Back to top

The Weather Forecast Research Team

Exceptional people.   Novel ideas.   Bold vision.

Photo: Aug 2019

Photo: Aug 2019


Senior Staff

Professor Roland Stull

Director
Professor Roland Stull

I am a Professor of Atmospheric Science. As director of the Weather Forecast Research Team (WFRT), my goal is to improve numerical weather prediction and apply it to the benefit of society. I also have extensive experience in atmospheric boundary layers, turbulence, dispersion, and air quality. I am a Certified Consulting Meteorologist, and fellow of both the Canadian Meteorological & Oceanographic Society (CMOS) and the American Meteorological Society (AMS).

Our 20-member team focuses on making high-resolution, real-time daily, operational ensemble numerical weather forecasts (NWP) for all of Canada, with emphasis on the complex terrain of western Canada. We use both dedicated in house computer clusters and remote cloud computing for our forecasts. This work is sponsored by a wide range of agencies and clients, including the Canadian federal government, provincial and territorial governments, regional and local governments, national and regional nonprofit organizations, energy industries, transportation industries, a wide range of consulting companies.

In addition to operational daily NWP, we do extensive research, including field work utilizing suites of specialized sensors including new instruments we have devised (rocketsonde buoy system, expendable smoke and weather sensors), theoretical work on atmospheric behavior and smoke dispersion, development of machine learning algorithms for big data analysis, and research on ensemble NWP. Our productivity can be seen in our roughly 120 journal publications and extensive participation in technical conferences.

As a professor, I also have fun teaching courses at all levels. Our newest course ATSC 313 is on Renewable Energy Meteorology. I also led the development of ATSC 113 Weather for Sailing, Flying, and Snow Sports. Each year I teach ATSC 201 Meteorology of Storms, and I help teach EOSC 114 Natural Disasters. In the past I’ve taught ATSC 303 on weather instruments, and ATSC 212 on Computer Programming for Atmospheric & Oceanic Sciences. On alternating years I teach grad courses ATSC 507 Numerical Weather Prediction Meteorology, and ATSC 595D Atmospheric Dispersion Modeling. I am also the author of two textbooks: “Practical Meteorology: An Algebra-based Survey of Atmospheric Science” which is free online, and “An Introduction to Boundary Layer Meteorology.”

But I am most proud of my research team. See their bios below.

  Awards & Achievements

Professor Roland Stull

Dr. Rosie Howard

Associate Director / Research Associate
Dr. Rosie Howard

I have been with the WFRT since January 2006, when I started my PhD. I moved here from England, with an MSc in Meteorology from the University of Reading. I thrive on variety in my work, and over the years I have worked on many different research projects spanning very different scales. These range from synoptic-scale research on the effects of the Tibetan Plateau on the global circulation, microscale snow research for the 2010 Vancouver winter olympics, post-processing of mesoscale numerical weather forecasts for Western Canada, to short-term forecasting and climatological analyses of flooding in the Rocky Mountains. I also have expertise in weather instrumentation. My current focus is Canada-wide wildfire smoke modelling. As Associate Director, I help to keep the team operating, supporting our students’ research and development projects across the board. Outside of work, I love to spend time in the mountains, trail running and snowboarding. I also enjoy travelling, gardening, and cooking.

  Awards & Achievements

  • UBC Science Co-op Employer / Supervisor Recognition Award (2021)
Dr. Rosie Howard

Dr. Henryk Modzelewski

Special Projects Director / Research Associate
Dr. Henryk Modzelewski

I have been with WFRT since the beginning. I started as a PhD student doing research in turbulence modelling and, after completing my PhD in 2004, I stayed with the team as Research Associate. I have been interested in modelling aspects of atmospheric physics from the very beginning of my research journey. First in modelling of air-pollution transport and expanding to broader aspects of numerical weather prediction with focus on turbulence models. Over the years my duties moved from research towards end-user application aspects of weather forecasting. Currently, I work part-time for the team and I am mostly involved in special projects for users of our forecasts as well as in maintaining our real-time forecast operations.

