Tim Palmer (physicist)

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Tim Palmer
Tim Palmer World Economic Forum 2013.jpg
Palmer at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos 2013
Timothy Noel Palmer

(1952-12-31) 31 December 1952 (age 66)
Alma mater
Scientific career
ThesisCovariant conservation equations and their relation to the energy- momentum concept in general relativity (1977)
Doctoral advisorDennis William Sciama[2]

Timothy Noel Palmer CBE FRS[1] (born 31 December 1952) is a mathematical physicist by training. He has spent most of his career working on the dynamics and predictability of weather and climate. Amongst various research achievements, he pioneered the development of probabilistic ensemble forecasting techniques for weather and climate prediction (at the Met Office and the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts)[3]. These techniques are now standard in operational weather and climate prediction around the world, and are central for reliable decision making for many commercial and humanitarian applications.


Palmer received a 1st Class Joint Honours Degree in Mathematics and Physics from the University of Bristol[2] and a Doctor of Philosophy in General Relativity Theory from the University of Oxford.[4]


As of 2016 Palmer's research is focussed on the development of stochastic parametrisations in weather and climate simulators,[1] and the application of inexact computing[5] techniques for developing ultra-high resolution climate models.[6] Palmer believes strongly that human and computing resources must be pooled internationally to develop reliable climate prediction systems. He remains active in the area of fundamental physics, promoting the synergistic "Cosmological Invariant Set Postulate" as a primitive geometric principle for physics of the large and small.


After a chance meeting with geophysicist Raymond Hide, he became interested in climate and was employed by the Met Office – including a year at the University of Washington – becoming principal scientific officer. In 1986 he joined the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts where he led the newly formed Predictability and Diagnostics Division. In 2010 Palmer became a Professor of Climate Physics at the University of Oxford,[7] being one of the "2010 Anniversary" Royal Society Research Professors, created to celebrate the Royal Society's 350th Anniversary. At Oxford, Palmer is additionally co-director of the Oxford Martin Programme on Modelling and Predicting Climate[8] and is a professorial fellow at Jesus College, Oxford.[9]

Awards and honours[edit]

Palmer was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 2003,[1] and was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2015 New Year Honours for services to science.[10][11] Other awards include:


  1. ^ a b c d Anon (2003). "Professor Tim Palmer CBE FRS". royalsociety.org. Lonndon: Royal Society. Archived from the original on 17 November 2015. One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from the royalsociety.org website where:

    "All text published under the heading 'Biography' on Fellow profile pages is available under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License." --"Royal Society Terms, conditions and policies". Archived from the original on 25 September 2015. Retrieved 9 March 2016.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)

  2. ^ a b "Professor Tim Palmer, CBE, FRS". Honorary Graduates 2016. University of Bristol. 21 July 2016. Retrieved 17 October 2016.
  3. ^ Palmer, Tim (2018). "The ECMWF ensemble prediction system: Looking back (more than) 25 years and projecting forward 25 years". Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society. 0. arXiv:1803.06940. doi:10.1002/qj.3383. ISSN 1477-870X.
  4. ^ Palmer, Timothy Noel (1977). Covariant Conservation Equations and their Relation to the Energy-Momentum Concept in General Relativity (DPhil thesis). University of Oxford. OCLC 500534804.
  5. ^ Palem, K.V. (September 2005). "Energy Aware Computing through Probabilistic Switching: A Study of Limits". IEEE Transactions on Computers. 54 (9): 1123–1137. doi:10.1109/TC.2005.145.
  6. ^ Duben, P. D.; Joven, J.; Lingamneni, A.; McNamara, H.; De Micheli, G.; Palem, K. V.; Palmer, T. N. (19 May 2014). "On the use of inexact, pruned hardware in atmospheric modelling". Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences. 372 (2018): 20130276. doi:10.1098/rsta.2013.0276. PMC 4024232. PMID 24842031.
  7. ^ "Tim Palmer". University of Oxford Department of Physics. Retrieved 7 November 2014.
  8. ^ "Professor Tim Palmer Co-Director, Programme on Modelling and Predicting Climate". Oxford Martin School. Retrieved 7 November 2014.
  9. ^ "Professor Tim Palmer". Jesus College, Oxford. Retrieved 7 November 2014.
  10. ^ "No. 61092". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2014. p. N10.
  11. ^ 2015 New Year Honours List
  12. ^ "Winners of the Norbert Gerbier-MUMM International Award". World Meteorological Organization. Archived from the original on 28 October 2014. Retrieved 7 November 2014.
  13. ^ "Double Success for Dr Tim Palmer". Royal Meteorological Society. 20 October 2009. Retrieved 7 November 2014.
  14. ^ "2014 Dirac medal". Institute of Physics. Retrieved 7 November 2014.
  15. ^ "Newly Elected – April 2015". American Philosophical Society. Archived from the original on 16 August 2015. Retrieved 28 April 2015.
  16. ^ Karatekin, Özgür; Ferreira, Bárbara (9 October 2017). "EGU announces 2018 awards and medals". European Geosciences Union. Retrieved 10 October 2017.
  17. ^ "2019 Awards and Honors Recipients". American Meteorological Society. Retrieved 24 July 2018.