Tony McNally

Head of Earth System Assimilation
Research Department, Earth System Assimilation Section


Tony McNally is the Head of Earth System Assimilation and a Principal Scientist. He is responsible for leading activities in the ECMWF Research Department related to the exploitation of observations and development of the centre's advanced data assimilation systems.

Professional interests:

Exploitation of satellite-based radiation measurements of the atmosphere to support research and operational activities in Numerical Weather Prediction, Climate Reanalyses and Atmospheric Composition.

In particular:

  • Using satellite observations to improve numerical analyses that provide initial conditions for NWP models and optimising assimilation systems to make best use of these data.
  • Using satellite observations in process studies to better understand important atmospheric phenomena such as the Hadley Circulation, Tropical cyclones, orographic gravity waves and sudden stratospheric warming.
  • Improving the handling of satellite signal contamination due to clouds, aerosol species and anomalous atmospheric gas concentrations (pollution). 
  • Developing automated detection, correction and alarm systems to monitor the quality of observations from the global network of meteorological satellites.
  • Assessing the relative impacts of different types of satellite observations and the resulting socio-economic benefit in the wider context of future mission design.
Career background:

1989 to present day. European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts
Current position : Research Department Principal Scientist and Head of Earth System Assimilation

1996 -1997 NOAA (USA) National Centre for Environmental Prediction (NCEP)
Seconded to Research Department working on satellite data assimilation and future space mission planning

External recognitions

JCSDA (NOAA/NASA/DOD) Scientific Steering Panel

NOAA JPSS Scientific Advisory Panel

ESA GEO-MW Advisory Panel

EUMETSAT Scientific Working Group for IASI (ISSWG)


