Paul Williams

Royal Society University Research Fellow
University of Reading
Atmospheric Sciences
Reading, United Kingdom


What led you to Earth and Space science?

Following my undergraduate degree in Physics at the University of Oxford, I saw the geophysical sciences as a way of applying my scientific expertise to research questions that are important to society. I remained at Oxford to take a doctoral degree in geophysical fluid dynamics, and then I moved to Reading to work as a post-doctoral researcher on a project studying rapid climate change. I have been at Reading ever since. When the rapid climate change project ended, I was lucky enough to win a NERC Fellowship, followed by a Royal Society University Research Fellowship.


How long have you been a member of AGU and why did you join?

I have been a member of AGU since 2004. I joined because I wanted to be a part of the world’s largest geophysical society and to attend the Fall Meeting. I have been a member ever since, and I am currently an editor of Geophysical Research Letters.


What are you working on now?

Small-scale features in the atmosphere and ocean are my main research interest. Examples include gravity waves and eddies, which are important for weather and climate, and clear-air turbulence, which is costly to airlines and injures passengers. How are these features generated, how do they interact with the large-scale flow, and how should they be represented in models (including stochastically)? Numerical modelling is another key research interest. How can numerical errors be minimized when the dynamical equations for the atmosphere and ocean are stepped forward in time? These are challenging scientific questions with important societal implications.