Fran Morris

Fran Morris


I’m a second-year PhD student in the Atmospheric and Cloud Dynamics group in the Institute of Climate and Atmospheric Science.

I graduated with an MPhys in Physics in June 2019, having spent my fourth year working in the Earth Observation Data Group in Oxford University’s Atmospheric, Oceanic, and Planetary Physics department, supervised by Dr Simon Proud and Professor Don Grainger. My MPhys project used geostationary satellite and radiosonde data to investigate the properties of above-anvil cirrus plumes over severe convective systems in the US. I then spent the summer working in the same group, supervised by Dr Anu Dudhia, evaluating a new technique for fast linear retrievals of trace gases using IASI.

After this I moved to Leeds to start my PhD in October 2019, investigating the relationship between mesoscale convection and large-scale circulation in the tropics.

PhD Project

My thesis title is “Organized Convection and Large-Scale Circulation in the Tropics, from a Potential Vorticity Perspective”, and I am supervised by Juliane Schwendike and Doug Parker at Leeds. My project is funded by the NERC Panorama DTP, and CASE-funded by the Met Office, where my supervisor is Caroline Bain.

More specifically I focus on examining mesoscale convective systems (MCSs) in West Africa and their impacts on the larger-scale circulation in the region. MCSs are not only high-impact weather but also are one of the dominant processes in determining the thermodynamic profile of the atmosphere over West Africa, but their interactions with the wider atmospheric circulation are defined by complicated feedbacks that aren’t well-understood. The project aims to investigate and quantify some of these feedbacks through examining model ouputs and theoretical analysis. 

The main focuses of the project are

  • Examining organised convection in convection-permitting models in West Africa
  • Comparing representation of scale interactions in convection-permitting models and models with convection parameterisations
  • Applying understanding of scale interactions to improving operational weather modelling 

Research interests

  • Physics and dynamics of storm systems
  • Convective organisation and its interactions with large-scale circulation
  • Tropical meteorology
  • Convection-permitting models


I’m passionate about education at degree level and am keen to get more experience teaching and demonstrating, but so far while I’ve been at Leeds I’ve worked as a demonstrator for the following modules:

  • SOEE1312/2431: Advanced Maths 2 – Class Tutor, 2020-2021, marking 2020
  • SOEE1401: Weather – Workshop Leader, 2021
  • SOEE3700: Practical Weather Forecasting – Demonstrator, 2021
  • SOEE2041: Advanced Mathematics 3 – marking 2020
  • SOEE2661: Advanced Mathematics 4 – marking 2021


Along with Matilda, I am one of the PGR reps for our year in ICAS. I also help organise Dynamics group meetings and have a lot of opinions about the microlinguistics/social science topic of Daily Express weather news headlines. 


  • MPhys Physics - University of Oxford

Research groups and institutes

  • Institute for Climate and Atmospheric Science
  • Atmospheric and Cloud Dynamics