EUMETSAT Mission Advisory Group for MTG-IRS

GODEX-NWP (International Observation Exchange) Chair

Peer Reviewed Publications

  • McNally A.P., 1990. Satellite sounding of tropospheric temperature and humidity.  Thesis accepted by The Oxford University Faculty of Physical Sciences for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
  • McNally A.P., 1992: Satellite Data in Numerical Weather Prediction. NATO ASI Series: Remote sensing and global climate change. vol 24 pp. 175-206. Published by Springer Verlag (Berlin), ed. R.Vaugn and A.Cracknell.
  • Eyre J.R., Kelly G., McNally A.P., Andersson E., and Persson A., 1993: Assimilation of TOVS radiances through one-dimensional variational analysis. Q.J.R. Meteorol. Soc., 119, pp.1427-1463
  • Andersson E., Thepaut J.N., Eyre J.R., McNally A.P., Kelly G., Courtier P., and Pailleaux J., 1994: Use of cloud cleared radiances in three/four dimensional variational data assimilation. Q.J.R. Meteorol. Soc., 120, pp. 627-653.
  • Rizzi R., C.Serio, G.Kelly, V.Tramutoli, A.P.McNally, V.Cuomo,. 1994: Cloud clearing of infrared sounder radiances. J. Appl. Meteorol. 33 pp. 179-194
  • McNally A.P. and M. Veperini, 1996: Variational analysis of humidity information from TOVS radiances. Q.J.R. Meteorol. Soc. 122, pp 1521-1544.
  • Rabier F., A. McNally, E. Andersson, P. Courtier, P. Unden, 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 part B, pp 1809.
  • McNally A.P., J. Derber, W. Wu, B. Katz,  2000: The use of TOVS level-1b radiances in the NCEP SSI analysis system. Q.J.R. Meteorol. Soc. 126  pp 689.-724.
  • McNally A.P. 2000: Estimates of short-range forecast temperature error correlations and the implications for radiance data assimilation.  Q.J.R. Meteorol. Soc. 126  pp 361-373.
  • E. Andersson, M. Fisher, R. Munro and A.P. McNally 2000: Diagnosis of background errors for radiances and other observable quantities in a variational data assimilation scheme, and the explanation of a case of poor convergence.  Q.J.R. Meteorol. Soc. 126 pp 1455-1472
  • Chevallier F., P. Bauer, G. Kelly, C. Jakob and A. McNally 2001: Model clouds over oceans as seen from space: Comparison with HIRS/2 and MSU radiances.  J. Clim 14 pp 4612:4229
  • McNally A.P. 2002 A note on the occurrence of cloud in meteorologically sensitive areas and the implications for advanced infrared sounders. Q.J.R. Meteorol. Soc. 128 pp 2551-2556
  • McNally A.P. and P.D. Watts 2003, A cloud detection algorithm for high spectral resolution IR sounders. Q.J.R. Meteorol Soc. 129 pp. 3411-3423.
  • Simmons, A., M. Hortal, G. Kelly, A. McNally, A. Untch and S .Uppala 2003 ECMWF analyses of stratospheric winter polar vortex break up: September 2002 in the Southern Hemisphere and related events. Special Issue of the Journal of Atmospheric Sciences on the Antarctic stratospheric sudden warming and split ozone hole of 2002.
  • Engelen RJ, E.Andersson, F. Chevallier, A. Hollingsworth, M. Matricardi, A.P. McNally, JN. Thepaut and P. Watts.  2004 Estimating atmospheric CO2 from advanced IR satellite radiances within an operational 4D-Var data assimilation system: Methodology and first results. Journal Geophys Res. 109
  • Uppala, S. M., KÅllberg, P. W., Simmons, A. J., Andrae, U., Bechtold, V. D. C., Fiorino, M., Gibson, J. K., Haseler, J., Hernandez, A., Kelly, G. A., Li, X., Onogi, K., Saarinen, S., Sokka, N., Allan, R. P., Andersson, E., Arpe, K., Balmaseda, M. A., Beljaars, A. C. M., Berg, L. V. D., Bidlot, J., Bormann, N., Caires, S., Chevallier, F., Dethof, A., Dragosavac, M., Fisher, M., Fuentes, M., Hagemann, S., Hólm, E., Hoskins, B. J., Isaksen, L., Janssen, P. A. E. M., Jenne, R., Mcnally, A. P., Mahfouf, J.-F., Morcrette, J.-J., Rayner, N. A., Saunders, R. W., Simon, P., Sterl, A., Trenberth, K. E., Untch, A., Vasiljevic, D., Viterbo, P. and Woollen, J. (2005), The ERA-40 re-analysis. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 131: 2961\u20133012. doi: 10.1256/qj.04.176
  • Engelen RJ and McNally A.P. Estimating atmospheric CO2 from advanced IR satellite radiances within an operational 4D-Var data assimilation system, Results and validation. 2005 Journal Geophys Res. 110, D18305
  • McNally A.P., P.D. Watts, J.A. Smith, R.Engelen, G. Kelly, JN. Thepaut and M. Matricardi 2006,  The assimilation of AIRS radiance data at ECMWF Q.J.R. Meteorol Soc. 132 pp. 935-957.
  • Andersson, E., Hólm, E., Bauer, P., Beljaars, A., Kelly, G. A., McNally, A. P., Simmons, A. J., Thépaut, J.-N. and Tompkins, A. M. (2007), Analysis and forecast impact of the main humidity observing systems. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 133: 1473\u20131485. doi: 10.1002/qj.112
  • T.Auligne and A.P. McNally  2007, Interaction between bias correction and quality control Q.J.R. Meteorol Soc. 133 pp. 643-653.
  • T.Auligne, A.P. McNally and D.P. Dee, 2007, Adaptive bias correction for satellite data in a NWP system. Q.J.R. Meteorol Soc. 133 pp. 631-642.
  • C Peubey, A.P. McNally 2009 Characterization of the impact of geostationary clear-sky radiances on wind analyses in a 4D-Var context. Q.J.R. Meteorol Soc. volume 135, Issue 644, Date: October 2009 Part A, Pages: 1863-1876
  • Collard, A. D. and McNally, A. P. (2009), The assimilation of Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer radiances at ECMWF. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 135: 1044\u20131058. doi: 10.1002/qj.410
  • A. P. McNally 2009 The direct assimilation of cloud-affected satellite infrared radiances in the ECMWF 4D-Var,  Q.J.R. Meteorol Soc, Volume 135, Issue 642, Date: July 2009 Part A, Pages: 1214-1229
  • Han, W. and McNally, A. P. (2010), The 4D-Var assimilation of ozone-sensitive infrared radiances measured by IASI. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 136: 2025\u20132037. doi: 10.1002/qj.708
  • Collard, A. D., McNally, A. P., 2011 Hilton, F. I., Healy, S. B. and Atkinson, N. C. , The use of principal component analysis for the assimilation of high-resolution infrared sounder observations for numerical weather prediction. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society,. doi: 10.1002/qj.701
  • Hilton, F., R. Armante, T. August, C. Barnet, A. Bouchard, C. Camy-Peyret, V. Capelle, L. Clarisse, C. Clerbaux, P.-F. Coheur, A. Collard, C. Crevoisier, G. Dufour, D. Edwards, F. Faijan, N. Fourrié, A. Gambacorta, M. Goldberg, V. Guidard, D. Hurtmans, S. Illingworth, N. Jacquinet-Husson, T. Kerzenmacher, D. Klaes, L. Lavanant, G. Masiello, M. Matricardi, A. McNally, S. Newman, E. Pavelin, S. Payan, E. Péquignot, S. Peyridieu, T. Phulpin, J. Remedios, P. Schlüssel, C. Serio, L. Strow, C. Stubenrauch, J. Taylor, D. Tobin, W. Wolf, D. Zhou, 2012: Hyperspectral Earth Observation from IASI: Five Years of Accomplishments, Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 93, 347-370
  • Dragani, R. and A.P. McNally, 2013: Operational assimilation of ozone-sensitive infrared radiances at ECMWF. Quart. J. Roy. Meteor. Soc., doi:10.1002/qj.2106
  • Matricardi, M. and A. P.McNally, 2013: The direct assimilation of principal components of IASI spectra in the ECMWF 4D-Var. Q.J.R. Meteorol. Soc.. doi: 10.1002/qj.2156.
  • Rodwell, M.J., L. Magnusson, P. Bauer, P. Bechtold, M. Bonavita, C. Cardinali, M. Diamantakis, P. Earnshaw, A. Garcia-Mendez, L. Isaksen, E. Källén, D. Klocke, P. Lopez, T. McNally, A. Persson, F. Prates and N. Wedi, 2013: Characteristics of occasional poor medium-range weather forecasts for Europe, Bull. Am. Meteorol. Soc., doi: 10.1175/BAMS-D-12-00099.1
  • McNally, A.P., J-N Thepaut and M. Bonavita 2014: The Role of Satellite Data in the Forecasting of Hurricane Sandy. Monthly Weather Review, vol 142, no 2 pp 634-646.
  • Lupu, C., Cardinali, C. and McNally, A. P. (2015), Adjoint-based forecast sensitivity applied to observation-error variance tuning. Q.J.R. Meteorol. Soc. doi: 10.1002/qj.2599
  • Bormann N, Bonavita M, Dragani R, Eresmaa R, Matricardi M, McNally A. 2016. Enhancing the impact of IASI observations through an updated observation-error covariance matrix. Q.J.R.Meteorol.Soc. 142: DOI:10.1002/qj.2774.
  • Eresmaa, R., Bormann N., Letertre-Danczak,J., Lupu,C., McNally A.P., (2017) The assimilation of Cross-track Infrared Sounder radiances at ECMWF. Q.J.R. Meteorol. Soc. doi 10.1477/qj.870
  • McNally, AP. On the sensitivity of a 4D‐Var analysis system to satellite observations located at different times within the assimilation window. Q J R Meteorol Soc. 2019; 145: 2806– 2816.
  • Lean, P,  Hólm, EV,  Bonavita, M,  Bormann, N,  McNally, AP,  Järvinen, H.  Continuous data assimilation for global numerical weather prediction. Q J R Meteorol Soc.  2020; 1– 16.

