An external view of the Met Office building at night.

Dr Helene Hewitt

Areas of expertise

  • Ocean modelling
  • Sea ice modelling
  • Climate model development and evaluation
  • High resolution model development

Publications by Helene

Current activities

Helene leads the Ocean Modelling group in the Met Office Hadley Centre. The ocean model used at the Met Office Hadley Centre is the NEMO model. Helene is a member of the NEMO Developers committee. Helene also leads the JWCRP Ocean Modelling Programmes on both global and coastal oceans.

The Ocean Modelling group develops global and shelf configurations for coupled prediction across a range of timescales from short-range to climate timescales. Development is driven by process understanding which includes exploring resolution as well as improved physics. A major aim of the work of the group over the next five years is to develop an eddy-resolving and shelf-enabled global model.

The group currently develops the global ocean configurations and the North-west shelf configurations. The global ocean models (GO series) underpins the Met Office seamless prediction work with the same configuration being used for short-range ocean forecasting, seasonal and decadal prediction and climate projections. The group is currently developing GO6 as a traceable hierarchy at a range of resolutions (1, 1/4 and 1/12 degree) which will be the ocean component of the coupled climate models used for CMIP5.

The North-West shelf configurations (CO series) underpin work on ocean forecasting and climate projections for the marine environment. The current configuration (CO5) has a resolution of 7 km and is used for a number of applications including the Copernicus Marine Service. The group is developing a configuration of the North-West shelf at a resolution of 1.5 km.

Career background

Helene joined the Met Office Hadley Centre in 1996 as an ocean scientist, where she worked on evaluating climate models. This involved confronting the model with observations and using the results to guide future model development. Since 2003 she has led both ocean and sea ice model development and work on Polar Climate. Helene previously managed the development of the climate model, HadGEM3, which couples NEMO and CICE (the sea ice component) to the Met Office Unified Model atmosphere. More recently, she led the development of a version of HadGEM3 with an eddy-resolving ocean component.She currently leads the Ocean Modelling group and the JWCRP ocean modelling programmes.

Prior to joining the Met Office, Helene obtained a PhD in Oceanography from Southampton University (now the National Oceanographic Centre). Her PhD was on the topic of mixing in the Western Equatorial Pacific. During her PhD, Helene participated in an oceanographic cruise as part of the World Ocean Circulation Experiment (WOCE) and was a summer fellow at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. Helene obtained a first class degree in Mathematics from Cambridge University (Fitzwilliam College).

External Recognition

Helene is currently a member of the NEMO developers committee and the CLIVAR Ocean Model Development Panel (OMDP) and co-chaired this group from 2007 to 2008.