François Bouttier

CNRM -GAME (UMR CNRS & Météo-France)

Mesoscale Modeling Department

Ensemble prediction research

42, Av. G. Coriolis
31057 Toulouse Cedex 1, France
Tél. +33 (0) 5 61 07 98 25
Fax +33 (0) 5 61 07 96 27
courriel : francois point bouttier at meteo point fr


  Research Topics

Research on atmospheric ensemble prediction at convective scales:

  • Ensemble prediction algorithms. Model error representation, stochastic physics.
  • Use of ensemble prediction and probabilistic forecasts. Impact-aware forecast products. Multimodel prediction.
  • Atmospheric predictability at kilometric scales. Precipitation processes. Weather modification. Extreme event diagnosis.
  • Probabilistic forecast of precipitation and convective events: thunderstorms, heavy precipitation, hail, flash flood risks
  • Data assimilation, nowcasting

  Scientific experience

1991: internship at CNRM, Météo-France, Toulouse, France. Development with Jean-Francois Mahfouf of a soil humidity data assimilation system for the Peridot model. Validation on HAPEX-MOBILHY field experiment data. This data assimilation scheme has been adapted into the ARPEGE/ALADIN operational prediction system circa 1997.

1991-1993: preparation of a Toulouse University PhD in meteorology at the CNRM lab. Study of atmospheric predictability using Kalman filter techniques in a global barotropic model of the atmosphere: study of error covariance dynamics and their evolution in a data assimilation framework.

1994-1995: scientist at CNRM. Development of a global 3DVar data assimilation for the ARPEGE NWP model. Study of issues with the variable resolution model geometry. The ARPEGE 3DVar became operational at Météo-France in 1999.

1995-1997: scientist at ECMWF, Reading, England. Development (with John Derber) of a revised multivariate background error covariance model Jb, which became operational at ECMWF in 1997, and at Météo-France in 1999.

1997-2000: head of ECMWF’s Data Assimilation section. Development of the Obstat software for comparing observations with ECMWF’s IFS system. Studies of dropsonde and profiler data assimilation, of forecast sensitivity to initial conditions and observing network experiments, of the 4DVar data assimilation algorithm. Implementation (with Florence Rabier) of an extension of the 4DVar time window from 6 to 12 hours, which entered production in 2000.

2000-2008: scientist at CNRM. Leader of the AROME project for the design of a kilometric-scale numerical weather prediction system based on the Méso-NH and ALADIN model and data assimilation systems. AROME became operational at Météo-France in 2008, and is in preoperational phase at a dozen of European weather services (from the HIRLAM and ALADIN consortia), sometimes under the ’HARMONIE’ nickname.

2003-2010: head of the Numerical Weather Prediction group at CNRM, Météo-France.

2011-: scientist at CNRM on convective-scale ensemble prediction. Evaluation of multimodel ensembles in cooperation with the german (DWD) et Bristish (Met Office) meteorological institutes. Software development for probabilistic forecast production and performance evaluation. Experimentation of AROME ensemble predictions components including stochastic physics, surface perturbations, coupling using machine learning. Management and contribution to cooperative research contracts related to aviation (SESAR European program), renewables (FEDER METEOSWIFT contract), hydrometeorology (ANR PICS contract), automated meteorological forecasts (3P/ALPHA project).

2012-: media contact point on weather modification issues.

2014: qualification to manage scientific research (French HDR), topic : ’modelling numerical weather prediction errors’. Institut National Polytechnique de Toulouse.

