EMS Young Scientist Award

The EMS Young Scientist Award (YSA) is given to individuals in recognition of excellent performance in terms of scientific publications or presentations during the early stage of their scientific career. The award is in form of a prize money and travel expenses to cover the attendance of the EMS Annual Meeting.

Young scientists under 35 years on the first of January of the calendar year in which the award is to be given who have been working or studying, full or part-time, in a European country before or when the paper was published, are eligible for the award. All countries with an EMS Member Society or included in the WMO RA VI region are considered as European. For an overview of EMS Member Societies please consult the EMS Member site.

In the evaluation of the nominations, normally the following criteria are applied:

  • Interest of the proposed publication
  • Innovation content of the proposed publication
  • Candidate profile
  • Country.

Call for nominations

The EMS invites nominations for the EMS Young Scientist Award 2018. The deadline for submissions is 27 April 2018.

Earlier recipients of the EMS Young Scientist Award

Juha Aalto

The EMS Young Scientist Award 2017 was awarded to Juha Aalto from the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) for his publication: “New gridded daily climatology of Finland: Permutation-based uncertainty estimates and temporal trends in climate”, J. Aalto P. Pirinen and K Jylhä, Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 2016, vol. 121, issue 8, p. 3807-3823. doi: 10.1002/2015JD024651.


Juha Aalto

Juha Aalto contributed significantly to understanding local climate variation in cold-regions, developing a new high-quality long-term gridded time series of seven variables for Finland together with the assessment of interpolation uncertainty, which is the cornerstone of climate services and an essential component in environmental impact studies.


Juha Aalto will gave a Young Scientist Award Lecture on his recent work at the EMS Annual Meeting in Dublin, in session OSA3.2 Spatial Climatology: Developing a new gridded daily climatology for Finland


Juha Aalto obtained a MSc from the Department of Geosciences and Geography, University of Helsinki, in 2011 with a thesis entitled ”Spatial modelling of periglacial features in sub-arctic environment”. At the same institution he obtained the Doctor of Philosophy in 2015 with his dissertation on “New perspectives on climate, Earth surface processes and thermal–hydrological conditions in high–latitude systems”.

He is a researcher at FMI’s Climate Center, working in the project Pathways linking uncertainties in model projections of climate and its effects (PLUMES), developing a homogenization routine for the monthly and daily climate data series; he is also part-time employed at the Department of Geosciences and Geography, University of Helsinki, working on the INFRAHAZARD project funded by the Academy of Finland. His post-doctoral project Topoclimate, land surface conditions and atmospheric feedbacks has been selected for funding by the Academy of Finland and will start this autumn.

Juha Aalto’s research is focussed on local climate variations and and cold-region land surface processes under climate change. Using a wide range of spatial modelling approaches, he has gained an outstanding expertise in spatial and temporal modelling in geosciences.

He has also been active in training activities as a visiting trainer in Nepal, Tajikistan and Kenia, supporting projects for producing gridded climatological datasets.

Giovanni Tumolo

Giovanni Tumolo, Italy

The EMS Young Scientist Award 2016 is awarded to Giovanni Tumolo from the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) in Trieste, Italy, for his publication: “A semi-implicit, semi-Lagrangian discontinuous Galerkin framework for adaptive numerical weather prediction”, G. Tumolo, L. Bonaventura, Q.J.R. Meteror. Society 141: 2582-2601, Oct 2015, A doi: 10.1002/qj2544.



Giovanni Tumolo contributed significantly to the field of numerical weather prediction, developing a new accurate, efficient, unified numerical framework, permitting a seamless approach from global to high resolution limited-area modeling.

Giovanni give a Young Scientist Award Lecture on his recent work at the EMS Annual Meeting & ECAC in Trieste, in session NWP2 Numerical aspects and physical parametrization integration in NWP models: A p-adaptive approach for high order numerical weather prediction, G. Tumolo, L. Bonaventura, and G. Giuliani.


Giovanni Tumolo obtained a MSc in aerospace engineering from the Politecnico di Milano in 2006 with a thesis in applied numerical algebra for discretization applications of partial differential equations. In 2008 he enrolled in the PhD School of Industrial and Environmental Fluid Mechanics at Trieste University, and graduated in 2011 with a dissertation on new generation high order numerical schemes for atmospheric modelling applications.

Since June 2011 Giovanni Tumolo has been working as a post-doc at the Earth System Physics Section of the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) in developing this state of the art numerical formulation as the basis for the new generation dynamical core of the ICTP Regional Climate System RegCM. He has been actively collaborating with different institutions including the MOX laboratory at the Mathematics department of the Politecnico di Milano and the Department of Oceanography of the national Institute of Oceanography and Experimental Geophysics (INOGS).

Giovanni Tumolo has also been active in teaching, as a lecturer of Fluid Mechanics and of Numerical Methods at the PhD school of Industrial and Environmental Fluid Mechanics at Trieste University and at the ICTP Postgraduate Diploma program.

Miguel Potes

Young Scientist Award 2015: Miguel Potes

The EMS Young Scientist Award 2015 is awarded to Miguel Potes from the University of Evora, Portugal, for his publication: “Satellite remote sensing of water turbidity in Alqueva reservoir and implications on lake modelling”, M. Potes, M. J. Costa and R. Salgado; Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 16, 1623–1633, 2012, www.hydrol-earth-syst-sci.net/16/1623/2012/, doi:10.5194/hess-16-1623-2012.




Miguel Potes’ work links improved measurements of water quality and turbidity with modeling its impact on lake-atmosphere interactions at the regional scale.


The Award was presented on 08 September 2015 at the EMS Annual Meeting & ECAM 2015 in Sofia, Bulgaria.


