Florence Rabier

Office of the Director-General

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Dr Rabier has been Director-General of ECMWF since January 2016, after two years leading the Centre’s Forecast Department. Her career so far has taken her back and forth between Météo-France and ECMWF.

Dr Rabier is an internationally recognised expert in Numerical Weather Prediction, whose leadership has greatly contributed to delivering major operational changes at both ECMWF and Météo-France. She is especially well known within the meteorological community for her key role in implementing an innovative data assimilation method (4D-Var) in 1997, which was a first worldwide and contributed to an optimal use of satellite observations in weather forecasting. She also led an international experiment involving a major field campaign over Antarctica, in the context of the International Polar Year and the WMO THORPEX programme.

Professional interests: 
  • Numerical Weather Prediction
  • Data assimilation
  • Use and verification of weather predictions
Career background: 

Director of Forecasts at ECMWF: 2013-2015

  • Participation to the management and strategy of ECMWF at Directorate level
  • Responsible for operational implementations, model diagnostics and evaluation, forecast verification, observation monitoring, specialist software development, data services and user support.
  • Executive of the Scalability Programme and of the OOPS project within the programme.

Deputy Head of Groupe de Modelisation pour l'Assimilation et la Prevision: 2011-2013

  • Responsible for the operational changes performed on the NWP models
  • Participating to the strategy and management of the division
  • Coordination of the meteorological component of an FP7 European project on resilience to natural hazards (submersion in coastal areas)
  • Member of international scientific committees
  • Member of World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Working Groups, including the Working Group on Numerical Experimentation (WGNE)
  • Research on the assimilation of the Meteosat Third Generation Infra-Red Sounder data (MTG/IRS)

Head of the Observations Section: 2001-2010

  • Responsible for the development and operational changes in the use of observations in the NWP models
  • Responsible for the international Concordiasi project financed by the French Space Agency and the American National Science Foundation, in collaboration with other laboratories. I coordinated a field experiment in Antarctica dedicated to the validation of the assimilation of IASI (Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer) data and the improvement of meteorological models in polar areas
  • Co-chair of the data assimilation and observing strategies working group of the THORPEX programme of the WMO
  • Regular integrations of new satellite data in the operational Meteo-France models and optimisation studies on the assimilation of satellite data
  • Project manager of the OLIVE project for the set-up and management of NWP experiments through an interactive web-based interface, in collaboration with the forecasting and computer departments

Scientist in the assimilation of IASI data

  • Responsible for the preparation to the use of the hyper-spectral sounder IASI developed by CNES and EUMETSAT
  • Leader of a contract between Météo-France and the Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique for the preparation of the assimilation of IASI data
  • Studies on the optimal channel selection for IASI

Scientist in data assimilation: 1992-1998

  • Responsible for the implementation of a new data assimilation method (4D-Var) in 1997, which was a first worldwide
  • Studies on the forecast error covariance model used in variational data assimilation
  • Studies on and implementation of the adjoint sensitivity of forecast error to initial conditions
  • Research on forecast error statistics

Wave modelling: 1985-1986
Meteo-France/Prevision Marine

  • Optimisation and implementation of the wave model at Météo-France
External recognitions: 

She has been awarded the title of “Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur”, one of the highest decorations awarded by the French honours system, and the Great Prize of the Air and Space Academy for the IASI project (Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer) and its atmospheric and weather applications.

