Peter Read

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Peter Read

Professor of Physics

I am a Professor in the Department of Physics, and Fellow and Tutor in Physics at Trinity College, University of Oxford, UK. In the Department I currently lead the Geophysical and Planetary Fluid Dynamics group, in which we investigate the fundamental dynamics underpinning the circulations of planetary atmospheres and oceans.

Until April 2019 I was also the Joint Chair of the Oxford-Met Office Academic Partnership, which was launched formally in October 2013. In this role I worked with various colleagues across the whole of the University to promote stronger links and collaboration between Oxford researchers and the Met Office and its other academic partners. In practice, this is mainly focused on various aspects of climate science and its applications. The current Joint Chair is Tim Woollings - see for more details.

I currently lecture on geophysical and planetary fluid dynamics in the final year Physics of Atmospheres and Oceans course. At Trinity College I am senior subject tutor, and teach roughly half the first and second year undergraduate courses in mainstream physics and mathematics, and on third year fluid flow, chaos and complexity, to Trinity and St John's students.

I have worked in the Atmospheric, Oceanic and Planetary Physics sub-Department at Oxford since 1991, where I head the Geophysical and Planetary Fluid Dynamics research group. Current research activities include a strong element of fundamental hydrodynamics with applications to planetary atmospheres and oceans, particularly with regard to dynamical and transport processes in rotating fluids, and the development of chaotic flow through the nonlinear interactions of baroclinic and barotropic waves (highly relevant to the atmosphere of Mars) and other processes (e.g. inertia-gravity waves, geostrophic turbulence etc.). I am also closely involved in a number of specifically planetary projects, including the development of simplified and comprehensive General Circulation Models (GCMs) of the atmospheres of Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, Venus etc. and the application of advanced meteorological data assimilation methods (as used in operational weather forecasting) to the analysis of spacecraft observations of planetary atmospheres.

I was a Co-investigator on the PMIRR (Pressure Modulator Infrared Radiometer) team for NASA's Mars Climate Orbiter mission (launched in December 1998 and lost in September 1999!), with responsibility for producing global analyses of atmospheric structure and meteorology from the PMIRR and radio science observations via data assimilation. I am also a Co-investigator on the CIRS (Composite Infrared Spectrometer) team for the NASA/ESA Cassini orbiter mission (launched in October 1997 and finished in September 2017), and am involved in studies of dynamical processes in the atmospheres of Jupiter, Saturn and Titan. I am also a Co-investigator on the Mars Climate Sounder instrument team on the NASA Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter mission (launched in 2005), responsible for studies of the atmospheric circulation and meteorology of Mars. We are in the process of extending this work using new data being acquired by the ACS instrument on ESA's Trace Gas Orbiter mission to Mars, launched in 2016.

I am a Fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society (RMS), the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) and a member of the European Geosciences Union. Between 1996 and 2000 I was Chairman of the Interdisciplinary Working Group on Nonlinear Processes in Geophysics in the European Geophysical Society, and have been associate editor of the journals Physics and Chemistry of the Earth and Surveys in Geophysics. I was also Associate Editor and later Co-Editor of the Quarterly Journal of the RMS from 2000 to 2008. I am now Editor in Chief of the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Planetary Sciences - a new initiative by Oxford University Press (New York). See and for recent articles.