School of Earth and Environment

Bethany Woodhams Bethany Woodhams

Postgraduate Researcher

Email address:
Room: FH 2.10

Affiliation: Institute for Climate and Atmospheric Science


I graduated from Imperial College London in summer 2015 with a first class integrated masters in Physics. My master’s dissertation was on the idealised modelling of hurricanes and was supervised by Dr Arnaud Czaja.

During my undergraduate degree, I also undertook several summer placements. In 2013 I was awarded a NERC-funded research experience placement at the University of Reading. Under the supervision of Dr Remi Tailleux, I worked on a novel algorithm to compute Generalised Convective Available Potential Energy (GCAPE).

In 2014 I was a summer student at the UK Met Office, where I worked with Dr Huw Lewis on part of the UK Environmental Prediction project. I developed a ‘toolkit’ of metrics to describe the characteristics and accuracy of river outflow models and also investigated the effect of rivers on SSTs around the UK coast by driving the NEMO ocean model with different river inputs.

I am now studying for a PhD at the University of Leeds, for which I am investigating severe weather over East Africa, supervised by Dr Cathryn Birch and Dr John Marsham. In addition, I am the recipient of a CASE award from the Met Office, where I am supervised by Dr Caroline Bain.

Outside of academia, I enjoy singing in a local choir and have recently taken up climbing.


MSci in Physic - Imperial College London (2015)


Associate Fellow - The Royal Meteorological Society

Support duties

I am currently a PhD rep for ICAS.

Project details

Project title

Severe weather over East Africa


Dr Cathryn Birch and Dr John Marsham


NERC 'Spheres' Doctoral Training Partnership

Met Office CASE Award

Start date

1st October 2015

Project outline

My project will aim to better understand the occurrence of severe weather over East Africa, in particular extreme rainfall and wind events.

Initially, I will use satellite observations to study the spatial and temporal characteristics of rainfall over East Africa, paying particular attention to the most severe storm events. The Met Office currently runs a 4km operational model over East Africa. The model output is disseminated to meteorologists in the region to use in their forecasts. I will perform an evaluation of this model, in particular to determine how well it predicts storm events. Information from my analysis will be used to advise regional forecasters how best to use the model when making their forecasts and to suggest possible improvements to the model itself.

Currently, little is know about the initiation, structure and propagation of storms in East Africa. During my PhD, I aim to better understand the details of these storms by using the UM to perform some extremely high-resolution simulations of storms over the region.