David Schultz

David Schultz is Professor of Synoptic Meteorology

I was delighted to win the 2012 Faculty Best Teacher of the Year award, which was entirely student nominated and selected.

My research

Much of my research is aimed at improving weather forecasts. My primary interests are in two weather phenomena: low-pressure systems and convective storms (e.g. thunderstorms). Low-pressure systems are hundreds of kilometres in diameter and are associated with fronts. My research explores the factors that control the structure and evolution of low-pressure systems and their fronts. In contrast, convective storms can be as small as tens of kilometres across. These storms can produce heavy rains, damaging winds, lightning, hail, and tornadoes, so better understanding and forecasting them would save lives and property.

I tend to follow my nose on interesting research problems, so my research – although focused on synoptic and mesoscale meteorology – often crosses disciplinary boundaries. Some of my many interests include the origin and evolution of oxygen in the atmosphere, atmospheric chemistry modelling, how precipitation can be better predicted over glaciers, making climate models and weather forecast models run faster, and how the scientific publication process works.

My teaching

This School is different to the other universities that I have been a part of. Academics respect each other and enjoy working together on important interdisciplinary problems. This School is an example to others of how to work across disciplinary boundaries.

I enjoying teaching undergraduates in our School because I think I have an opportunity to help them become better communicators. No matter what career students take after graduation, communication skills are crucial to being a success in life.

All the classes that I teach include a writing assignment, where students receive detailed feedback from me, and then have to rewrite the assignment. I find this is the most effective way for students to see how to improve their own writing. My biggest reward in these exercises is seeing the students that “get it” and make huge leaps in their ability to communicate their ideas.

In my meteorology class, students get to use real-time forecasting tools similar to what actual weather forecasters use. In my 'Planet Earth' class, I enjoy incorporating new research results into my lectures to demonstrate to students that science is not composed of old and mouldy information. Lots of new discoveries are being made every year that affect what they need to know about their chosen discipline.

My measure of success

As a teacher I know I have done a good job if students are able to ask questions critical of what they’ve just read, and evaluate information on their own.

What makes me smile

Discovering the unknown! I love the idea that I've thought of something that maybe no one has ever thought before. And as a scientist it is always a great achievement to overturn conventional wisdom with new research results; Geraint Vaughan and I recently debunked a 90-year old idea of how occluded fronts form.

I was delighted to win the 2012 Faculty Best Teacher of the Year award, which was entirely student nominated and selected.

I have been at Manchester since 2009. Since then, I have built up a large research group with students and researchers from across the world who excite me with their enthusiasm and interests in atmospheric science. It would be difficult to imagine leaving this behind.

Find out more

▲ Up to the top