Manola Brunet

Manola Brunet

President of the WMO Commission for Climatology, Professor, University Rovira i Virgili, Spain


“(…) A challenge then became an opportunity and helped me expand my knowledge of climate variability trends and techniques for historical meteorological data recovery. So I overcame challenges, turning them into opportunities without quitting or being discouraged!”


Dr Brunet is an international expert in instrumental climate reconstruction and analysis at different spatio-temporal scales. She has conducted pioneering analysis of the long-term change to air temperature in peninsular Spain as well as assessed the change in climatic extremes regionally and globally. Her 20-year involvement in the global climate monitoring work of the WMO Commission for Climatology has culminated in her recent election as President of the Commission, the first woman to hold this post in its nearly 90-year history. Dr Brunet is further involved in capacity development activities as instructor of regional workshops aimed at promoting data exchange and improving the understanding of the global change in climate extremes. 

Why climatology?

Her interest in and curiosity to understand the role of humanity - as well as its capacity - to transform the climate led Dr Brunet to specialize in climatology, after having started her university studies in geography. Her research culminated in a PhD thesis on urban climate and later on a specialization in climate variability analysis and detection of human-induced climate change.

Overcoming challenges and key to success

Dr Brunet had to overcome, amongst others, challenges related to the insufficient quality of climate data and their limited accessibility in order to carry out  her research on the relationship between the El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and rainfall variability, or the long-term thermo-pluviometric change in the Iberian Peninsula. At the same time, this led her to specialize in the field of data rescue and quality improvement of historical climate observations. This challenge became an opportunity, helping her to expand the existing knowledge on climate variability trends and techniques for historical meteorological data recovery. She continued without being discouraged by the limited availability of climate information. Persistence and persuasion were key to her success.

Advice to young female scientists

  • Focus your scientific interest in one specific field of climate or weather science and cultivate it with passion
  • Be persistent, despite encountering difficulties, and persuasive in convincing others of the advantages of the proposed research
  • Practice teamwork based on reasoned conviction, without imposing on the team's members.