Dr. Henryk Modzelewski

Dr. Wolf Read

Research Staff
Dr. Wolf Read

I became a member of the WFRT in May 2020. My expertise lies in extreme weather events, wind-tree interactions and electrical grid damage caused by windstorms. I am also an expert in practices for managing wind hazard in forest stands. Specific areas of interest include the climatology and meteorology of coastal windstorms, atmospheric rivers and snowstorms, and forecasting these and other events. I am an instructor in physical geography, teaching courses in weather & climate and natural hazards. I sometimes work as a consultant on extreme storms.

Dr. Wolf Read

Graduate Students

Liam Buchart

PhD Student
Liam Buchart

I joined the WRFT in September 2021 as a PhD student. I am from Edmonton, AB where I completed my BSc (Hon.) in Atmospheric Science from the University of Alberta and completed an undergraduate thesis focused on shoaling internal solitary waves. I then went on to complete a MSc where I studied sea ice model sensitivities in the Canadian Arctic. I have had a passion for weather from a young age and have enjoyed following and predicting severe weather on the prairies. My interest in weather prediction grew when I obtained an undergraduate position with Environment and Climate Change Canada. Here, I assisted in tracking and gathering reports of severe weather across the prairies to be used for weather warnings and bulletins. During this time, I grew my love for numerical weather prediction and boundary layer processes. My research interests are primarily focused on mountain meteorology, boundary layer parameterizations, as well as turbulent orographic form drag and physically based stochastic parameterizations. In my free time I love to run, hike, and read novels; I am also growing my mountaineering skills for future trips to the mountains.

Liam Buchart

Timothy Chui

PhD Student
Timothy Chui

I am a PhD candidate in Atmospheric Science, working under Prof. Stull as a researcher specializing in numerical weather prediction (NWP). Much like many of the other researchers on this team, my interest in weather started from a young age. However, my focus started narrowing towards NWP when I first worked under Roland as an undergraduate research assistant in 2014. After having graduated with a BSc. (Hon.) in Atmospheric Science at UBC, I joined the team full-time as a graduate student. My research is on improving multi-scale weather prediction on unstructured meshes, specifically on spherical centroidal Voronoi tessellations (SCVT). I have expertise with installing and running the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model and the Model for Prediction Across Scales (MPAS), and leveraging cloud-computing technologies such as the Google Cloud Platform to run such models within a high-performance computing (HPC) context. I also serve as an assistant sys admin on the team, and have experience working with a variety of weather- and air-quality-related software. Outside of work, I enjoy hiking, reading, and video games (though, unlike what most people would expect, I have not played Heavy Rain).

  Awards & Achievements

  • EOAS Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award (2020)
  • Four-Year Doctoral Fellowship (2017 - 2021)
  • Canada Graduate Scholarship - Doctoral (2017 - 2021)
  • Canada Graduate Scholarship - Master’s (2016 - 2017)
  • Undergraduate Student Research Awards (2014 & 2015)
Timothy Chui

Anthony Di Stefano

PhD Student
Anthony Di Stefano

I am a PhD student in Atmospheric Science and joined this research team at UBC in September 2016. I am originally from Montreal, Quebec, Canada, where I graduated with an Honours BSc in Atmospheric Science from McGill University. My research interests include cloud and precipitation microphysics, numerical weather prediction (NWP), mesoscale meteorology and applied remote sensing. In particular, my thesis will explore the optimization of microphysics schemes in NWP models with high-quality data retrievals from ground-based polarimetric radar. I am an enthusiast and practitioner of inclusive teaching and learning, and completed a Certificate in Advanced Teaching and Learning (CATL) at UBC in 2018. Outside the PhD life, I love biking, reading, creative writing, trying to be funny, and enjoying the company of friends and family.

  Awards & Achievements

  • EOAS Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award (2018)
Anthony Di Stefano

Nicolas Duboc

MSc Student
Nicolas Duboc

I joined the Weather Research Forecast Team (WRFT) in July 2022 as a master’s student in Atmospheric Science. In 2020 I graduated from Florida Institute of Technology with two Bachelors of Science in Aviation Meteorology and Aeronautical Science and a minor in Unmanned Aerial Systems. During my time as an undergrad I also received my multi-engine Commercial Pilot Certificate as well as an instrument rating and conducted research in anomalies of turbulence forecasts and observations. Shortly after graduating, I was given the opportunity to work as a Post-Bachelor Research Assistant for the Information Systems and Modeling Group (A-1) in Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). During my time at LANL I worked onseveral projects involving the Quick Urban and Industrial Complex (QUIC) Dispersionmodel, the Higher Order Turbulence Model for Atmospheric Circulation (HOTMAC) transport modeling system, and the development of a low-order diffusive wake model for wind energy power forecasts. I am fascinated by mountain flows and the effect they have in both large- and small-scale dynamics. During my time at UBC, I look forward to exploring flows in complex terrain through the improvement of my scientific programming abilities, utilization of my meteorological knowledge, and collaboration with the rest of the team. During my free time I am a computer building enthusiast and love to build, upgrade, and push the limits of personal computer systems. I am also an amateur photographer, enjoy hiking, camping, and snowboarding.

Nicolas Duboc

Eva Gnegy

PhD Student
Eva Gnegy

I joined the WFRT in May 2021 and am a current PhD student in Atmospheric Science. I grew up near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and received my Bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan in Aerospace Engineering with a minor in climate science. During my undergrad career, I conducted space weather research in Hermanus, South Africa and severe weather fieldwork in Tornado Alley, as well as designed and built wind turbines for local elementary schools. Between U-M and UBC, I worked at a regional center in Michigan that helps vulnerable communities manage climate change risks in the Great Lakes region, where my main project involved determining if climate models with complex lake physics actually outperform models with poor or no lake representation around the Great Lakes. For my current research, I am developing a dynamically downscaled climate model for the Salish Sea region that will be used as input to ocean models from Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Outside of research, some of my interests are K-12 science and engineering outreach, cooking (not baking!), painting, gardening, and taking care of my aquariums.

  Awards & Achievements

  • W.H. Mathews Scholarship (2022)
  • Ian T. OKABE Prize in Climatology (2022)
Eva Gnegy

Bryan Jansens

PhD Student
Bryan Jansens

I am working on my PhD as part of the WFRT, with a focus on improving numerical weather prediction (NWP) forecasts for damaging wind events in British Columbia. I also am interested in wind power and help maintain a system that makes forecasts for wind farm operators across BC. I have lived in many places across Canada, but grew up mostly in Calgary, AB. Academically, my background includes a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from the University of Calgary (2007) and a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics from the University of Calgary (2015). My undergraduate honours project focused on studying the chemical and isotopic composition of aerosols in precipitation in Calgary. I subsequently came to the University of British Columbia to do a Diploma in Meteorology, and after finishing this program in the spring of 2017 I joined Dr. Stull’s group as a Master’s student. I moved from the Master’s program to the PhD program in September 2018. Outside of work I enjoy travelling and exploring new places, as well as getting to know my new home of Vancouver better. And although I didn’t pursue it for a career, I still enjoy reading and studying history as well.

  Awards & Achievements

  • Four-Year Doctoral Fellowship (2018 - 2022)
Bryan Jansens

Julia Jeworrek

PhD Student
Julia Jeworrek

I joined the WFRT in 2016 with a B.Sc. degree in Meteorology from the University of Mainz (Germany) and a M.Sc. degree in Meteorology from the University of Uppsala (Sweden). Before moving to Vancouver I worked with satellite data as a research assistant at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, I investigated convective snow bands over the Baltic Sea using regional climate modelling, and I took various internships, for example, at the German National Meteorological Service (Deutscher Wetterdienst). My current research interest at the WFRT is focused on the predictability of precipitation. I studied the so-called “grey zone” and evaluated systematic variations in physics parameterizations to optimize a numerical weather prediction model for precipitation forecasts. In the last part of my PhD I am trying to develop an analog post-processing technique, in which sub-daily precipitation predictions are corrected based on forecasts of similar atmospheric conditions in the past. Besides atmospheric sciences, I also enjoy exploring the great outdoors, playing the cello, as well as taking, editing, and developing photos.

  Awards & Achievements

  • Chih-Chuang and Yien-Ying Wang Hsieh Memorial Scholarship (2021 & 2022)
  • 4th place at the Oral Presentation Student Competition - AMS 27th Conference on Probability and Statistics (2022)
  • EOAS Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award (2021)
  • W.H. Mathews Scholarship (2020)
  • Ian T. OKABE Prize in Climatology (2019)
Julia Jeworrek

Elise Legarth

PhD Student
Elise Legarth

I am a PhD student in Atmospheric Science and joined the WFRT at UBC in September 2021. I am originally from New Zealand where I completed my BSc in Earth Science and Agribusiness from The University of Waikato and my MSc in Hydrology from Massey University. Alongside my academic career, I have worked as a consultant hydrologist. I have worked many projects that utilise rainfall-runoff modelling to predict future river flows and flood levels. The large influence weather predictions have on the validity of model outputs spurred my interest in atmospheric science and prompted me to pursue my PhD in this area. My current research aims to develop an improved methodology for estimating probable maximum precipitation and probable maximum flood with regard to climate change, using a coupled atmospheric hydrological model, statistical post-processing and machine learning. Outside of work and study, you will likely find me with a paddle in my hand. I love kayaking, including canoe sprint, surf ski and canoe polo disciplines and enjoy exploring the outdoors.

  Awards & Achievements

  • Vanier Scholarship (2022 - 2025)
Elise Legarth

Reagan McKinney

PhD Student
Reagan McKinney

In May of 2021 I joined the research team as a master’s student. Prior to this, I studied environmental engineering at the University of Waterloo where I had numerous research opportunities through the coop program. This included copious amounts of field work across Northern Alberta, Ontario and the Northwest Territories in wetland hydrology, gas exchange, hydrometeorology and remediation. I also had the opportunity to work as a research and development assistant to a start-up wind turbine company geared towards northern communities. It was in this position that I found a passion for weather research. At UBC I will be putting my field work skills and engineering background to use studying wildfires and aiding in the enhancement of models. In my spare time you can find me in the fresh air running, backpacking, skiing, climbing, paddling or trying to get a crossword PR.

  WFRT Member of the Season - Spring 2022
Recognized her hard work and dedication to our fieldwork and instrumentation projects; her public outreach initiatives; being supportive and welcoming to new team members; her outstanding contributions to the team in general.

Reagan McKinney

Jill Psotka

MSc Student
Jill Psotka

I joined the WFRT as a master’s student in July 2022. Prior to this, I completed my undergraduate degree in astrophysics at Western University. My undergraduate thesis was focused on using models of hygroscopic growth of particulates to calibrate a low-cost air quality sensor. During my undergrad, I also completed an internship at the Canadian Space Agency where I programmed scheduling algorithms for one of Canada’s satellites, NEOSSat. I decided to pursue a master’s in atmospheric science because I love that meteorology and atmospheric dynamics are large-scale, visible examples of the physics that govern our world. For my master’s thesis, I am excited to apply my passion for coding and physics to a machine learning project with the goal of improving wind forecasting. I enjoy skiing, hiking, and playing the piano in my free time.

Jill Psotka

Chris Rodell

PhD Student
Chris Rodell

I am a Ph.D. Student in Atmospheric Science and have been part of the UBC Weather Forecast Research (WFR) Team since May of 2019. Originally from Colorado, I obtained a BA in Physical Geography and a BS in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences from the University of Colorado, Boulder. During that time, I also received a certificate in weather forecasting from Penn State University. My research focus is on coupled atmosphere-wildland fire behavior modeling, forest fuel moisture forecasts, wildfire smoke forecasting, and field observations of controlled burns. I am currently developing low-cost, in situ instruments to observe/profile the vertical concentration of PM2.5 in wildfire smoke plumes. I am also working on a Numerical Weather Prediction derived Fire Weather Forecast Model to assess the moisture content within varied layers of the forest fuels (vegetation). My outside interests include snowboarding, climbing, backpacking, and biking.

  Awards & Achievements

  • W.H. Mathews Scholarship (2020)
  • David Bates Scholarship (2019)
Chris Rodell

Grace Warne

MSc Student
Grace Warne

In May 2021 I had the pleasure of joining UBC’s Atmospheric Science master’s program. As of December 2020, I received a Bachelor of Science from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia. During my undergraduate studies, I focused on dynamic, mesoscale, and synoptic meteorology, along with minors in geographic information science and geography. Within this time I discovered my passion and curiosity for severe weather, specifically extreme precipitation and tornadic events. During the summer of 2019, I had the opportunity to experience such severe weather firsthand, as I participated in the Virginia Tech Great Plains Storm Chase. This experience led me to pursue a semester-long study on synoptic-scale and mesoscale characteristics that take part in focusing and intensifying precipitation during flash flood events. At UBC I hope to learn and apply machine learning techniques to identify environmental conditions most conducive to severe weather in complex terrain such as in British Columbia. Outside of my studies, you will typically find me exploring nature, painting, or baking.

Grace Warne

Undergraduate Students

Miles Epstein

Undergraduate Research Assistant
Miles Epstein

I joined the WFRT in May 2022 after my third year as an undergraduate at UBC, where I am majoring in Atmospheric Science and Computer Science. Growing up in Portland Oregon, I loved following the local weather and this hobby led me to study atmospheric science. Although I do not yet have a focused area of study, I am interested in using computers to help the public and answer questions in the world of atmospheric science. For instance, my honours thesis involves using machine learning to forecast snow-to-liquid ratio and my work for the WFRT includes setting up an online tool, BlueSky-Pipeline, for forecasting wildfire smoke. With the WFRT, I hope to learn about techniques used in the field and narrow the focus of my studies. Some of my other interests include skiing, golfing, and cooking.

Miles Epstein

Wang Jiaxin (Elena)

Undergraduate Research Assistant
Wang Jiaxin (Elena)

I am a statistics undergraduate student at UBC, and I am going to finish my two co-op terms as an Undergrad Student Analyst in WFRT. My duties include creating the dataset from MISR data (remotely-sensed satellite data) by MINX software to evaluate the BlueSky smoke forecasting model and conducting statistical analysisand comparison of the dataset from SmartFire. I also write up results in the final report for review and assist other team members to do other types of data acquisition, quality control, statistical analysis, results plotting, and other analysis work involving numerical weather prediction. I gained more interest in meteorology through this co-op position and am willing to choose data analysis about weather predicting or smoke forecasting as my further learning goal. In my spare time, I like editing videos, hiking and baking.

Wang Jiaxin (Elena)

Clinton Macadam

Undergraduate Research Assistant
Clinton Macadam

In May of 2021 I had the pleasure of joining the research team as an undergraduate student majoring in Atmospheric Science. I grew up on Vancouver Island and have been interested in weather from a young age. My current research interests include optimizing wet deposition parameters in wildfire smoke forecasts, mesoscale meteorology, and renewable energy weather. With the WFRT, I hope to further develop my skills in programming, modelling and data analysis, and apply these skills to meaningful research projects in atmospheric science. Some of my outside interests include skiing, hiking, swimming, and astronomy.

