Researcher Spotlight: Andrew Wilson

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Andrew Wilson is a Research Software Engineer on the Sprint investigating, “Can we solve the “spin-up” problem in Earth System Modelling?

For my undergraduate degree I focused on Physics and Applied Mathematics. For 5 years following my undergrad studies I competed as a professional swimmer before retiring in 2021. I completed my Masters in Mathematical Modelling and Scientific Computing at Oxford in 2022, with a research focus in fast solvers.

My primary role in this project is to help with the implementation of our new fast, numerical method for earth system model spin-up. My primary focus so far has been on applying our new method to the ocean model, NEMO-MEDUSA.

Working on the Sprint has been great so far; I come from a purely applied math background, and it has been very enjoyable to get more familiar with earth sciences and to work in an interdisciplinary field. I’ve had the opportunity to travel for a workshop at the National Oceanography Centre and have had collaboration with researchers in the Met Office. The biggest challenge has just been getting accustomed to new applications and models than I have used previously.

We have a small team, so there haven’t been too many challenges on our end, but our work fits within the broader context of UKESM2, the UK’s model submission for the Climate Model Intercomparison Project which underpins IPCC assessments. For that we are working with a large interdisciplinary team across multiple institutions, but as with any group, communication is the best method. For any new Agile Sprint researcher I would say make sure you communicate with your team and understand the goals, and be prepared to work quickly!

The majority of my research history was for my Masters dissertation, which was only a 3 or 4 month project, so in a lot of ways this hasn’t felt like a ‘sprint’ to me. I have enjoyed the fast pace though and cannot imagine doing research any other way. I enjoy pushing the boundaries of how fast we can see some fantastic results.

Andrew Wilson recently presented at the community earth system model workshop in the Biogeochemistry working group, explaining some of the team’s most recent work on applying their method to the community land model. You can watch it here, starting at 2:20:45: