Tony McNally

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

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Tony McNally is a Principal Scientist in the ECMWF Research Department with primary responsibility for leading activities related to the exploitation of infrared satellite observations. He is also responsible for coordinating ECMWF collaboration with EUMETSAT and satellite assimilation training.

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  

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


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

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