  1. Rabier, F., and P. Bernardet, 1991: Variational analysis of orographic waves. Beitr. Phys. Atmosph., Vol. 64, No. 3, pp207-217.
  2. Rabier, F., and P. Courtier, 1992: Four-dimensional assimilation in the presence of baroclinic instability. Q.J.R.Meteorol.Soc., 118, pp 649-672.
  3. Rabier, F., P. Courtier, and O. Talagrand, 1992: An Application of Adjoint Models to Sensitivity Analysis. Beitr. Phys. Atmosph., Vol. 65, No. 3, pp 177-192.
  4. Rabier, F., P. Courtier, J. Pailleux, O. Talagrand and D. Vasiljevic, 1993: A comparison between four-dimensional variational assimilation and simplified sequential assimilation relying on three-dimensional variational analysis. QJRMS, 119, pp845-880.
  5. Courtier, P. and F. Rabier, 1996: The use of adjoint equations in Numerical Weather prediction. The André J. Robert Memorial volume. Charles A. Lin, René Laprise and Harold Ritchie eds. Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society/ NRC Research Press, pp303-322.
  6. Rabier, F., E. Klinker, P. Courtier and A. Hollingsworth, 1996: Sensitivity of forecast errors to initial conditions. QJRMS, 122, pp121-150.
  7. Filiberti, M-A., F. Rabier, J-N. Thépaut, L. Eymard and P. Courtier, 1998: Four-dimensional variational assimilation of SSM/I precipitable water content data. Q.J.R.Meteorol.Soc., 124, pp 1734-1770.
  8. Courtier, P., E. Andersson, W. Heckley, J. Pailleux, D. Vasiljevic, M. Hamrud, A. Hollingsworth, F. Rabier and M. Fisher, 1998: The ECMWF implementation of three dimensional variational assimilation (3D-Var).  Part I: Formulation. Q.J.R.Meteorol.Soc., 124, 1783-1807.
  9. Rabier, F. A. McNally, E. Andersson, P. Courtier, P. Undén, J. Eyre, A. Hollingsworth and F. Bouttier, 1998: The ECMWF implementation of three-dimensional variational assimilation (3D-Var). II: Structure functions. Q.J.R.Meteorol.Soc., 124, pp 1809-1829.
  10. Andersson, E., J. Haseler, P. Unden, P. Courtier, G. Kelly, D. Vasiljevic, C. Brankovic, C. Cardinali, C. Gaffard, A. Hollingsworth, C. Jakob, P. Janssen, E. Klinker, A. Lanzinger, M. Miller, F. Rabier, A. Simmons, B. Strauss, J-N. Thépaut and P. Viterbo,  1998: The ECMWF implementation of three dimensional variational assimilation (3D-Var).  Part III: Experimental results. Q.J.R.Meteorol.Soc., 124, 1831-1860.
  11. Rabier, F., J.-N. Thépaut and P. Courtier, 1998: Extended assimilation and forecast experiments with a four-dimensional variational assimilation system. Q.J.R.Meteorol.Soc., 124, pp 1861-1887.
  12. Klinker, E., F. Rabier and R. Gelaro, 1998: Estimation of key analysis errors using the adjoint technique. Q.J.R.Meteorol.Soc., 124, pp 1909-1933.
  13. Rabier, F., H. Jarvinen, E. Klinker, J-F. Mahfouf and A. Simmons, 2000: The ECMWF operational implementation of four-dimensional variational assimilation. Part I: Experimental results with simplified physics. Q.J.R.Meteorol.Soc., 126, pp 1143-1170.
  14. Mahfouf, J-F. and F. Rabier, 2000: The ECMWF operational implementation of four-dimensional variational assimilation. Part II: Experimental results with improved physics. Q.J.R.Meteorol.Soc., 126, pp 1171-1190.
  15. Klinker, E., F. Rabier, G. Kelly and J-F. Mahfouf, 2000: The ECMWF operational implementation of four-dimensional variational assimilation. Part III: Experimental results and diagnostics with operational configuration. Q.J.R.Meteorol.Soc.,  126, pp 1191-1215.
  16. Rabier, F., N. Fourrié, D. Chafaï and P. Prunet, 2002 : Channel selection methods for Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer radiances. QJRMS, 128, pp 1011-1027.
