This is the blog of John Kennedy – occasionally known as the Diagram Monkey0 and micefearboggis.

I’m a climate scientist with a background in physics1. Currently self-employed and working on a short contract for WMO. Between 2003 and 2022, I worked at the Met Office on the development of climate data sets with a particular focus on quantification of uncertainty and the usability of uncertainty information. I was the lead author for the HadSST3 and HadSST4 data sets. These data sets were used in the HadCRUT4, HadCRUT5 and Berkeley Earth global temperature datasets. I also developed the sea-surface temperature component of the HadISST2 data set used in the ERA5 generation of ECMWF reanalyses and maintained the HadISST1 data set. The quality control system I developed for marine data was used in the creation of these datasets and underpins the Copernicus marine in situ data service as well as the marine component of the HadISDH humidity data set. I was work-package lead on the Horizon 2020 EUSTACE project and I am on the expert advisory board of the NERC GloSAT project. I’ve also done work for the ESA SST CCI, including developing the code used for SST dataset inter-comparison in the Climate Assessment Reports.

Since 2003, I have also been active in climate monitoring, writing seasonal and annual monitoring reports for policy makers, as well as annual contributions to the BAMS State of the Climate report as author (on global temperature, sea surface temperature and the regional chapter on Europe) and reviewer (of the global section) and writing a series of annual “Global and Regional Climate in 20**” published in Weather between 2004 and 2022. I was scientific coordinator/lead author for the WMO State of the Global Climate report for 2014, 2015, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 and co-lead the WMO Expert Team on Climate Monitoring and Assessment that oversees the WMO’s global and regional State of the Climate reports as well as writing and updating guidance on monitoring-related topics including Guidelines on the Definition and Characterization of Extreme Weather and Climate Events. I was formerly lead of the short-lived Expert Team on the WMO Climate Statement, lead of the Task Team on National Climate Monitoring Products (which developed guidance, software and instructions for calculating – no surprise – National Climate Monitoring Products).

I developed automated dashboards for displaying climate data for the Met Office (key indicators, extremes, sea level) and WMO (key indicators, regional temperatures). The Met Office dashboards were intended to provide easy access and accessible background on key indicators for policy makers. The WMO dashboards (code) were devised to support production of the global and regional State of the Climate reports.

When not sciencing, I do the following things with great enthusiasm but varying degrees of success and regularity:

  • Garden according to a vague but well-meant organic philosophy whose efficacy is hard to gauge because every summer I’ve had a garden has been appalling for some reason (too hot and dry; too wet and cold; then too cold and dry followed by too hot and dry).
  • Engrave glass
  • Embroider
  • Paint
  • Drawing/illustration
  • 3D computer graphics animation stuff made using Blender.
  • Play computer games4
  • Read
  • Climb3
  • Build nativities
  • Cook5

All posts, pages, view and opinions here are my own. This is not, sadly, a promise of novelty: it’s a disclaimer. Except for stuff in the comments. That’s nothing to do with me. I reserve the right to not publish your comment.

I reserve the right to change my opinions too. Some might find that disturbing or else believe that they have somehow caught me in a contradiction.

I also reserve the right to exercise a sense of humour without employing smileys. Some might find that disturbing or else believe that they have somehow caught me in a contradiction.

Given my proven ability to sow confusion with a mere 1402 characters on Twitter (as @micefearboggis) and Mastodon (as @micefearboggis on the fediscience instance), I fully expect to be misunderstood at greater length here.

If you are going to join in, be nice. If you can’t be nice, be civil. If you can’t be civil, begone.

0 For the first fewc years as a climate scientist, I spent a long time making plots for people more senior than myself, so naturally I was dubbed a diagram monkey. I wasn’t even the most senior diagram monkey. I was like a minor diagram monkey.

1 BA and MSc in Natural Sciences, specialising in physics, after having dabbled in geology, and material sciences. I also studied remote sensing, shock waves and explosions and information theory besides the more traditional physics-y stuff like the dynamicsa. PhD in high-energy physics searching for particles that weren’t thereb.

2 Or more, these days.

3 Technically. I haven’t climbed in over a decade. However, I have a theory that “climber” is not defined by performance of the particular activity, but is, in fact, a way of being (or character defect if you prefer) that becomes apparent during the performance of that activityd. Also, my experience of climbing was that 95% of time spent “climbing” is spent doing other things: drinking water while meditatively gazing at the landscape, stretching, applying finger tape, walking to the crag, waiting for the lead to nerve themselves for the crux, lying exhausted on my bouldering mat and questioning my life choices. In that respect, little has changed, but the objective dangers.

4 A choice that mystifies my more serious colleagues, and me from time to time.

5 Borderline hobby this one, given one must eat to survive. Nevertheless, I obtain more from the process than mere sustenance.

a thermo- fluid- electro- etc.

b Probably weren’t there.

c Several… OK, all of them. As time went on, the number of people more senior than me managed not to diminish meaningfully.

d In a similar sense, there have always been astronauts who, until the advent of space travel, had no idea what was missing from their lives.


7 thoughts on “About”

  1. Wonderful stuff. Thanks for the ‘ne plus ultra’ on the ENSO Wrap! Don’t know if you have included our monthly climate and water video yet, but feel free to include if you think it would add value to the list – http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/outlooks/#/overview/video

    • Thanks Andrew, and thanks for putting out so much useful material. I actually look forwards to the ENSO wrap updates with a 10-days-till-Christmas kind of anticipation. I’d overlooked the outlooks. I didn’t realise you did transcripts to go with them.


  2. Hi John!
    I wanted to ask if you’d be okay with me using your tweet thread about fitting an orange into your mouth as an audition piece. (With full credit to you as the author, of course.)
    It begs to be performed, ideally by someone with greater reach, but I assure you my mother will find it enormously funny when I practice it on her. I hope that will suffice.

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