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Forecasting atmospheric turbulence from hours to decades ahead

Guest speaker Professor Paul Williams presents the latest of our research colloquia series, open to all staff and students.

  • 4 Nov 2022, 1.15pm to 4 Nov 2022, 2.05pm GMT
  • 4W 1.7 (Wolfson Lecture Hall), 4 West, University of Bath
  • This event is free

The Department of Physics colloquia includes internationally prominent guest speakers. They take place on Fridays during the semester and are open to anyone from the university, with students encouraged to attend.

Click here for the full list of physics colloquia in semester 1, 2022-2023, and details of past talks..

For any questions about the colloquia, please contact Dr Anton Souslov,

Prof Paul Williams

Prof Paul Williams, University of Reading

Forecasting atmospheric turbulence from hours to decades ahead

Turbulence was called “the most important unsolved problem of classical physics” by Richard Feynman. It has also been called “the last major weather-related safety challenge facing large commercial aircraft” by Delta Air Lines. Operational turbulence forecasts for the aviation sector have historically had limited skill, to the extent that many pilots simply ignored them. In this colloquium, I will explain how we developed an improved atmospheric turbulence forecasting algorithm, which is based on a new physical mechanism for turbulence generation. The algorithm is now used operationally to forecast turbulence for the aviation sector up to 18 hours ahead. It has helped make billions of passenger journeys smoother, safer, and greener. I will also explain how climate change is steadily increasing the amount of wind shear in the atmosphere. This effect is projected to lead to hundreds of per cent more turbulence in the coming decades, causing bumpier flights on some of the world’s busiest flight routes.


4 West Wolfson Lecture Hall

4W 1.7 (Wolfson Lecture Hall) 4 West University of Bath Claverton Down Bath BA2 7AY United Kingdom

For any questions about the colloquia

please contact Dr Anton Souslov,