nowcasting, blending extrapolation rainfall nowcasts with mesoscale NWP in the Nimrod system. These nowcasts formed the basis for the first interactive mobile phone service implemented by the Met Office in 1999, offering a 1-3 hour forecast for a defined postcode. Sadly, this visionary service was ahead of its time and it was several more years before mobile forecasts became popular. 

Brian built on the success of Nimrod to develop strong relationships with flood hydrologists, forming a joint research group with the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology and leading to life-long collaborations on the interface between meteorology and hydrology. Throughout his career he has promoted extensive research in weather-related impacts from floods to health through his visiting professorships at universities of Bristol and Exeter, and numerous expert panels. 

Following the 2004 Boscastle flood, Brian’s post-event analysis provided justification for the first implementation of a km-scale NWP model, initially with a 4km grid, a major step towards forecasting of localised weather. During his tenure as Director of Forecasting R&D from 2005 to 2012 he set the direction of NWP research towards an hourly lagged km-scale ensemble, first demonstrated for the 2012 Olympic Games and today set to form the core system of UK weather forecasting. Brian was awarded an OBE in 2012 for his contribution to severe weather forecasting. 

Since stepping down from directing Met Office weather research, Brian has developed and co-led the World Meteorological Organization’s High Impact Weather project, in which physical and social sciences were equally represented to address gaps in the warning chain. Brian has drawn together results in the book Towards the Perfect Weather Warning and contributes to an advisory group on the UN Secretary General’s call for Early warnings for all

Over his career, Brian’s vision and leadership have contributed to today’s advanced, automated weather forecast systems, putting accurate local forecasts into every smartphone. He has built numerous collaborations coupling meteorology with other disciplines, culminating in the value chain work providing guidance on the optimal severe weather warnings for the world.

Professor Brian Golding

"It is a tremendous honour and a pleasure for me to accept this award of The Mason Gold Medal. In a long career I have been blessed with opportunities to contribute to many branches of meteorology, but I am overawed by the ground-breaking discoveries of those who have previously received this medal.

I am particularly delighted to receive this award, given by Sir John Mason, who was the inspiring leader of my early days in the Met Office. It has been said that useful weather prediction is one of the greatest scientific successes of the past century and I count it a great privilege to have been a small part of that tremendous global effort.

The challenge remains, however, for those entering our field today, requiring partnerships among a broader range of disciplines and organisations in the physical sciences, social sciences, arts and humanities, and between government services, academia, business and civil society, if people everywhere are to be adequately protected from the impacts of increasingly hazardous weather in our changing climate."


Professor Andrew Turner has demonstrated sustained, original, and important advances in scientific understanding of tropical weather and climate change. His unique expertise, creativity and leadership have provided invaluable new knowledge about monsoon rains and their variability, which determine the livelihoods of billions of people across the planet. Through the careful accumulation of knowledge and insight, along with the building and fostering of international partnerships, Professor Turner has substantially advanced understanding of the detailed processes necessary for improving prediction and preparedness for monsoon rainfall fluctuations and their changes related to a warming climate.

As a substantial contribution to monsoon science, Andy led the INCOMPASS project which involved designing, implementing, and disseminating results from a complex and novel field campaign. Through novel use of field observations, satellite data and physical modelling, this has culminated in, and is continuing to generate, notable advances in understanding of Indian monsoon dynamics as well as strengthening the Indo-UK scientific community. The new knowledge generated has been published in a special collection in the RMetS Quarterly Journal, leading to a potential new paradigm for the monsoon onset, insights into the connections with extratropical weather systems, and the key role of the land surface in modifying the monsoon progression.   

Professor Turner has further led multiple additional projects with a focus on monsoons and many of the results have been published across the Society’s journals and receiving numerous citations. These have encompassed detailed modelling, physical insight and comprehensive observational field campaigns and have fostered vital national and international research communities and partnerships. Andy has also played a leading role in the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 6th Assessment Report, continues to be an active member and recent co-chair of the GEWEX/CLIVAR international Monsoons Panel and acts as Associate Editor for the RMetS Quarterly Journal. His commitment to the wider national and international research community, his knowledge, insight and careful research and supervision have led to substantial scientific advances published across the Society’s journals and elsewhere. Overall, Professor Andy Turner is an outstanding scientist who has contributed original and important advances of great relevance to the billions of people across the planet who are influenced by seasonal monsoon rainfall. He is exceptionally deserving of recognition through The Buchan Award for Scientific Advances.  

Professor Andy Turner

"I am greatly honoured to have been awarded the Buchan Award for Scientific Advances for 2023.  It is a real pleasure and great motivator to be recognized by the Royal Meteorological Society in this way.  A major part of the body of work for which this Award is granted arises from the INCOMPASS field campaign, published in a Special Collection in the Quarterly Journal. The INCOMPASS field campaign took place in 2016 in India, based around the NCAS FAAM Atmospheric Research Aircraft, and was truly a joint effort between India and the UK, in universities, the Met Office and research organisations. 

