Symons Gold Medal for Professor Sue Grimmond

Pioneering urban meteorologist is the first female recipient of the Symons Gold Medal

Professor Sue Grimmond has become the first female recipient of the Royal Meteorological Society’s prestigious Symons Gold Medal.

The Symons Gold Medal is awarded every two years to recognise notable work in connection with meteorological science. The medal was established in 1901 in memory of British meteorologist George James Symons FRS, who founded the British Rainfall Organisation. Previous recipients include Sir William Napier Shaw, Tor Bergeron and Sir John Houghton.

Professor Grimmond’s nomination recognises her research excellence in understanding urban climates, her outstanding contribution to improving the environment in cities around the world, and the selfless fostering of young researchers. Her long-term observations and unique datasets have had a significant impact on weather and climate predictions, as well as understanding the effects of air pollution, which has influenced long term urban planning and policy. Through her work with leading organisations such as the World Meteorological Organization, Met Office and International Association of Urban Climate, she has ensured that cutting edge science can be translated into operational services for the built environment.

Originally from New Zealand, Professor Grimmond’s expert advice is respected across the globe and she has served on numerous advisory boards and steering committees. Through her curiosity and enthusiasm for environmental sciences, she is a mentor for many young urban climate researchers who have gone on to hold academic, research, and leadership positions in major research organisations and universities around the world.

Professor Grimmond said: “I am very honoured to receive the 2020 Symons Gold Medal. Almost exactly two hundred years ago, Luke Howard wrote about the differences in air temperature observed in and around London. His seminal book, ‘The Climate of London’, is widely cited as founding the field of urban climatology. Urban climatology is now a vibrant field, addressing pressing scientific issues with profound implications for human health and wellbeing and sustainable global futures.

 … My research, both in measurement and modelling, would not have been possible without all those I have had the privilege to work with – undergraduate and postgraduate students, post-docs, technicians, administrative support staff, academics, and research colleagues in multiple cities around the world. To all of them, to those that have funded and enabled this work, to my family, and to the Royal Meteorological Society for recognising urban climatology with this award, thank you.”

The Symons Gold Medal is just one of the Awards and Prizes for 2020 announced by the Royal Meteorological Society (RMetS) to recognise people and teams who have made exceptional contributions to weather, climate and associated disciplines.

Citations and acceptance messages of the winners for 2020 are available on the RMetS’s website at

2020 RMetS Awardees


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