An external view of the Met Office building at night.

Dr Sophie Murray

Areas of Expertise

  • Solar flare prediction
  • Solar active region evolution
  • Solar magnetic field topology
  • Solar atmosphere observations and modelling
  • Thermosphere and ionosphere observations and modelling
  • Data assimilation

Current Activities 

Sophie transitions basic science research to operational Space Weather. She is currently working on improving solar-flare forecasting and active-region tracking methods used by the forecasters here, as well as developing real-time thermospheric modelling.

Sophie is involved with the European Horizon 2020 FLARECAST project. FLARECAST will develop an advanced flare forecasting system that will contribute to improving current space weather prediction methods. The system will be based on automatically extracted physical properties of active regions coupled with state-of-the-art flare prediction methods, and will be validated using the most appropriate forecast verification measures.

Sophie was recently involved with Work Package 5 of the European FP7 ATMOP project, aimed at developing data assimilation for global analysis and prediction. More specifically, schemes were developed for near-real-time assimilation of thermospheric and ionospheric data into advanced predictive semi-empirical and general circulation models of the thermosphere. Sophie mainly worked with the Thermosphere-Ionosphere-Electrodynamics General Circulation Model, developed by the National Center for Atmospheric Research in the USA. The results of implementing data assimilation with this model are currently being tested against independent thermospheric density observations.

Career Background

Sophie has been a researcher in the Space Weather Research Group since she joined the Met Office in May 2013. She completed a PhD in Solar Physics in the Astrophysics Research Group, Trinity College Dublin. Her PhD focused on investigating the link between solar active-region magnetic-field evolution and flaring. Prior to this she completed an MSc in Space Science at University College London, and a BA Mod (Hons) in Physics and Astrophysics at Trinity College Dublin.