At its 74th session on 7-8 December 2010, the ECMWF Council unanimously appointed Professor Alan Thorpe as the next Director-General of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF). He will start from 1 July 2011 and he will succeed Mr Dominique Marbouty, ECMWF Director-General since 2004.
Since 2005, Professor Alan Thorpe has been the Chief Executive of the UK's Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), which is the largest funder of environmental science research in the UK universities and institutes. NERC employs around 2700 people and operates research aircraft, ships and facilities like supercomputing and Antarctic bases. Prior to that Alan had a period as Director of the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research and a long career as an academic at the University of Reading. His research has been on the dynamics and predictability of organised convective storms and extra tropical weather systems and latterly on climate; he has published over 110 papers in atmospheric science. He has played major roles in international programmes such as FASTEX and THORPEX.
Professor Thorpe said: "I am really excited to be joining ECMWF in July 2011. It has a pre-eminent position as a world-leading centre for numerical weather prediction. I look forward to leading ECMWF as it develops even more skilful forecasts in the medium-range, including hazardous weather events, and beyond. To be the Director-General will be a challenge and a privilege."