Miguel Potes graduated in Meteorology, Oceanography and Geophysics at the Faculty of Sciences, University of Lisbon in 2006. He joined the Evora Geophysics Centre (CGE – http://www.cge.uevora.pt/en) in 2008 after having received a Master’s degree from Evora University with a thesis on “Climate and water quality on Guadiana basin”. Miguel Potes finished his PhD in 2013 with a thesis entitled “Remote sensing and in situ determination of physical and micro-biological parameters of inland waters and its application on lake-atmosphere modelling”.

In 2014 Miguel has been involved in a study on the interface between meteorology and physical limnology, in particular applying his knowledge to inland water bodies such as the Portuguese Alqueva basin, the largest artificial reservoir in Western Europe, trying also to understand the impact in the surrounding atmospheric environment.

He was one of the key organisers of an international intensive measurement campaign on lake-atmosphere interaction which took place in the south of Portugal, namely the ALqueva observational EXperiment in 2014 (ALEX2014 – www.alex2014.cge.uevora.pt) which resulted in an interdisciplinary database useful for researchers working on Alqueva reservoir, but also for the national scientific community. This field campaign improved the knowledge about energy and mass fluxes between large reservoirs and the atmosphere and about the development of thermal circulations on semiarid Mediterranean conditions.

In 2015 Miguel Potes was member of the organising committee of the fourth Workshop “Parameterization of Lakes in Numerical Weather Prediction and Climate Modelling” (http://www.lake15.cge.uevora.pt/), co-organised with the WG3 meeting of COST Action ES1404, held in Institute of Earth Science (ICT – institute formed in 2015 with CGE and other two Portuguese groups) and Evora University.

As a postdoc at ICT Miguel Potes is now focused on the development of a portable underwater apparatus for measurements of spectral downwelling irradiance profiles in order to obtain the attenuation coefficient of light for different types of water bodies. These in situ measurements intend to be a valuable tool for satellite remote sensing calibration of some surface products related to water reflectance and transparency.

RG profile for publication list: www.researchgate.net/profile/Miguel_Potes

Cathryn Birch

photo_ysa2014_cathryn-birch_profileThe EMS Young Scientist Award 2016 was awarded to Cathryn Birch, United Kingdom. Her scientific work brings together models and observations to quantify the processes leading to major biases in weather and climate models in both the Arctic and the Tropics. The results of her work are one of the key inputs for further improvements of weather and climate models.

The Award was presented on 07 October 2014 at the EMS Annual Meeting & ECAC 2014 in Prague, Czech Republic.


Cathryn gave a Young Scientist Award Lecture on her work at the EMS Annual Meeting & ECAC in Prague, in session ASI-1 Dynamical Meteorology: Using convection-permitting models to better understand tropical convection.

Cathryn is currently a UK Met Office Research Scientist, based at the University of Leeds. Her research interests include convection initiation and land-surface interaction over West Africa, water cycle in tropical regions, dynamics of the Saharan boundary layer and Arctic boundary layer and clouds.

Cathryn Birch has published a series of important papers that bring together models and observations to quantify the processes leading to major biases in weather and climate models in both the Arctic and the tropics. One of the most recent, ’Impact of soil moisture and convectively generated waves on the initiation of a West African mesoscale convective system’ shows how synoptic-scale processes, soil-moisture heterogeneity and convectively generated gravity waves interacted to trigger an observed mesoscale convective system over the West African Sahel. That such processes contribute to the initiation of moist convection over the Sahel has been known for some time, but Cathryn’s paper is one of very few that quantifies the relative importance of these processes for both the location and timing of the convection. The representation of convection is a key source of model bias in the tropics. Importantly, the paper takes the process understanding gained from detailed analysis of high-resolution models, to examine how these processes are represented in less complex models and assesses the implications for weather and climate prediction.

One of Cathryn’s particular strengths has been in confronting the weather and climate models with novel observations from field experiments to highlight modelling deficiencies in key physical processes. More recently, she has extended this analysis to comparing convection permitting models & observations with the coarser resolution (parametrised) models.

Cathryn graduated from the University of Leeds, UK, with a BSc Environmental Science in 2006, and received a PhD from the same institution in 2009 for her research on surface-atmosphere coupling over the central Arctic Ocean.
Until 2013 she was a Research Fellow at the Institute for Climate and Atmospheric Science, University of Leeds, working on convective life-cycles over African continental surfaces, the evaluation of convective contributions to water cycle feedbacks between the the land-surface and the atmosphere, high-resolution modelling of case studies and the evalution of operational weather and climate prediction models.

Cathryn is a now Research Scientist at the UK Met Office but is based in the School of Earth and Environment in Leeds. Her position was created as part of the official academic partnership between the UK Met Office and the University of Leeds and was designed to improve collaboration between the two research bodies. Her current work involves using convection-permitting model simulations to better understand tropical convection and the water cycle. She works with scientists both at the Met Office and the University to identify key convective processes and help develop and improve parameterisations.

A full list of her publications is available at


2013: Gert-Jan Steeneveld, Wageningen University
2012: Annika Seppälä, Finnish Meteorological Institute
2011: Tamás Gál, University of Szeged, Hungary
2010: John Marsham, University of Leeds, UK
2009: Raquel Nieto, University of Vigo, Spain
2008: Edit Hágel, Hungarian Meteorological Service, Budapest, Hungary
2006: Jan Kyselý, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Czech Republic
2005: Martijn P.C. de Jong, Delft University of Technology, Netherlands
2004: Szilvia Horvath, Universities of Szeged and Budapest, Hungary
2003: Daniela Meloni, University of Rome, Italy
Richard Forbes, University of Reading, United Kingdom