Chris Old


Personal profile


2018 – PRESENT:    Research Associate
Institute for Energy Systems, School of Engineering, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK

My research focuses on advance site measurement and characterisation for ORE development, quantifying the limitations of and identifying ways to improve regional modelling for the ORE sector, and advancing methods for the processing, management, storage and accessibility of scientific and industrial data.

2017 – 2018:    Post-Doctroal Research Assistant
Meteorology, School of Mathematical Physical & Computational Sciences, University of Reading, Reading, UK

Assessed the use of a 1-D ocean mixed layer model for adjusting satellite-based SST retrievals to the diurnal mean SST for climate research, including code debugging and corrections to physics implementations. Developed a method to parameterise the uncertainty in the modelled diurnal mean adjustments. Worked on parameterising the uncertainties in steric sea-level data derived from ARGO data for a project aimed at quantifying the sea-level budget closures. Collaborated with NPL and ECMWF on defining methodologies to improve data traceability. I worked remotely from Edinburgh on this fixed term contract.

2016 – 2017:    Maps Metadata and Georeferencing Assistant
National Library of Scotland, Maps Archive, Causewayside, Edinburgh, Scotland

This was a fixed term post I used to develop my GIS/Web service skills. The main task was to clear a back-log of digitization work for the provision of more advanced on-line maps services. This included the generation and quality control of metadata for digitised map imagery; sorting, cleaning, rotation and cropping of raw digital imagery; the generation of thumbnail and scalable imagery from raw files; the construction of georeferenced shape files linked to imagery metadata; updating metadata on the digital imagery database; updating HTML webpage scripts providing links to new imagery; georeferencing and tiling selected maps for use in a geospatial web service. I developed and maintained a PostgreSQL/PostGIS geospatial database for managing the shape files and gazetteer data. I linked the geospatial database to Geoserver and built the relevant data layers to be served. I developed an Amazon Web Service for testing the viability of building a bespoke gazetteer server for NLS use.

2014 –2016:    Senior Earth Observation Specialist
Stevenson Astrosat Ltd, Musselburgh, Scotland

Senior member of a small team of developers working towards the delivery of satellite-based data products to be integrated into marketable data services. This role included advanced data processing, numerical modelling, the integration of data products into GIS systems, web development, project management, personnel management, and the communication of technical aspects of our work to non-specialists and potential customers. I constructed, managed and maintained a small (8-node) computing cluster used to run fluid dynamic models, and provide high-end data processing capability. I developed software tools to process satellite SAR, optical, and thermal infrared imagery, satellite altimetry data, airborne lidar data, and point cloud data gathered from a terrestrial laser scanner. The target applications included ocean surface current mapping, coastal erosion monitoring and large-area flood monitoring.

2012 – 2013:    Post-Doctoral Research Fellow
School of GeoSciences, Global Change Research Institute, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK

Prototyping software tools to apply statistical cloud clearing methods to thermal infrared satellite imagery with specific application to cloud clearing over land. Development of methods for improving the representation of tropical cyclone cold wakes for assimilation into numerical weather prediction models.

2011 – 2012:    Physical Oceanographer
Physics, Sea Ice and Technology Group, SAMS, Scottish Marine Institute, Oban, UK

Production of commercial scientific reports for the Business Development Unit, data analysis and field work planning for a collaborative research project, field support for sea-glider deployments, field support for external teaching programs, and assessment of acoustic instruments for commercial tender (ADCP Waves Array).

2009 – 2011:    Research Officer (Physical Oceanography)
School of Ocean Sciences, University of Wales, Bangor, UK

Development of acoustic methods for measuring turbulence dissipation rates in low energy environments using data from off-the-shelf instruments (ADCP, ADV, UDVP). Collection and processing of turbulence data from a vertical microstructure profiler. Teaching Applied Physical Oceanography to MSc students, supervision of MSc student projects (both lab based and in the field). Experimental design and data analysis support for PhD students. Experiment design and implementation on an ocean-going research cruise aboard the NERC vessel RRS Discovery.

2008:    Student of Traditional Boat Building
Boat Building Academy, Lyme Regis, UK

Constructed a 14 foot Whitehall pulling boat. Awarded the City & Guilds Level 3 Certificate in Boat Building, Maintenance and Support, and the Boat Building Academy Certificate of Achievement with Distinction. This was a 9 month intensive course (mid-March to mid-December).

 2004 – 2008:    Post-Doctroal Research Fellow
Institute of Atmospheric and Environmental Science, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK

Developed software tools to implement operationally a Bayesian cloud clearing scheme for thermal infrared satellite imagery. The software tools I developed are being used operationally in the USA and Australia. I also assisted in the validation of a version update of the radiative transfer model RTTOV.

2001 – 2004:    Post-Doctoral Research Assistant
Environmental Systems Science Centre, University of Reading, Reading, UK

Carried out a diagnostic study of the output from the Hadley Centre’s Coupled Climate model (HADCM3) to determine the processes involved in North Atlantic oceanic heat storage and the impact on decadal scale climate variability in Western Europe.

2000 – 2001:    Research Scientist
Maritime Systems Group, Defence Technology Agency, Auckland, New Zealand

Developed object-oriented software components for an integrated combat simulator used to evaluate surface-ship defence systems. The simulations components were designed to operate in both active and passive modes within the simulator environment.

1999 – 2000:    Research Assistant
Department of Marine Science, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

Designed and ran advanced GPS-based hydrographic surveys for the Department of Marine Science at a number of locations around New Zealand.  Surveys included the deployment of moored S4 current meters, thermistor strings and tide gauges, and spatial surveys using a vessel mounted ADCP and a series of CTD casts.

1993 – 1995:    Part-time Lecturer / Tutor
Faculty of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Griffith University, Gold Coast, Australia

Ran the faculties Introduction to Computing course, tutored in Computing, Mathematics and Physics, ran skills enhancement workshops, and taught an evening Mathematics bridging course.

1990 – 1993:    Research Scientist
Acoustics Division, Defence Scientific Establishment, Auckland, New Zealand

Developed software tools for the processing and display of data from passive sonar systems for end-user evaluation. This included the development of an in-place beamformer in assembler to provide near-real time processing of towed-array data, two-end-point ray tracing solutions for acoustic propagation in water columns with a complex vertical and horizontal structure.

Education/Academic qualification

Phyiscal Oceanography, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), The structure and dynamics of an ebb tidal jet., University of Otago


Physics, Master of Science, Hydrodynamic tidal modelling, University of Auckland


Physics, Bachelor of Science, The University of Waikato



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