  17. Liu, Z. and F. Rabier, 2002: The interaction between model resolution and observation resolution and density in data assimilation: A one-dimensional study. Q.J.R.Meteorol.Soc., 128, 1367-1386.
  18. Liu, Z.-Q. and Rabier, F., 2003. The potential of high-density observations on Numerical Weather Prediction: A study with simulated observations. Q. J. R. Meteorol. Soc., 129, 3013-3035.
  19. Fourrié, N .  et F. Rabier , 2004 : Cloud characteristics and channel selection for IASI radiances in meteorologically sensitive areas, QJRMS, 130, 1839-1856.
  20. Chapnik, B.,  G. Desroziers, F. Rabier, and O. Talagrand, 2004 : Properties and first applications of an error statistics tuning method in variational assimilation.. QJRMS, 130, 2253-2275.
  21. Dahoui, M., Lavanant L., Rabier, F., and Auligné T., 2005 : Use of the MODIS imager to help dealing with AIRS cloudy radiances. Quart. J. R. Met. Soc., 131B, 610, 2559-12580.
  22. Chapnik, B., G. Desroziers, F. Rabier and O. Talagrand., 2006: Diagnosis and tuning of observational error statistics in a quasi-operational data assimilation setting. QJRMS, 132, 543-565.
  23. Rabier, F., 2006: Importance of data: a meteorological perspective. Chapitre 12 du livre de  Chassignet, E.P., and J. Verron (Eds.), 2006: Ocean Weather Forecasting: An Integrated View of Oceanography. Springer, 577 pp.
  24. Fourrié N., Marchal D., Rabier F.,  Chapnik B., and G. Desroziers, 2006 : Impact study of the 2003 North Atlantic THORPEX Regional Campaign, Quart. J. R. Met. Soc, 132, 275 – 295.
  25. Rabier, F., 2005:  Overview of data assimilation developments in Numerical Weather Prediction centres . Quart. J. R. Met. Soc, 131, 3215-3233.
  26. Karbou F., E. Gérard, and F. Rabier , 2006, Microwave Land Emissivity and Skin Temperature for AMSU-A & -B Assimilation Over Land, Q. J. R. Meteorol. Soc., 132, N°620 pp. 2333-2355.
  27. Montmerle, T., F. Rabier and C. Fischer, 2007: Respective impact of polar-orbiting and geostationary satellites observations in the Aladin/France numerical weather prediction system. Quart. J. Roy. Meteor. Soc., 133, 655-671.
  28. Poli, P., P. Moll,  F. Rabier, G. Desroziers, B. Chapnik, L. Berre, S.B. Healy, E. Andersson, F.-Z. El Guelai, 2007: Forecast Impact Studies of Zenith Total Delay Data from European Near Real-Time GPS Stations in Meteo France 4DVAR, J. Geophys. Res., 112, D06114, doi :10.1029/2006JD007430.
  29. Rabier, F., Gauthier , P., Cardinali, C.,  Langland, R., Tsyrulnikov, M., Lorenc, A.,  Steinle, P., Gelaro, R., Koizumi, K., 2008: An update on THORPEX-related research in Data Assimilation and Observing Strategies. Nonlinear Processes in Geophysics, 15, 81-94, 2008.
  30.  Montroty, R., F. Rabier, S. Westrelin, G. Faure and N. Viltard, 2008: Impact of wind bogus and cloud and rain affected SSM/I data on tropical cyclones analyses and forecasts. QJRMS, 134, 1673-1699.
  31. Poli, P., J. Pailleux, V. Ducrocq, P. Moll, F. Rabier, M. Mauprivez, S. Dufour, M. Grondin, F. Carvalho, J-L Issler, A, De Latour, L. Ries, 2009 : Meteorological Applications of GNSS from Space and on the Ground. Inside GNSS, Vol 3, Number 8, 30-39.
  32. Poli, P., S. Healy, F. Rabier, J. Pailleux, 2009 :  Preliminary assessment of  the scalability of GPS Radio-Occultations impact in Numerical Weather Prediction. Geophys. Res. Lett., 35, L23811, doi:10.1029/2008GL035873.
  33. Poli, P., Moll, P., Puech, D., Rabier, F., Healy, S.B., 2009 : Quality control, error analysis, and impact assessment of FORMOSAT-3/COSMIC in numerical weather prediction. Terrestrial, Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, 20 (1), 101-113, doi:10.3319/TAO.2008.01.21.02(F3C).
