Florence Rabier

Office of the Director-General


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.