Researchers at UCD


Conor Sweeney


School of Mathematics & Statistics
Science Centre East

Tel: +353 1 7162358
Email:, twitter: @conorsy


Conor Sweeney was born in Dublin, and went to school in St Conleth's, where the great teachings of Mr. Manning introduced him to the joys of Maths and Physics. This, coupled with a love of dismantling things, led him to do Mechanical Engineering in UCD. Despite a lack of engines to take apart, he thoroughly enjoyed himself, and left with a 2.1 degree.

He then worked as a Design Engineer in Bergamo in northern Italy (fabulous food and wine) and Charlotte in North Carolina (lots of banks), before returning to pursue his love of research. This he did in Trinity College Dublin, where he was supervised by Dr Craig Meskell and had a great time with all the people in the Fluids group. This resulted in the production of a new vorticity-stream function CFD solver, a fast particle-in-mesh technique, and a Ph.D.

After a further year doing a post-doc in TCD, he briefly thought about becoming a Patent Attorney (they do make a lot of money) but then an offer of working on climate change saw him join the C4I team in Met Eireann as a post-doc researcher in climate modelling. This took around four years, resulted in a nice Government report, and left him free to hop on his motorbike and travel overland from Dublin to Cape Town.

He returned from his adventures back to Dublin, and back to UCD, where he did further post-doc research on forecasting for wind energy, and is now a lecturer in Applied and Computational Mathematics in the School of Mathematical Sciences, UCD.

He is a member of the Meteorology and Climate Centre, the UCD Earth Institute and the UCD Energy Institute, and his current research interests include:

  • improved forecasting methods for renewable energy and Energy Systems Integration
  • extreme events in climate data
  • storm tracking and analysis



Conference Contributions

Sweeney, C and Cashman, D (2014) Using SmartPens to Facilitate Project Supervision of Final Year Maths Students. [Published Abstract], The 15th Educational Technology Conference of the Irish Learning Technology Association (ILTA), University College Dublin , 29-MAY-14 - 30-MAY-14.
Sweeney, C.; Nolan, P. (2013) EC-EARTH and MIROC5 data for CLM. [Poster Presentation], CLM Assembly 2013, ETH Zurich, Switzerland , 27-AUG-13 - 30-SEP-13.
Courtney, J; Lynch, P; Sweeney, C (2013) Statistical Post-Processing of Wind Speed Forecasts to Estimate Relative Economic Value. [Oral Presentation], EGU General Assembly 2013, Vienna, Austria , 07-APR-13 - 12-APR-13.
Courtney, J.; Sweeney, C.; Lynch, P. (2012) High resolution probabilistic forecasting for wind energy applications. [Poster Presentation], EGU General Assembly 2012, Vienna, Austria , 22-APR-12 - 27-APR-12.
Sweeney, C.; (2010) Adaptive post-processing of short-term wind forecasts for energy applications. [Oral Presentation], European Consortium for Mathematics in Industry, Wuppertal, Germany , 26-JUL-10 - 30-JUL-10.
Sweeney, C.; (2008) High resolution forecasts for wind energy applications. [Oral Presentation], European Consortium for Mathematics in Industry, London, UK , 30-JUN-08 - 04-JUL-08.
Sweeney, C; McGrath, R; Nolan, P; Semmler, T; Wang, S; (2005) The importance of boundary data resolution on regional climate modelling for extreme weather events. [Poster Presentation], General Assembly of EGU, Vienna, Austria , 24-APR-05 - 29-APR-05.


Client: Mainstream Renewable Power
Client: Airtricity

Outreach Activities

Six-One and Nine-One RTE TV news: Interview on 2016 warmest year on record. Monday 14th October, 2016.
Climate expert for Think:Tank event, TCD Science Gallery. November 2016.
2015-12-06 Opinion piece in Irish Independent on climate change.
2016-11 Featured Researcher in "Energy & Resources" Science Apprentice book, with Irish Independent.
Forecasting Renewable Energy, SEAI seminar, RDS. April 2016
NWP and Chaos talk, UCD Maths Workshop. February 2016
Climate change article in Sunday Independent, December 2015
NWP talk at Energy Systems Integration workshop, Technical University of Denmark (DTU). September 2015
Climate change, the atmosphere and Ireland, Skellig Sessions, RIA. November 2014
UCD MCC Research overview seminar, University of Leeds. October 2014
Swinging bananas, UCD Maths Week talk. October 2014
Mathematics talks during UCD International trip to India. August 2014
Weather extremes in a changing climate, UCD Climate Extremes workshop. June 2014
Livescribe Smartpen in teaching, UCD EdTech. May 2014
Chair of Climate Change session, Environ 2014, TCD. February 2014
Mathematics talks during UCD International trip to India. February 2014