  34. Faccani, C., F. Rabier, N. Fourrié, A. Agusti-Panareda, F. Karbou, P. Moll, J-P Lafore, M. Nuret, F. Hdidou, and O. Bock, 2009: The impacts of the AMMA radiosonde data on the French global assimilation and forecast system. Weather and Forecasting, Vol 24, 1268-1286.
  35. Pangaud T., N. Fourrié, V. Guidard, M. Dahoui, F. Rabier, 2009 : Assimilation of AIRS radiances affected by mid to low-level clouds. MWR. Volume 137, Issue 12 (December 2009) pp. 4276-4292
  36. Karbou, F., E. Gérard and F. Rabier, 2010: Global 4D-Var assimilation and forecast experiments using land surface emissivities from AMSU-A and AMSU-B observations. Part I: Impact on sounding channels. Weather and Forecasting, 25, 5-19.
  37. Karbou, F., F. Rabier, J-P Lafore, J-L Redelsperger, and O. Bock, 2010: Global 4D-Var assimilation and forecast experiments using land surface emissivities from AMSU-A and AMSU-B observations. Part II: Impact of adding surface channels on the African monsoon during AMMA. Weather and Forecasting, 25, 20-36.
  38. Rabier, F., A. Bouchard, E. Brun, A. Doerenbecher, S. Guedj, V. Guidard, F. Karbou, V.-H. Peuch, L. E. Amraoui, D. Puech, C. Genthon, G. Picard, M. Town, A. Hertzog, F. Vial, P. Cocquerez, S. Cohn, T. Hock, H. Cole, J. Fox, D. Parsons, J. Powers, K. Romberg, J. VanAndel, T. Deshler, J. Mercer, J. Haase, L. Avallone, L. Kalnajs, C. R.Mechoso, A. Tangborn, A. Pellegrini, Y. Frenot, A. McNally, J.-N. Thépaut, G. Balsamo and P. Steinle, 2010 : “The Concordiasi project in Antarctica” Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. January 2010, 69-86.
  39. Guedj S., F. Karbou, F. Rabier, A. Bouchard, 2010: Toward a better modelling of surface emissivity to improve AMSU data assimilation over Antarctica. IEEE transactions on geoscience and remote sensing, Vol. 48, NO. 4, 1976-1985.
  40. Bouchard A, F. Rabier, V. Guidard & F. Karbou, 2010 : Enhancements of satellite data assimilation over Antarctica. MWR, June 2010, 138, 2149-2173.
  41. Fink, A. H., A. Agustí-Panareda, D. J. Parker, J-P. Lafore, J-B. Ngamini, E. Afiesimama, A. Beljaars, O. Bock, M. Christoph, F. Didé, C. Faccani, N. Fourrié, F. Karbou, J. Polcher, Z. Mumba, M. Nuret, S. Pohle, F. Rabier, A. M. Tompkins, and G. Wilson, 2010: “Operational meteorology: observational networks, weather analysis and forecasting”. Atmospheric Science Letters. DOI: 10.1002/asl.324
  42. Gérard É., F. Karbou, F. Rabier, 2010: Rabier: Potential use of Surface Sensitive Microwave Observations over Land in Numerical Weather Prediction, IEEE Trans on Geoscience and Remote sensing, 49 Issue 4, 1251 - 1262. DOI 10.1109/TGRS.2010.2075936
  43. Brun, E., D. six, G. Picard, V. Vionnet, L; Arnaud, E. Bazile, A. Boone, O. Bouchard, C. Genthon, V. Guidard, P. Le Moigne, F. Rabier, Y. Seity, 2011. Snow-atmosphere coupled simulation at Dome C, Antarctica, Journal of Glaciology, Vol. 52, No. 204, 2011.
  44. Guedj, S., F. Karbou and F. Rabier, 2011: Land surface temperature estimation to improve the assimilation of SEVIRI radiances over land. J. Geophys. Res., 116, D14107, doi :10.1029/2011JD015776.
  45. Guidard, V., N. Fourrié, P. Brousseau and F. Rabier, 2011 : Impact of IASI assimilation at global and convective scales and challenges for the assimilation of cloudy scenes. QJRMS. Volume 137, Issue 661, October 2011 Part B, Pages: 1975–1987
