Francesca Morris


I’m a second-year PhD student at the University of Leeds, based in the Institute of Atmospheric and Climate Science (ICAS) within the School of Earth and Environment (SEE). My supervisors are Dr Juliane Schwendike and Professor Doug Parker, as well as Dr Caroline Bain of the UK Met Office. My PhD project  investigating organised convection and its interactions with circulation in West Africa. I am a PGR rep for ICAS and I help organise the Atmospheric and Cloud Dynamics research group meetings. In my spare time I like to look at sensationalist weather news headlines.


2015-2019: MPhys Physics, University of Oxford

Research Interests

Organised convection, convection-permitting modelling, tropical meteorology, earth observation, science communication, education

Teaching interests

I am passionate about teaching at university level and am always looking for more opportunities to develop my teaching practice. Over the past two years, I’ve demonstrated on a number of modules in mathematics and meteorology in multiple capacities: running tutorials, leading workshops, and demonstrating in computing practicals. I’ve also worked marking coursework for mathematics modules.

Project Title

Organised convection and large-scale circulation in West Africa


Dr Juliane Schwendike

Professor Doug Parker

Dr Caroline Bain (Met Office)


Panorama NERC DTP, 2019

Project outline

In the summer months, the West African climate is characterised by severe thunderstorms called mesoscale convective systems (MCSs). MCSs in the region cause high-impact rainfall and often flooding, but they are difficult to forecast using operational weather models, especially those which parameterise convection. Furthermore, internal dynamics of MCSs can modulate synoptic-scale weather features in the region which are linked to triggering convection. The feedbacks induced by this coupling can make synoptic weather difficult to forecast, which is important for improving representation of the region in climate models and for the downstream impacts of these synoptic systems.

My project focuses on characterising the representation and behaviour of West African MCSs in convection-permitting models: examining their dynamics, investigating how they might affect other regions (e.g. through creating favourable conditions for tropical cyclogenesis), and quantifying their interactions with the larger-scale circulations. By doing this we can better understand the mechanisms that modulate weather in the region and beyond. Eventually, this work could be used to inform parameterisations of convection and potentially improve operational forecasting through application to novel model initialisation techniques.