  Peer-reviewed publications

  • Bouttier, F., J.-F. Mahfouf and J. Noilhan, 1993: Sequential assimilation of soil moisture from atmospheric low-level parameters. Part I: Sensitivity and calibration studies. Jour. Appl. Meteor., 32, 1335-1351.
  • Bouttier, F., J.-F. Mahfouf and J. Noilhan, 1993: Sequential assimilation of soil moisture from atmospheric low-level parameters. Part II: Implementation in a mesoscale model. Jour. Appl. Meteor., 32, 1352-1364.
  • Bouttier, F., 1993: The dynamics of error covariances in a barotropic model. Tellus, 45A, 408-423.
  • Bouttier, F., 1994: A dynamical estimation of error covariances in an assimilation system. Mon. Wea. Rev., 122, 2376-2390.
  • Rabier, F., A. McNally, E. Andersson, P. Courtier, P. Undén, J. Eyre, A. Hollingsworth and F. Bouttier, 1998: The ECMWF implementation of three-dimensional variational assimilation (3D-Var). Part II: structure functions. Quart. J. Roy. Met. Soc., 124, 1809-1829.
  • Barkmeijer, J., M. van Gizjen and F. Bouttier, 1998: Singular vectors and the analysis error covariance metric. Quart. J. Roy. Met. Soc., 124A, 1695-1713.
  • Derber, J. and F. Bouttier, 1999: A reformulation of the background error covariance in the ECMWF global data assimilation system. Tellus, 51A, 195-222.
  • Järvinen, H., E. Andersson and F. Bouttier, 1999: Variational assimilation of time sequences of surface observations with serially correlated errors. Tellus, 51A, 469-488.
  • Bouttier, F., 2001: The use of profiler data at ECMWF. Meteorologische Zeitschrift, 10, no.6, 497-510, Dec 2001.
  • Bouttier, F. and G. Kelly, 2001: Observing system experiments with the ECMWF data assimilation system. Quart. J. Roy. Meteor. Soc., 127, 1469-1488.
  • Hello G. and F. Bouttier, 2001: Using adjoint sensitivity as a local structure function in variational data assimilation. Nonlinear Processes in Geophysics, 8, (6), 467-483.
  • Michel, Y. et F. Bouttier, 2006: Automated tracking of dry intrusions on satellite and synthetic water vapour imageries. Quart. Jour. Roy. Met. Soc., 132, pp.2257-2276.
  • Stoffelen, A., G.-J. Marseille, F. Bouttier, D. Vasiljevic, S. de Haan and C. Cardinali, 2006: Doppler Wind Lidar observation system simulation experiment. Quart. Jour. Roy. Met. Soc,. 132, 1927-1948.
  • Bouttier, F., 2007: Arome, avenir de la prévision régionale. La Météorologie, 8e série, no. 58, 12-20.
  • Richard E., C. Flamant, F. Bouttier, J. Van Baelen, C. Champollion, S. Argence, J. Arnault, C. Barthlott, A. Behrendt, P. Bosser, P. Brousseau, J.-P. Chaboureau,U. Corsmeier, J. Cuesta, P. Di Girolamo, M. Hagen, C. Kottmeier, P. Limnaios, F. Masson, G. Pigeon, Y. Pointin, F. Tridon, Y. Seity et V. Wulfmeyer, 2009: La campagne Cops: genèse et cycle de vie de la convection en région montagneuse, La Météorologie, 64.
  • Rotach MW, Ambrosetti P, Ament F, Appenzeller C, Arpagaus M, Bauer HS, Behrendt A, Bouttier F, Buzzi A, Corazza M, Davolio S, Denhard M, Dorninger M, Fontannaz L, Frick J, Fundel F, Germann U, Gorgas T, Hegg C, Hering A, Keil C, Liniger MA, Marsigli C, McTaggart-Cowan R, Montani A, Mylne K, Ranzi R, Richard E, Rossa A, Santos-Muñoz D, Schär C, Seity Y, Staudinger M, Stoll M, Volkert H, Walser A, Wang Y, Werhahn J, Wulfmeyer V, Zappa M: 2009, MAP D-PHASE: Real-time Demonstration of Weather Forecast Quality in the Alpine Region, Bull Amer Meteor Soc, 90 (9), 1321-1336, DOI:10.1175/2009BAMS2776.1
