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Book Now: Heatwaves and climate change in urban microclimates

Meteorological Masterclass

11 March 2021

The final Meteorological Masterclass in the series ‘Anticipating floods, droughts and heatwaves’, with the University of Reading, takes place on Wednesday 24 March (3-4.30pm) with a session on ‘Heatwaves and climate change in urban microclimates’.

Rapid urbanisation combined with more frequent and more extreme climatic conditions, make cities the places where most people are exposed to high impact weather (e.g. typhoons, heat stress, poor air quality events). Moreover, increasingly dense, complex and interdependent urban systems make cities particularly vulnerable: a single extreme event can lead to a widespread breakdown of a city's infrastructure through inter-linked ‘domino’ effects.

The focus of this talk is on heatwaves and how urban areas can exacerbate their impact because of the well-known canopy layer urban heat island effects, and why cities and their residents are particularly vulnerable. Impacts of heatwaves have been very significant if people are not appropriately prepared (e.g. the 2003 European heat wave). The attention of this session will be directed to the important impact of scale and an understanding of the dynamics of urban climate, challenges in predictions and advance warning, and strategies and interventions for heat stress mitigation.

Leading this session is Sue Grimmond. Sue is the Met Office Joint Chair and Professor of Urban Meteorology at University of Reading. Previously she held the Chair of Physical Geography and Professor at King’s College London, after being Assistant, Associate and Full Professor at Indiana University, Bloomington USA.

She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Otago, New Zealand, and graduate degrees at The University of British Columbia. She is a past President of the International Association of Urban Climate (IAUC) and past Lead Expert for the WMO on Urban and Building Climatology. Sue is also on the editorial board of Urban Climate.

She has been awarded a Doctor of Science Honoris Causa (Göteborg University), Fellow of the American Meteorological Society (AMS), Isaac Manasseh Meyer Fellowship (NUS), Universitatis Lodziensis Amico Medal (University of Łódź), Helmut E Landsberg Award (AMS),  Luke Howard Award (IAUC); Ernest Frolich Fellowship (CSIRO), Japan Society for Promotion of Science Invitation Fellowship (University of Tokyo), and Eminent Professor Visit Award (Monash University).

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These masterclasses are intended to provide additional training for professionals working in Meteorology and Climate Science, and its operational application.

Each masterclass consists of a presentation followed by the opportunity for questions and discussion with the speaker.

Video recordings will be made available to people who have registered and paid to attend within a few days of the event. There will also be an option to ask the speakers questions via email for one week after the video goes live.


You can also follow discussion on the events using the hashtag #MetMasterclass


The classes gave a very useful overview of the latest developments in the fields of extra tropical storms and monthly / seasonal prediction, presented by experts.

Martin Young. Deputy Chief Forecaster, Met Office.


The Masterclass Series is well organised with a good balance of theory and practice, and with good visual presentations that are clear and concise.

Meteorologist, Pelmorex, Canada


I would highly recommend for anyone with an interest in the latest thinking and for those wanting continual professional development.

Adam Thornhill FRMetS CMet, Key Account Manager, Defence, Met Office


The mix of academic research into a topic with the professional frontline application of this work was fascinating.

Climate Scientist, Met Office


What a refreshment!

Min Zhu, Technical Specialist, RES


The session I attended was useful in my continuing professional development and was directly related to the knowledge we need at work.

Jim Galvin Forecaster, Jersey Met


Useful e-learning with a comprehensive analysis and good knowledge for continuous information upgrades

Mário Marques, iClimate Advisor, CTO, Porto


A must for keeping up to date.

Luis Cana, Senior Lecturer, Las Palmas, Gran Canaria



Image: Hail shower over Jodrell Bank - Mark Boardman