Other Publications

  • McNally A.P., P.D. Watts, 1988: The sensitivity of a minimum variance analysis scheme to the values of its principal parameters.  Tech. Proc. IV Int. TOVS Study Conf.  Igls, Austria, 16-22 March 1988. pp. 399-412.
  • McNally A.P., 1989: Use of three-dimensional cloud information in the analysis of TOVS radiances. Tech. Proc. V Int. TOVS Study Conf, Toulouse, France, July 1989.
  • McNally A.P., 1991: Radiance errors in a one-dimensional variational analysis of TOVS data. Tech. Proc. VI Int. TOVS Study Conf, Virginia, USA; 1-6 May 1991 pp. 332-338.
  • McNally A.P., J.Eyre, G.Kelly, E.Andersson, 1993: Experiments using a one-dimensional variational analysis of TOVS data at ECMWF. Proc. VII Int. TOVS Study Conf. Igls, Austria, 10-16 February 1993. pp. 308-318.
  • McNally A.P., J.R.Eyre, G.Kelly, E.Andersson, M.Vesperini. 1995: Variational analysis of humidity information from TOVS radiances at ECMWF. Tech. Proc. VIII Int. TOVS Study Conf. Queenstown, New Zealand. 5-11 April 1995.
  • McNally A.P. 1999:  The use of raw TOVS / ATOVS radiances in the ECMWF 4D-Var analysis system.  Tech. Proc. X Int. TOVS Study Conf. Boulder (CO) USA 27th January - 2nd February 1999.
  • McNally A.P. 1999 :The use of raw TOVS / ATOVS radiances in the ECMWF 4D-Var analysis system.  Report on the ECMWF Workshop on the use of ATOVS data for NWP.  2-5th November 1999. Reading UK.
  • McNally A.P. 1999 :The use of raw TOVS / ATOVS radiances in the ECMWF 4D-Var analysis system.  Report on the ECMWF Workshop on the use of ATOVS data for NWP.  2-5th November 1999. Reading UK.
  • P.D. Watts and A.P. McNally 2004, Identification and correction of radiative transfer modeling errors for atmospheric sounders: AIRS and AMSU-A Proc. ECMWF Workshop on Assimilation of high spectral resolution sounders in NWP, 28 June - 1 July 2004
  • W. Han and A.P. McNally 2008 Bias correction of window channels on microwave and infrared sounders, EUMETSAT NWP-SAF Visiting Scientist Report NWPSAF-EC-VS-016