  • Seity, Y., Brousseau, P., S. Malardel, G. Hello, P. Bénard, F. Bouttier, C. Lac and V. Masson, 2011: The AROME-France convective scale operational model. Mon. Wea. Rev., 139, 976-99. doi: 10.1175/2010MWR3425.1
  • Brousseau, P., L. Berre, F. Bouttier and G. Desroziers, 2011: Background-error covariances for a convective scale data-assimilation system: AROME-France 3D-Var. Quart. Jour. Roy. Meteor. Soc., 137: 409-422. doi:10.1002/qj.750 .
  • Brousseau, P., L. Berre, F. Bouttier and G. Desroziers, 2012: Flow-dependent background-error covariances for a convective scale data assimilation system. Quart. Jour. Roy. Meteor. Soc. , 138, 310-322. doi: 10.1002/qj.920
  • Bouttier, F., B. Vié, O. Nuissier and L. Raynaud, 2012:Impact of stochastic physics in a convection-permitting ensemble. Mon. Wea. Rev., 140, 3706-3721. doi:
  • Vié, B., G. Molinié, O. Nuissier, V. Ducrocq, F. Bouttier and E. Richard, 2012: Hydro-meteorological evaluation of a convection-permitting ensemble prediction system for Mediterranean heavy precipitating events. Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci, 12, 2631-2645.
  • Brousseau, P., G. Desroziers, F. Bouttier and B. Chapnik, 2013: A posteriori diagnostics of the impact of observations on the AROME-France convective-scale data-assimilation system. Quart. Jour. Roy. Meteor. Soc., 140, 982-994.
  • Raynaud, L., O. Pannekoucke, P. Arbogast and F. Bouttier, 2014: Application of a Bayesian weighting for short-range lagged ensemble forecasting at the convective scale. Quart. Jour. Roy. Meteor. Soc.,141, 459–468.
  • Bouttier F., L. Raynaud, O.Nuissier and B. Ménétrier, 2016: Sensitivity of the AROME ensemble to initial and surface perturbations during HyMeX.. Quart. Jour. Roy. Meteor. Soc, 142, 390-403.
  • Raynaud, L. and F. Bouttier, 2016: Comparison of initial perturbation methods for ensemble prediction at convective scale. Quart. Jour. Roy. Meteor. Soc. 142, 854–866,
  • Nuissier O., C. Marsigli, B. Vincendon, A. Hally, F. Bouttier, A. Montani and T. Paccagnella, 2016: Evaluation of two convection-permitting ensemble systems in the HyMeX Special Observation Period (SOP1) framework. Quart. Jour. Roy. Meteor. Soc. 140, 1900-1916,
  • Beck, J., F. Bouttier, C. Gebhardt, L. Wiegand and N. Roberts, 2016: Development and verification of two convection-resolving multi-model ensembles over northwestern Europe. Quart. Jour. Roy. Meteor. Soc. 142, 2808-2826,
  • Raynaud, L. and F. Bouttier, 2017: The impact of horizontal resolution and ensemble size for convective-scale probabilistic forecasts. Quart. Jour. Roy. Meteor. Soc in Aug 2017. 143 : 3037-3047.
  • Osinski, R and F. Bouttier, 2018: Short-range probabilistic forecasting of convective risks for aviation based on a lagged-average-forecast ensemble approach. Met. Apps. 25, 105-118.
  • Bouttier, F. and L. Raynaud, 2018: Clustering and selection of boundary conditions for limited area ensemble prediction. Quart. Jour. Roy. Meteor. Soc., 9pp.
  • Caumont O., M. Mandement, F. Bouttier, J. Eeckman, C.Lebeaupin-Brossier, A. Lovat, O. Nuissier, and O. Laurantin, 2021: The heavy precipitation event of 14-15 October 2018 in the Aude catchment: A meteorological study based on operational numerical weather prediction systems and standard and personal observations. Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 21, 1135–1157.

