Professor Dame Julia Slingo has made groundbreaking contributions to weather and climate science over a career spanning more than 30 years.
Born in Warwickshire, UK, Julia was strongly mathematical in her school years and recalls developing her interest in weather during her A’Levels. She chose to complete her undergraduate degree in physics at the University of Bristol, and afterwards progressed up to the position of senior scientist at the UK Meteorological Office. Julia later moved to the U.S. to work in the National Centre for Atmospheric Research, completing her PhD at the same time on the topic of atmospheric physics.
Upon her return to the UK, Julia established a new research group at Reading University specializing in tropical climates and the development of new generations of climate models. She has successfully promoted the use of higher resolution representations in climate modelling, working with some of the world’s largest supercomputers, including Japan’s Earth Simulator. Her work in this area has revolutionized our ability to model the global climate pattern and the role of the tropics in decadal climate prediction, and Julia has established herself as one of the world’s leading experts on the topic. She holds a particular interest in monsoons, working closely with scientists in India and China on the topic, and also the impact of changes in water resources on the production of crops.
Julia became Chief Scientist of the Met Office in 2009, where she is responsible for providing scientific strategy, representing the Office on science and technology issues in government, and driving a programme of climate research that helps to protect lives and property all over the world. Her notable ‘firsts’ include the UK’s first female Professor of Meteorology, and in 2008, the first female President of the Royal Meteorological Society. Julia has served on a number of national and international science committees for her expertise, and at the close of 2013 was appointed a Dame for her lifetime services to weather and climate science.