Profiles of speakers at the Plenary Sessions

Bob Riddaway, EMS President
Chair Opening Session and Awards Session

Bob Riddaway retired from the Met Office in the UK in 2005, though he continued working part-time at ECMWF for another 10 years. After gaining a BSc in Physics and a PhD in Meteorology from Edinburgh University he joined the Met Office to do research. He soon found that training and operational meteorology were more to his liking, so his career included being Head of Training and Joint Head of Forecasting. Whilst at the Met Office he became involved in the education and training activities of the WMO, and this still continues.

For nearly 50 years Bob Riddaway has been involved in the activities of the Royal Meteorological Society. These included running various educational activities, helping to establish professional meteorological qualifications, and being the founding editor of Meteorological Applications. For 8 years he was the General Secretary and is currently a member of the Accreditation Board. He was a member of the EMS Council and also Vice President between 2008 and 2015.

Kornélia Radics, President of the Hungarian Meteorological Service
Opening Session: Welcome address

Kornélia Radics graduated as a meteorologist in 1997, and as an astronomer in 1999 at Eötvös Lórant University (ELTE) in Budapest. As soon as she obtained her first degree, she started her studies in the Doctorate Programme for Earth Sciences at ELTE, where she received her PhD degree in 2004 for her dissertation entitled “Potentials of the use of wind energy in Hungary: wind climatology, estimation and modelling of accessible wind energy in Hungary”. Since 2001, she has been employed at the Hungarian Defence Forces Geoinformation Service, where she later became vice-head of the service. Parallel to this work, she held courses at ELTE University for meteorology students. Her main areas of interest are wind climatology, climate change, renewable energy, and atmospheric analysis.

She was appointed President of the Hungarian Meteorological Service on 1 November 2013. She has been Chair of the Aviation Advisory Committee of EUMETNET since 2017, and Vice-President of the WMO RA VI region since 2018.

She is the holder of many prizes of the Hungarian Meteorological Society, the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, and the Ministry of Defence, acknowledging her high-level scientific achievements. In 2013, she received the Pro Meteorologia Memorial Award from the Minister of Rural Development.

Zoltan Dunkel, MMT President
Opening session: Welcome address

Zoltan Dunkel is a retired meteorologist.

After gaining an MSc in Mathematics and Meteorology, later a PhD in Meteorology (ELTE University, Budapest) he joined Hungarian Meteorological Service (1977-2013) to do research. His research interests included plant growth modelling, use of remote sensing in agricultural meteorology, and climate change impacts on agriculture.

He has served as Scientific Secretary of EC COST Meteorology, later as President of OMSZ ‒ the Hungarian Meteorological Service. He has been involved in international organisations, such as WMO and GEO and has participated in several international research projects which resulted in numerous refereed publications. He is an honorary professor, as well as the editor-in-chief of LEGKOR (Atmosphere), the common journal of MMT and OMSZ, editorial board member of IDOJARAS, and reviewer for international scientific journals.

He has been presented with the Schenzl Guido Ministerial Award, the Knight's Cross of Hungarian honours, the National Defence 1st Class Ministerial Medal, and the Pro Meteorologia Ministerial Award. He is a corresponding member of the Accademia dei Georgofili (Florence, Italy.)

Zoltan Dunkel is the President of MMT – the Hungarian Meteorological Society – and Vice President of the International Forum of Meteorological Societies.

K. Heinke Schlünzen, EMS Treasurer
Chair Awards Session

Professor Schlünzen studied meteorology and oceanography, finishing with her PhD in 1988 by developing and applying a non-hydrostatic atmospheric model. After her post-doctoral studies with a focus on model development and evaluation methodologies, she became Professor of Meteorology at the Meteorological Institute of the University of Hamburg in 2003. She heads the mesoscale and microscale modelling group and coordinates research on “Urban regions in global change” at the Centre for Earth System Research and Sustainability (CEN).

Among other things, she coordinates the development of air quality directives in the field of environmental meteorology of the Commission for Air Pollution Control, is a member of the review board on Atmospheric Science, Oceanography and Climate Research of the German Research Foundation, and is a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for WMO-GURME.

Her research focus is on small-scale atmospheric processes triggered by local changes, including those caused by humans or that are influenced by climate change. This includes in particular the influences of climate change and urban structures on the urban climate. Numerical models developed, tested, and made available to science and practice, are an important tool for her scientific research.

Heinke Schlünzen has been EMS Treasurer since 2015.

Dame Julia Slingo, OBE DBE DSc FRS HonFRSC HonFInstP HonFRMetS
Opening session: Strategic Lecture

Dame Julia Slingo served as Chief Scientist of the UK Met Office from 2009 to 2016, when she retired. At the Met Office, she led a team of more than 500 scientists working on a broad portfolio of research that underpins weather forecasting, climate predictions, and climate change projections. Through her career, she worked at the European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), the US National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), and Reading University. Amongst other awards, Dame Julia was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2015 and Foreign Member of the US National Academy of Engineering in 2016.

In her retirement, she has taken on a number of advisory roles, including Special Advisor on Science to the Secretary General of the World Meteorological Organisation, and is now a member of the new NERC Council under UKRI. She also holds an honorary professorship at the Cabot Institute of the University of Bristol, where she chairs the Advisory Board.