 Latest workshop presentations

  • Tiberi-Wadier Anne-Laure, M. Taillardat, N. Goutal, S. Ricci, P. Sergent, F. Bouttier et E. Le Pape, 2018 : Vers une approche ensembliste de la prévision des crues. Colloque annuel de la Société Hydrotechnique de France, Avignon, 14-16 Nov 2018
  • Bouttier, F., H. Marchal, 2019 : Short-range ensemble prediction of precipitation. 20-23 mai 2019, 12th International HyMeX Workshop in Split, Croatia.
  • Caumont, O., F. Bouttier, C. Lebeaupin-Brossier, A. Lovat. M. Mandement, O. Nuissier and O. Laurantin, 2019: The catastrophic case of heavy rainfall and flash flooding of 14-15 October 2018 in south-western France: a multi-scale observational and modelling analysis. Abstract of the annual AMS conference: 30th Conference on Weather Analysis and Forecasting (WAF)/26th Conference on Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP). 12-16 January 2020, Boston.
  • François Bouttier and Hugo Marchal, 2019: multimodel probabilistic thunderstorm forecast. SRNWP-EPS workshop, Madrid, 22-24 Oct 2019. Présentation invitée.
  • Bouttier, F., 2020: SRNWP-EPS ensemble intercomparison in the Arome-France-EPS overlap zone: first results. Oral presentation to the Eumetnet SRNWP-EPS workshop, 27-29 Oct 2020
  • Bouttier, F., H. Marchal et A. Fleury, 2020: seamless ensemble nowcasting of thunderstorms and flash floods. Multi-scale Forecasting of Weather-Related Hazards, seminar of the WWRP/HIWeather program of WMO, 19 Nov 2020.
  • Peredo Daniela, Maria-Helena Ramos, Hugo Marchal and François Bouttier, 2021: Challenges of event-based evaluation of flash floods: example of the October 2018 flood event in the Aude catchment in France. HEPEX workshop on Connecting global to local hydrological modelling and forecasting: scientific advances and challenges. 29 June - 1 July 2021, hosted by ECMWF.
  • Fleury, A. and Bouttier, F.: Representation of model error through process-based perturbations for ensemble prediction : application to turbulence and shallow convection parametrisations, EGU General Assembly 2021, online display material, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-15167, doi:10.5194/egusphere-egu21-15167
  • Charpentier-Noyer, M., Payrastre, O., Gaume, E., Nicolle, P., Bouttier, F., and Marchal, H.: Evaluation of three short-range (0-6h) rain ensemble forecasts: study of the Aude October 2018 flash floods (southeastern France), EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-11946,, 2021
  • Javelle, P., O. Payrastre, B. Boudevillain, F. Bourgin, F. Bouttier, O. Caumont, M. Charpentier-Noyer, V. Dicrocq, A. Fleury, P.-A. Garambois, E. Gaume, N. Hocini, B. Janet, M. Jay-Allemand, D. Lague, A. Lovat,n D. Moncoulon, J.-P. Naulin, P. Nicolle, D. Peredo, C. Perrin, F. Pons, M.-H. Ramos, I. Ruin, G. Terti, 2021: Flash flood impacts nowcasting within the PICS project (2018-20122): end-users involvement and first results. 4th European Conference on Flood Risk Management ’FLOODRISK’, 22-24 June 2021


  • Enseignant de Master 2 "Océan, Atmosphère et Surfaces Continentales" (Université Paul Sabatier, Toulouse): data assimilation course.
  • Enseignant de Master M2 ISAE/Supaéro Toulouse ’’observation de la Terre et sciences de l’univers’’, module ’’météo, atmosphère, climat’
  • membre du jury du Master M2-SOAC de l’Université Paul Sabatier, Toulouse

Ph.D supervision

  • Gwenaëlle Hello: université Toulouse 3 - Paul Sabatier intitulée "Prise en compte de la dynamique associée aux dépressions des latitudes moyennes dans la détermination des conditions initiales des modèles météorologiques", soutenue le 29 novembre 2002 (co-supervisor)
  • Vincent Guidard: université Toulouse 3 - Paul Sabatier intitulée "Assimilation multi-échelle dans un modèle météorologique" soutenue le 23 octobre 2007 (co-supervisor)
  • Olivier Caumont : université Toulouse 3 - Paul Sabatier intitulée "Simulation et assimilation de données radar pour la prévision de la convection profonde à fine échelle" soutenue le 4 décembre 2007 (co-supervisor)
  • Yann Michel : université de Paris-Est, "Assimilation de données d’images télédétectées en météorologie" soutenue le 17 décembre 2008 (Ph.D director and main supervisor)
  • Pierre Brousseau: université Toulouse 3 - Paul Sabatier, "Propagation de l’information observée dans le système d’assimilation et le modèle atmosphérique AROME" soutenue le 9 juillet 2012 (Ph.D director)
  • Benoît Vié : thèse de l’université de Paris-Est intitulée "Méthodes de prévision d’ensemble pour l’étude de la prévisibilité à échelle convective des épisodes de pluies intenses en Méditerranée" soutenue le 29 novembre 2012 (co-supervisor)
  • Axelle Fleury: université Toulouse 3 - Paul Sabatier, "Approche physique des erreurs de modélisation en prévision d’ensemble atmosphérique" démarrée en octobre 2019 (Ph.D director and main supervisor)