I am indebted to the scientists, technicians, students, engineers and all who helped make that campaign a success, and I continue to be inspired both by the scientific discussions and ideas seeded from that work, and our collective perseverance that made it happen. There is still so much work to do in understanding and predicting monsoon behaviour, and I know that this award inspires me to keep going."


Dr Nick Dunstone has made major advances in predicting precipitation on seasonal to interannual timescales. His recent work shows that windows of opportunity exist for providing confident early warnings of some seasonal extreme rainfall events despite low skill on average. For example, the unusually strong summer 2022 La Niña contributed to unprecedented signals in seasonal forecasts for the Pakistan rainfall which caused devastating flooding. However, standard seasonal forecast metrics focus on changes in tercile probabilities which are not well suited to identifying the most extreme climate events. In this thought-provoking study Nick argues for more careful routine examination of real-time forecasts to identify extreme signals, and to critically examine the dynamical drivers to further build forecast confidence. To help achieve this Nick has designed an interactive tool that is currently under evaluation and, if successful, could lead to a step change in our ability to issue early warnings of impending extremes. 

Prior to this, Nick explored the skill in predicting UK and Northern European summer rainfall which have so far proved very challenging for seasonal forecasting systems. Nick showed that skilful predictions of summer Northern European rainfall are possible but that very large ensembles are needed to isolate predictable signals that are too weak in current generation of climate models. Nick followed up this work with a case study of the exceptionally dry summer of 2018 which had severe impacts on UK agriculture. Using perturbation experiments he showed that the strong tripole pattern of North Atlantic sea surface temperature anomalies drove a poleward shift of the North Atlantic jet allowing high pressure to dominate over the UK resulting in the extremely dry summer. More recently Nick has discovered an unexpected downward influence from the lower stratosphere onto the summer North Atlantic Oscillation, the leading mode of atmospheric summer variability over the North Atlantic sector that is a particularly strong driver of UK summer rainfall. These three key studies have significantly advanced our understanding of the drivers and predictability of summer European rainfall. 

Nick has also performed ground-breaking studies on understanding predictability on the “interannual” timescale at lead times beyond the first 6 months considered in seasonal predictions. Nick was the first to demonstrate skilful predictions of the winter North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) one year ahead. The winter NAO is a key driver of Northern European rainfall variability, and Nick’s work highlighted the potential for very early warnings to be made. In another study Nick showed that interannual variations of regional monsoon rainfall during extended summer and winter periods can be skilfully predicted on interannual timescales. Forecasts are especially skilful during active phases of the El Niño Southern Oscillation which represent valuable windows of opportunity for very early warnings of monsoon rainfall variability affecting millions of people. 

Nick has made multiple significant contributions to improving our understanding of, and ability to predict, the variation of precipitation in time. These advances have enormous societal importance making him a very worthy recipient of The Hugh Robert Mill Award For Precipitation Research. 

Dr Nick Dunstone

“I am honoured to receive the RMetS Hugh Robert Mill award for Precipitation Research. My work at the Met Office focuses on developing near-term climate predictions, from a season to a decade ahead, which is challenging but fascinating research.

The UK is a particularly tricky region to forecast as the quantity and character of our precipitation very much depends on which way the wind blows; we can be influenced either by the moist and mild North Atlantic air, or by the drier and potentially hotter (summer) or colder (winter) continental air. Our group is therefore constantly striving to understand the complex dynamical influences on our climate, using our latest global climate model simulations to probe new mechanisms that could drive skilful rainfall predictions. This is further complicated by our rapidly warming climate which is driving changes in UK rainfall patterns, with a tendency towards wetter winters and drier summers, but with large year-to-year variability.

My current research aims to use our physical understanding to identify windows of opportunity for early warnings of extreme regional rainfall seasons across the globe. Understanding the drivers of regional rainfall variability, and how these are changing, is a truly global research problem, particularly as many geographically distant regions are impacted by common climate drivers. I have enjoyed working with international scientists to better our understanding of these. I would like to thank everyone I have worked with so far, especially my group and Doug Smith and Adam Scaife for their inspirational support over many years.”

Dr Indrani Roy is a Climate Scientist whose contributions have significantly advanced our understanding of environmental phenomena with a particular focus on monsoons and the solar cycle. With a PhD from Imperial College, London in 2010, she has worked in research institutions such as Imperial College and the University of Exeter, as well as the India Meteorological Department. 

As a Fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society (FRMetS) and a Trustee, Dr Roy has demonstrated her commitment to excellence in her field. She has also served as a panel member of the Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC), UK, contributing to critical decision-making processes. 

Dr Roy's expertise is widely recognised, with her serving as a reviewer for over 30 international journals and various grant funding bodies including the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the US, the Royal Society, NERC, and NASA. Her rigorous evaluations ensure the integrity of scientific discourse and support innovative research initiatives. 