Dame Julia has brought innovative approaches to understanding and modelling weather and climate. She has developed and used complex weather and climate models to deliver new insights into how the atmosphere and climate system works, as well as significant advances in predictive skill and climate services. Her special interests are tropical weather and climate variability.


Diana Ürge-Vorsatz, Central European University (CEU)
Opening Session: Strategic Lecture

Diana Ürge-Vorsatz is a Professor at the Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy at the Central European University (CEU). She serves as Vice Chair of Working Group III of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). She holds a Ph.D. from the University of California (Los Angeles and Berkeley). She served as the Acting Head of Department at the CEU in 2002–2003 and directed the Ph.D. program in 2003–2004.

Diana Ürge-Vorsatz was a Coordinating Lead Author in two Assessment Reports of the IPCC. She served on the United Nation’s Scientific Expert Group on Climate Change, and led the buildings-related work in the Global Energy Assessment. She serves as associate editor of the journal “Energy Efficiency”, and is a member of the Editorial Board of “Annual Reviews of Environment and Resources”.

She was a Visiting Professor at the International Christian University of Tokyo and a Research Scholar at IIASA (International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis). She has been serving on the Governing and Advisory boards of several organizations, including Innogy (formerly RWE), the Austrian Climate and Energy Fund (KLIEN), the European Climate Foundation (ECF), the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC), the Hungarian Energy-Efficiency Cofinancing Program (HEECP), and the Club of Budapest. She is regularly invited to high-level review panels, such as that evaluating the work at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the EU’s Joint Research Centre.

She received the Hungarian Republic’s “Medium Cross” Presidential Award in 2008, as well as the “Role Model” award in 2009, and was invited as a member of Academia Europaea in 2017.

Roger Wakimoto, AMS President
Townhall Meeting: AMS Lecture

Roger Wakimoto is the Vice Chancellor for Research at UCLA. Most recently, Wakimoto served as Assistant Director for the National Science Foundation Directorate for Geosciences (2013–2017), where he led an organization with an annual budget of approximately $1.3 billion in support of core research in the atmospheric and geospace, polar, earth and ocean sciences.

He was previously a professor with the UCLA atmospheric sciences faculty (1983–2005); Wakimoto served as vice chair (1993–1996) and chair (1996–2000) of the department. He subsequently became director of the National Center for Atmospheric Research’s (NCAR) Earth Observing Laboratory (2005–2010) and director of NCAR, a federally funded research and development center, from 2010 to 2013, with a staff of approximately 750 devoted to service, research and education in the atmospheric and related sciences. He also held an appointment as research professor in the department of atmospheric and oceanic sciences at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Wakimoto is an atmospheric scientist specializing in research on mesoscale meteorology, particularly severe convective storms and radar meteorology. He has written or co-authored numerous peer-reviewed papers and served on various committees, panels and boards for organizations, including the NSF, the National Academy of Sciences, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the American Meteorological Society, which he currently heads as president.

He has received several awards and honors, including a scientific and technical achievement award from the Environmental Protection Agency for research on air pollution, and the Clarence Leroy Meisinger Award from the American Meteorological Society for his contributions to understanding mesoscale weather events. He received a B.S. in meteorology from San Jose State University and a Ph.D. in geophysical sciences from the University of Chicago.

Haleh Kootval, Consulting specialist in meteorology and service delivery at the World Bank
Plenary Keynote for the Programme Stream Engagement with Society

Haleh Koovtal joined the World Bank as a consulting specialist in meteorology and service delivery in April 2017. Prior to that Haleh worked in WMO as the Chief of the Public Weather Services (PWS) Programme, which she set up and developed since 1994.

In her current capacity at the Bank, Haleh is responsible to provide guidance and assistance in the development of the hydromet modernization programmes and projects of the Bank. While in WMO, she was responsible for guiding WMO Members on the improvement and functioning of their national PWS Programmes, for delivering fit-for-purpose weather and related services to users. Haleh is a physics graduate of the Imperial College of London University, and completed her post graduate studies in geophysics, before turning to studying meteorology. Prior to joining WMO, Haleh served as the Head of the Brunei Meteorological Service and the Permanent Representative of Brunei with WMO, and served on the WMO Executive Council. A main focus of her work at recent times has been promoting impact-based forecast and warning services.

Tiziana Paccagnella, Director of ARPAE-SIMC
Plenary Keynote for the Programme Stream Operational Systems and Applications

Tiziana Paccagnella is the director of ARPAE-SIMC, the Hydro-Meteo-Climate Service of the Regional Environmental Agency of Emilia-Romagna in Italy.

Following her M.Sc in Physics at the University of Bologna, she started working in atmospheric physics and meteorology. For 35 years she has worked at SIMC as Head of Regional Numerical Weather Prediction; for the last 10 years the activities of her division have also included marine and coastal modelling, and coastal defence and monitoring. In 2004 she also became responsible for the coordination of the activities related to the role of ARPAE-SIMC as a Centre of Competence in numerical weather prediction and radar meteorology in the framework of the National Civil Protection system.

She continues to be involved in several national and international research projects, working groups and panels. She cooperates with the University of Bologna as a tutor of university degree and PhD students. In recent years her main research interest has focussed on limited-area ensemble prediction and on ensemble-based data assimilation.