Clinton Macadam

Kat Pexa

Undergraduate Research Assistant
Kat Pexa

I am an undergraduate student in Atmospheric Science at UBC, and I am grateful to be joining the WFRT for the summer of 2022. I am originally from Saskatchewan, where I first gained interest in weather from watching prairie thunderstorms every summer, and blizzards every winter. I am interested in atmospheric circulation, cloud physics, and climate change. In my free time, I like rock climbing, baking and playing violin.

Kat Pexa

IT Staff and Technicians

Roland Schigas

Research Staff
Roland Schigas

I joined the WFRT in 2012 with an engineering degree and experience working in pulp and paper and online services. During those years I gradually pivotted from machine design and manufacturing through quality management and into system administration and software development. Since joining the WFRT I have had the challenging and rewarding responsibility of being part of a small group that enables the team to conduct innovative research while also delivering reliable, high-quality operational forecast products and services. In addition to system administration, I’m responsible for development and operations of the BlueSky Canada wildfire smoke forecasting system at firesmoke.ca.

Roland Schigas

Adjunct Faculty

Dr. Greg West

Adjunct Professor
Dr. Greg West

Dr. Greg West is a meteorologist at BC Hydro (the province’s primary electrical utility) and an Adjunct Professor at UBC, and has been working with the Weather Forecast Research Team (WFRT) at UBC since 2010. He has a background in synoptic and mountain meteorology and WRF modeling, and since joining the WFRT, has developed expertise in a range of areas. These include hydrometeorology, wind energy, probabilistic forecasting, verification, post-processing (including machine-learning-based methods), and others. UBC and BC Hydro have developed a very fruitful working relationship over the years, where the WFRT develops and builds forecast tools, methods, and products for BC Hydro. West serves as a liaison between the two groups.

Dr. Greg West

Dr. Doug McCollor

Adjunct Professor
Dr. Doug McCollor

I am an instructor for ATSC 113 (Weather for Sailing, Flying & Snow Sports). This is a first-year course in Applied Meteorology for any UBC student since there are no prerequisites. Over 10,000 students have taken this course since 2018. I am an instructor for ATSC 313 (Renewable Energy Meteorology), a course about weather and hydro, wind, and solar power. Prior to being a UBC instructor I was the manager of Meteorology Services for BC Hydro, western Canada’s largest utility. In this role I worked closely with the WFRT to develop custom weather analysis and forecast products for BC Hydro. Earlier I was a senior meteorologist with Environment Canada, providing operational weather forecasts for public, aviation, marine, and commercial clients.

  Awards & Achievements

  • Open Champion’s Award from the UBC Alma Mater Society (2021)
  • The Rube Hornstein Medal in Operational Meteorology (2019)
Dr. Doug McCollor

Visiting Scientists & Engineers

Dr. Pavel Kukuliac

Visiting Professor
Dr. Pavel Kukuliac

I work as an assistant professor of geoinformatics at the Technical University of Ostrava in the Czech Republic and am on sabbatical with the UBC Earth, Ocean & Atmospheric Sciences (EOAS) department. I am involved in developing and enhancing the interactive web mapping tools for forest-fire smoke forecasting. I earned my Ph.D. in geoinformatics at the Technical University of Ostrava. My thesis was centred on the creation of a new distance-based tool to assess spatial point patterns using the stochastic Monte Carlo simulation. My professional experience includes designing, maintaining and updating GIS databases, analysing spatial data, and developing web-map applications, scripts and tools to automate daily tasks. I’m currently interested in spatial-focused big data analysis and machine learning algorithms. My intention is to explore these tools and apply them to specific problems within the field of GIS. My outside interests include hiking, cycling, running, playing soccer, and exploring new places.

Dr. Pavel Kukuliac