Phil Evans is now the Director General of EUMETSAT, appointed to that positions as of January 1, 2021, taking over from Alain Ratier.
Before starting at EUMETSAT, he was the Director of Physics Programs for the Institute of Physics, where he was responsible for education, and science and innovation programs, a role that aligns with his sensitivity for the social impact of science. In addition, before that experience, he spent more than three decades in several senior positions at the UK Met Office, where he honed his technical skills in remote sensing and weather and climate simulations, and acquired experience in managing international collaborations. In his role at the Met Office, he was also leading the UK delegation to EUMETSAT, and was, thus, already in close contact with the institution and its values and people.
2020 might remain in history as a pivotal year in many meteorological respects: beyond the fact that it ends the warmest decade in the history of temperature recordings, it has also seen some of the most intense and longer-lasting wildfires in several countries, and unusually frequent oceanic heatwaves. On a more hopeful note, 2020 was also the year of the launch of the Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite, the first of a new generation of ocean monitoring satellites to be launched into space in the coming decade, to monitor the Earth and the climate with unprecedented accuracy.
The international scope and the many multinational collaborations that form the backbone of many programs at EUMETSAT are core to the success of the organisation, according to him: tackling planet-wide climatic issues can only be done at a planet-wide level, whether it is about developing innovative satellite programs, sharing data to simulate complex phenomenon, or generally bringing knowledge forward.
“Extreme weather events will have an increasingly heavy social and economical impact on human societies: monitoring them, in order to mitigate their effect and measure the effects of climate regulations, will be absolutely crucial in the coming 50 to 100 years,” explained Mr. Evans. “Being appointed by EUMETSAT is both an immense honor and a huge responsibility because I could not think of a more socially relevant institution to work for at the moment.”