Her publication record includes 43 first or single-authored peer-reviewed publications, addressing multidisciplinary issues relevant to contemporary science and society. 

She published the following first-authored paper in a Royal Meteorological Society's International Journal of Climatology: Roy I., Tedeschi, R. G. and Collins, M., 2019, 'ENSO teleconnections to the Indian Summer Monsoon under changing climate' International Journal of Climatology, doi:10.1002/joc.5999. 

Impact Factor: 4.06, Citations: 42. 

In this paper, the teleconnection between the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and Indian summer monsoon rainfall is analysed in CMIP5 simulations in both historical and future scenario. Dr Roy did extensive analyses of Indian Summer Monsoon and one of the most novel findings of her research on Indian Summer Monsoon is that in spite of differences between models and observations, anomalies in precipitation for the Central North Eastern region of India for different flavours of ENSO, either Modoki, Canonical or Canonical Modoki, are captured well in most models that even match with observations. Anomalies are very significant and reverse during the El Niño phase to that from La Niña. 

Dr Indrani Roy

Dr Indrani Roy's impactful research and dedication to advancing knowledge in climate science merit recognition and commendation. 

"I feel very honoured to receive the prestigious LF Richardson Award 2023 from the Royal Meteorological Society. It is indeed a great recognition of my passion and dedication to climate science research. 

My heartiest thanks to my two co-authors without whose strong contributions this paper would not have been possible. I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincerest gratitude to scientists who believed in me and gave exposure to work under their wise supervision. That trust strengthened me to uphold my research dignity, values, integrity, ethics and morals.

This award will be a great motivation for me to carry out more high-quality research through which the livelihoods of millions of people worldwide can be impacted and uplifted, which is one of my major goals for a scientific career. 

Finally, I would like to thank the Royal Meteorological Society who play an important role in the career of many climate scientists and I deeply acknowledge that."

Dan Skinner’s published PhD work (Skinner et al., 2022, 2023) has brought new theoretical and practical insights into the extratropical response to the MJO, which is the main source of predictability for global medium-range weather forecasts (lead times beyond about 10 days). Forecast skill in these medium-range forecasts is vital for many business sectors, including agriculture, power generation and water management. Dan has shown that the extratropical response to the Madden-Julian Oscillation, MJO, (in wind direction and strength, temperature and rainfall) varies according to the longer-term background flow that is prevalent at that particular time. In particular, he has shown that two modes of long-term climate variability (Atlantic Multidecadal Variability, AMV, and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, PDO) significantly modulate the extratropical response to the MJO, to the extent that forecasters should take into account the state of these modes of long-term climate variability, when making medium-range forecasts based on the behaviour of the MJO. Dan showed that this change in behaviour of the extratropical response to the MJO is due mainly to changes in the jet strengths and positions between opposite phases of AMV and the PDO, and the impact that has on Rossby wave propagation paths from the tropical heart of the MJO over the warm pool, over the North Pacific and into the Atlantic sector. 

From the start of his career, Dan has held communication of his science of equal importance to the science itself. After winning a poster prize at the 2022 RMetS Early Career and Student Conference, Dan was awarded a RMetS Science Engagement Fellowship working in the Science Engagement team. His role was to assess and build on the Society's engagement strategy for early career scientists, and to organise the creation and development of the Youth and Early Career Special Interest Group (see spotlight article in the RMetS Weather journal on this). He also assisted in the creation and development of the Energy and Insurance Special Interest Groups, and helped to run, and contributed to the meeting report (published in Weather) for the RMetS Climate Change Forum 2022. Dan then co-organised the 2023 RMetS Early Career and Student Conference. Following on from this, Dan joined the Editorial Board of Weather as the Early Career Conference Special Issue Editor, where he was tasked with managing the invitation, review process and issue organisation for the annual Early Career and Student Conference Special Issue, for which prize winners from the previous year's conference are invited to submit a research article.

Daniel Skinner

"It is a huge privilege to be awarded the 2023 Malcolm Walker Award, and I am extremely grateful to RMetS for the honour. To stand in such esteemed company alongside previous recipients of this award is very humbling, as many of them have inspired me to become the researcher I am today.

I am very lucky to have received such a wealth of support at this early stage in my career, and could write volumes thanking the innumerable scientists, mentors, friends, and colleagues who have contributed to the journey so far. 

It is because of my PhD supervisors, Profs Adrian Matthews and David Stevens, that I have not only been able to grow as a scientist, but also find such joy in this amazing subject. I cannot thank them enough for their patience, wisdom, and kindness over last few years, and I look forward to seeing what more we can discover in the future.

I would also like to thank everyone at RMetS that I have had the pleasure of working with in recent years, whether in the Youth and Early Career SIG, at the Early Career and Student Conference, or at Weather. The importance of sharing our science and creating a vibrant weather and climate community cannot be understated, and I am very grateful to be a part of it."