  46. Lavanant L., A. Arriaga , N. Fourrié , A. Gambacorta , G. Grieco, S. Heilliette, F. Hilton , M-J. Kim, A. McNally, H. Nishihata , E. Pavelin., F. Rabier, B. Ruston, C. Stubenrauch, 2011: "Comparison of cloud products within IASI footprints for the assimilation of cloudy radiances. QJRMS, Volume 137, Issue 661, October 2011 Part B, Pages: 1988–2003.
  47. Vincensini, A., A. Bouchard, F. Rabier, V. Guidard, N. Fourrié et O. Traullé, 2012 : IASI retrievals over Concordia within the framework of the Concordiasi programme in Antarctica. IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON GEOSCIENCE AND REMOTE SENSING, VOL. 50, NO. 8, AUGUST 2012. 2923-2933.
  48. Haase J. S., J. Maldonado-Vargas, F. Rabier, P. Cocquerez, M. Minois,V. Guidard, P. Wyss, A. V. Johnson, 2012 : A proof-of-concept balloon-borne Global Positioning System radio occultation profiling instrument for polar studies. GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 39, L02803, 5 PP., 2012 doi:10.1029/2011GL049982
  49. Drobinski, P., F. Karbou, P. Bauer, P. Cocquerez, C. Lavaysse, T. Hock, D. Parsons, F. Rabier and J-L . Redelspeger,  2012 : Driftsonde observations to evaluate numerical weather prediction of the late 2006 African monsoon. J. Appl. Meterol. Climatol. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/JAMC-D-11-0176.1
  50. Guedj, S, F. Karbou, F. Rabier, V.Guidard and T. Montmerle, 2012: Improved assimilation of observations from SEVIRI over land. Submiited to ASL.
  51. Rabier F, S Cohn, P Cocquerez, A Hertzog, L Avallone, T Deshler, J Haase, T Hock,  A Doerenbecher, J Wang, V Guidard, JN Thépaut, R Langland, A Tangborn, G Balsamo, E Brun, D Parsons, J Bordereau, C Cardinali, F Danis, JP Escarnot, N Fourrié, R Gelaro, C Genthon, K Ide, L Kalnajs, C Martin,  L-F Meunier, J-M Nicot, T Perttula, N Potts, P Ragazzo, D Richardson, S Sosa-Sesma, A Vargas : The Concordiasi field experiment over Antarctica: first results from innovative atmospheric measurements.  BAMS meeting summary. doi: 10.1175/BAMS-D-12-00005.1
  52. Martinet P., N. Fourrié, V. Guidard, F. Rabier, T. Montmerle et P. Brunel, 2012: Towards the use of microphysical variables for the assimilation of cloud-affected infrared radiances. Sous presse, DOI: 10.1002/qj.2046
  53. Faijan, F., L. Lavanant, F. Rabier, 2012: Towards the use of cloud microphysical and optical properties to simulate IASI spectra in an operational context. J. Geophys. Res., 117, D22205, doi:10.1029/2012JD017962.
  54. Gazeaux, J.,C.  Clerbaux, M. George, J Ladji-Lazaro,  J. Kuttippurath, P-F. Coheur, D. Hurtmans, T. Deshler,  M. Kovilakam, P. Campbell, V. Guidard, F. Rabier, and Jean-Noël Thépaut, 2013 : Intercomparison of polar ozone profiles by IASI/MetOp sounder with 2010 Concordiasi radiosonde observations. AMT.
  55. Martinet, P., L. Lavanant, N. Fourrié, F. Rabier et A. Gambacorta, 2013 : Evaluation of a revised IASI channel selection for cloudy retrievals with a focus on the Mediterranean basin. In revision for the QJRMS.
  56. Karbou, F., F. Rabier et C. Prigent, 2013 : The assimilation of observations from the Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit over sea ice in the French global Numerical Weather Prediction system. Submitted to MWR.
  57. Cohn, S., T. Hock, P. Cocquerez, J. Wang, F. Rabier, D. Parsons, P. Harr, C-C Wu,  P ; Drobinski, F. Karbou, S. Venel, A. Vargas, N. Fourrié, N. Saint-Ramond, V. Guidard, A. Doerenbecher, H-H Hsu , M-D  Chou, J-L Redelsperger, C. Martin, J. Fox, N. Potts, K. Young, H. Cole, 2013: Driftsondes: providing in-situ long-duration dropsonde observations over remote regions. Accepted at the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.