Peer Reviewed Journals

Laura Zubiate, Frank McDermott, Conor Sweeney, Mark O'Malley (2016) 'Spatial variability in winter NAO¿wind speed relationships in western Europe linked to concomitant states of the East Atlantic and Scandinavian patterns'. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, . Available Online [DOI] [Details]
Colm Clancy, John O¿Sullivan, Conor Sweeney, Frédéric Dias, Andrew C. Parnell (2016) 'Spatial Bayesian hierarchical modelling of extreme sea states'. Ocean Modelling, 107 :1-13. Available Online [DOI] [Details]
O'Sullivan, J; Sweeney, C; Nolan, P; Gleeson, E (2016) 'A high-resolution, multi-model analysis of Irish temperatures for the mid-21st century'. International Journal of Climatology, 36 (3):1256-1267. Available Online [DOI] Link to full text [Details]
Saunders, M; Tobin, B; Sweeney, C; Gioria, M; Benanti, G; Cacciotti, E; Osborne, B.A. (2014) 'Impacts of exceptional and extreme inter-annual climatic events on the net ecosystem carbon dioxide exchange of a Sitka spruce forest'. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 184 :147-157. Available Online [DOI] [Details]
Hanrahan, P. O.; Sweeney, C. (2013) 'Odds on weather: probabilities and the public'. Weather, 68 (9):247-250. Available Online [DOI] [Details]
Jin, R., Good, M., More, S.J., Sweeney, C., McGrath, G., Kelly, G. (2013) 'An association between rainfall and bovine TB in Wicklow, Ireland'. Veterinary Record, 173 (18):452. [DOI] [Details]
Courtney, J.F.; Lynch, P.; Sweeney, C. (2013) 'High resolution forecasting for wind energy applications using Bayesian model averaging'. Tellus, 65 . [DOI] [Details]
Nolan, P., Lynch, P. and Sweeney, C. (2014) 'Simulating the future wind energy resource of Ireland using the COSMO-CLM model'. Wind Energy, . Available Online [DOI] [Details]
Sweeney, Conor, Peter Lynch and Paul Nolan; (2011) 'Reducing errors of wind speed forecasts by an optimal combination of post-processing methods'. Meteorological Applications, . [DOI] [Details]
C. Sweeney and P. Lynch; (2011) 'Adaptive post-processing of short-term wind forecasts for energy applications'. Wind Energy, 14 (3):317-325. Available Online [DOI] [Details]
Wang, S. et al.; (2006) 'Validation of simulated precipitation patterns over Ireland for the period 1961-2000'. International Journal of Climatology, 26 (2):251-266. Available Online [DOI] [Details]
Wang, S. et al.; (2006) 'The impact of the climate change on discharge of Suir River Catchment (Ireland) under different climate scenarios'. Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, 6 (3):387-395. Available Online [Details]
Sweeney, C. and Meskell, C.; (2003) 'Fast numerical simulation of vortex shedding in tube arrays using a discrete vortex method'. Journal of Fluids and Structures, 18 (5):501-512. Available Online [DOI] [Details]
McGrath, R. et al.; (2006) 'Impact of balloon drift errors in radiosonde data on climate statistics'. Journal of Climate, 19 (14):3430-3442. Available Online [DOI] [Details]

Conference Publications

Zubiate, L., McDermott, F., Sweeney, C. and O'Malley, M. (2014) Local and regional effects of large scale atmospheric circulation patterns on winter wind power output in Western Europe EGU General Assembly Vienna, Austria, , 27-APR-15 - 02-MAY-14 , pp.EGU2014-4253 Available Online [Details]
Sweeney, C.; Meskell, C. (2002) Numerical simulation of vortex shedding in tube arrays ASME 2002 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition New Orleans, LA; United States17 November 2002, , pp.719-728 [DOI] [Details]

Published Reports

Gleeson, E., McGrath R., Treanor M et al. (2013) Ireland's climate: the road ahead. Met Éireann, Dublin. Available Online [Details]
McGrath, R. et al.,; (2008) Ireland in a Warmer World: Scientific Predictions of the Irish Climate in the 21st Century. Met Éireann, Ireland. Available Online [Details]
McGrath, R. et al.; (2005) CLIMATE CHANGE: Regional Climate Model Predictions for Ireland. Environmental Protection Agency, Ireland, Ireland. Available Online [Details]


Research Interests

  • Numerical Weather Prediction
  • Probabilistic forecasting
  • Statistical post-processing
  • Forecasting for Energy Systems
  • Climate modelling
  • High Performance Computing

Research Projects

Sponsor : Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Title : Extreme Events in Calibrated Climate Models: Impacts for Ireland
Start Date / End Date : 01-JAN-13 / 30-NOV-16
Sponsor : Irish Research Council (IRC)
Title : A Filtering Integration Scheme for Improved Weather Prediction and Climate Simulation Models
Start Date / End Date : 01-OCT-15 / 30-SEP-18

Current Postgraduate Students

Joao Monteiro Correia, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)   -   Secondary Supervisor
Seánie Griffin, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)   -   Thesis Supervisor
Eadaoin Doddy, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)   -   Thesis Supervisor
John O Sullivan, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)   -   Secondary Supervisor
Eoghan Harney, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)   -   Thesis Supervisor


Internal Collaborators

  • I am a member of the UCD Energy Institute and am co-supervising three PhD students with Professor Frank McDermott (School of Geological Sciences), working on "Weather as an energy systems driver" and "Climate-Energy Systems Interactions".
  • I am co-supervising a PhD student with Dr. Andrew Parnell (School of Mathematical Sciences, Statistics) working on the EPA-funded project 'Climate models and Extremes: Impacts for Ireland'.
  • I am a member of the UCD Earth Institute  and have collaborated with Professor Bruce Osborne (School of Biology & Environmental Science), looking at giant rhubarb!

External Collaborators

  • I have a close relationship with Met Éireann  the Irish National Meteorological Service, and have collaborated with a number of staff in the research division as well as the forecasting division.
  • I have also worked closely with Dr. Paul Nolan (The Irish Centre for High-End Computing, ICHEC)  on climate modelling.