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Meteorological Masterclass video presentation now available

Synoptic storms in the North Atlantic

17 September 2020

Many thanks to everyone who joined us yesterday (16 September) for our first ever presentation in the Meteorological Masterclass Series - Winter Storms in European Weather and Climate. This series is a partnership between the Royal Meteorological Society and the University of Reading to provide additional training and continuing professional development for professionals who work in Meteorology and Climate Science.

The guest speaker was Helen Dacre: University of Reading Professor Lecturer in Dynamical Meteorology. Helen’s presentation was on ‘Synoptic storms in the North Atlantic’, where she gave a review of synoptic extratropical cyclone research, starting from the 1920s when careful analysis of multiple surface observations allowed Norwegian scientists to deduce the existence of cold and warm fronts and to characterise a complete cyclone lifecycle. Since then, new observing systems and advances in computers have enabled the scientific research to expand and enrich our knowledge of extratropical cyclone structure and evolution.

In the second half of this masterclass Helen looked at the active areas of extratropical cyclone research, including analysis of sting jets, cyclone clustering and atmospheric rivers. She discussed the remaining gaps in our knowledge, particularly regarding synoptic and mesoscale features associated with moist processes and their influence on predictability.

For anyone who was not able to join us, or who may want to watch back, you can now view Helen’s presentation on our YouTube channel below. We have had lots of great feedback already and we will be accepting questions about the presentation via comms@rmets.org until Thursday 24 September.

The video lasts approx. 1 hour 20 minutes.

There is still time to register for the next masterclasses in the series:


Wednesday 30 September: The impact of climate change on winter storms

Len Shaffrey: University of Reading / NCAS Professor of Climate Science


Wednesday 14 October: Subseasonal predictions for European winter

Robert Lee: University of Reading / NCAS Research Scientist


These webinars are free of charge and will be held from 3pm to 4.30pm with a masterclass presentation followed by the opportunity for questions and discussion with the speaker.

Further events, in-person and online, are anticipated for 2021 when current restrictions may be lifted.

To view the speaker biographies and abstracts and register for any of the webinars, please visit the events page here.


“Excellent seminar from Prof Helen Dacre today on synoptic storms, especially how the underpinning science translates into useful conceptual models. Great stuff and thoroughly recommend registering for the rest of this series.” Dr Mark McCarthy, head of the Met Office’s National Climate Information Centre