Turing Lecture: Big Data and the Met Office and 21st Century Problems

Date: 14 October 2016

Time: 1:30pm – 4:00pm

Agenda: View the agenda here


Big data at the Met Office represents a fusion of observations and models, and theory. It requires major supercomputing infrastructure to perform state-of-the-art simulations, which in turn act as computational laboratories to understand how the atmosphere, ocean and climate systems work; and they are fundamental to the prediction process. The predictions made across all timescales, from hours to decades, are increasingly used to address issues around resilience to weather, climate and environmental hazards.

In this Turing Lecture, Dame Julia will explain the latest developments in Met Office science and its relevance to 21st century problems, sharing the story behind weather forecasting and climate prediction and uncovering how the Met Office gathers, analyses and creates big data. Dame Julia will also consider how working in partnership with experts across a range of disciplines will be vital for addressing the impacts of natural hazards, and how advances in simulation, data analytics and informatics can help to maximise the societal benefits of weather and climate science.


Professor Dame Julia Slingo







Professional Career
Julia Slingo became Met Office Chief Scientist in February 2009 where she leads a team of over 500 scientists working on a very broad portfolio of research that underpins weather forecasting, climate prediction and climate change projections. Before joining the Met Office she was the Director of Climate Research in NERC’s National Centre for Atmospheric Science, at the University of Reading. In 2006 she founded the Walker Institute for Climate System Research at Reading, aimed at addressing the cross disciplinary challenges of climate change and its impacts. Julia has had a long-term career in atmospheric physics and climate science, working at the Met Office, ECMWF and NCAR in the USA. She has developed and used complex weather and climate models throughout her research career to understand the climate system and to predict its evolution. Her special interests are in tropical weather and climate variability, understanding their influence on the global climate system and their role in monthly to decadal climate prediction. In 2016 Julia was appointed to the High Level Group of the European Commission Science Advice Mechanism.

Date and Place of Birth
13 December 1950, Kenilworth, Warwickshire, England

Ph.D. 1989:  Bristol University (Atmospheric Physics, by submission of published papers)
B.Sc. 1972:  Bristol University (Physics, Upper Second Class)
A-level and S-level studies 1969: King’s High School for Girls, Warwick (Grade A in Physics, Mathematics, Further Mathematics, Distinction in S-level Physics)

Family Details
Married in 1978 to Anthony Slingo with two daughters, Mary and Anna.

Choral singing, church music, walking, gardening.