internship supervision

  • Tarik Kriat (IENM et Master M2OASC de l’université de Toulouse) intitulé ’’Correction des biais des prévisions de pluies dans la prévision d’ensemble AROME’’, janvier-juin 2015. (encadrant prinipal)
  • Jeoffrey Koegler (Master M2-SOAC de l’université de Toulouse) intitulé ’’Prévisibilité des pluies catastrophiques du 3 octobre 2015’’, janvier-juin 2017 (encadrant principal)
  • Karine Hoorens (Master M2 Data Science de l’Ecole Polytechnique) intitulé ’’apprentissage automatique pour la prévision probabiliste des nuages’’, mai-septembre 2017 (encadrant principal)
  • Charline Ragon (Master M2 Univ. Lyon 1), intitulé "prévision d’ensemble du brouillard pour les principaux aéroports français", février-août 2020 (coencadrement avec T. Bergot et I. Etchevers)
  • Sabine Radanovics (projet de fin d’études de l’Ecole Nationale de la Météorologie, cursus IENM) intitulé "variabilité spatiale et saisonnière du diagnostic de la densité d’éclairs dans Arome", février-août 2020. (coencadrement avec O. Caumont, Y. Seity, I. Etchevers)
  • Kévin Walcarius (Master M2, Institut KTH des sciences environnementales, Norvège) intitulé ’prévision immédiate probabiliste des scénarios de pluie intense’, mars-août 2021. (encadrant principal)

 Research contracts

  • 2003-2007: CNRS INSU/LEFE ’assimilation de données à échelle fine AROME’ (project leader)
  • 2005-2007: ANR ’campagne de mesures COPS’ (leader: Evelyne Richard, Laboratoire d’Aérologie)
  • 2006-2009: ANR ’ADDISA’ (assimilation de données d’images, leader: Isabelle Herlin, INRIA)
  • 2012-2014: INSU/LEFE/MANU VIPS ’Valorisation et Interprétation des Prévisions Probabilistes’ (project leader)
  • 2012-2014: SESAR WP11.2.2 D3 ’superensemble’ (multimodel ensemble forecasts of convective hazards for air traffic) (subtask leader)
  • 2014-2016: IMET (SJU SESAR) aircraft probabilistic routing project
  • 2016-2018: METEOSWIFT FEDER / Région occitanie: probabilistic wind power prediction. (task leader)
  • 2018-2021: ANR PICS: hydrometeorological prediction.
  • 2020-2022: INSU/LEFE/ISPSIPE: modélisation stochastique des erreurs de modélisation (project leader)
  • 2021-2024: Bourse de thèse Région Occitanie: étude de la propagation des erreurs dans un modèle couplé océan-atmosphère.

    Direct project staff management

  • 1997: Gert-Jan Marseille (6 mois) sur l’étude de la sensibilité des prévisions sur l’Europe aux conditions initiales. Financement SRNWP/EUCOS.
  • 2002-2003: Thibaut Montmerle (18 mois) sur l’assimilation de radiances du satellite Météosat Seconde Génération. Financement Alcatel.
  • 2013-2014: Jeffrey Beck (24 mois) sur la prévision d’ensemble multimodèle de la convection pour l’aéronautique. Financement EU SESAR.
  • 2014: Guillem Candille (4 mois) sur la prévision probabiliste des impacts météorologiques sur le trafic aérien. Financement EU SESAR.
  • 2015-2016: Robert Osinski (24 mois) sur la prévision de l’impact de la convection sur le trafic aérien. Financement EU SESAR et IMET.
  • 2017-2018: Sabine Radanovics (18 mois) sur la prévision probabiliste de la production éolienne. FInancement FEDER-Région Occitanie.
  • 2019: Axelle Fleury (7 mois) sur la prévision d’ensemble des précipitations pour les modèles de crues. Financement ANR projet PICS.
  • 2021: Adrien Warnan (CDD 9 mois) sur la prévision probabiliste immédiate des précipitations intenses. Financement DGPR.

 Media and communication

  • multiple interviews in the wide media and consulting work about weather modification issues: cloud seeding, hail modification, contrails/chemtrails...


Data assimilation course (2017, mostly in French)

No one shall be held responsible, scientifically or otherwise for the content of these pages / articles, but the authors themselves and in no way the responsibility of the CNRM-GAME .