Liesl Dyson

email:                [email protected]
Tel:                    +27 (0) 12 420 2469
Office:               Geography Building 2-12.1
Consultation:     By appointment


Research profile

Liesl has been a meteorologist for nearly 30-years. She worked as a weather forecaster at the South African Weather Bureau and later joined the training department at the same institution. She joined the University of Pretoria in 1997 and where she is currently employed as a Associated Professor. 

Liesl’s research interests are focused on understanding processes and thereby improving short-term weather forecasting techniques. She has published scientific articles in peer reviewed publications, mainly in topics of severe weather events and heavy rainfall. She is a member of the South African Society of Atmospheric Sciences and has presented at their annual conferences for many years. She was the Honorary Secretary of the organization from 2012 to 2021 and is still serving on the council. She has supervised several MSc and PhD students. Liesl also has a keen interest in education and training in Meteorology and has been a member of international organization CALMET since 2009. She teaches subjects to pre and post graduate Meteorology students and is course co-ordinator of the BSc (Hons) Meteorology program.


  • BSc (Meteorology), 1991, University of Pretoria
  • MSc (Meteorology), 2000, cum laude, University of Pretoria (A Dynamical forecasting perspective on synoptic scale weather systems over southern Africa)
  • PhD (Science), 2013, University of Pretoria (Atmospheric thermodynamics and circulation associated with heavy rainfall over the Gauteng province, South Africa) 

Courses presented

  • WKD 366: Fundamentals of weather forecasting (2014-present)
  • WKD 164: The climate and weather of South Africa (2008-2016)
  • WKD 261: Physical Meteorology (2013, 2020-present)
  • WKD 763: Research Methodology (2007-2020)
  • WKD 250: Weather Forecasting (1998-2012)
  • WKD 253: Community project (1999-2012)
  • WKD 751: Instrumentation and General Meteorology (1998-2005)
  • WKD 718: Specialized Forecasting (2003-2007)
  • WKD 715: Classical Weather Forecasting Techniques (2003-2012)

Postgraduate students

Current postgraduate students

  • Charlotte McBride. PhD thesis. Climate Extremes and Records in the Non-Stationary Climate of South Africa. Co-supervision Dr Andries Kruger
  • Morne Gijben. PhD thesis. Remote Sensing characteristics of thunderstorms over the Gauteng Province in South Africa and its application to improve short-range weather forecasts.
  • Elizabeth Viljoen. PhD thesis. Understanding the influence of Impact-Based forecasting in South Africa. Co-supervisor Dr Nerhene Davis
  • Celeste Fourie. MSc dissertation. Event-based fog climatology for OR Tambo International Airport.
  • Mbavhalelo Maliage. MSc dissertation. Forecasting South African dust storms. Co-superviser Prof Rebecca Garland
  • Lauren Smith. MSc dissertation. Probabilistic Turbulence Forecasting over South Africa. Co-superviser Stephanie Landman

Selected presentations

Research publications (journals)

Scopus H-indexGoogle Scholar H-index | ORCID ID

  • De Lange, A., Naidoo, M., Garland, R.M., Dyson, L.L. (2021) The sensitivity of simulated surface-level pollution concentrations to WRF-ARW model PBL Parameterization schemes over the Highveld of South Africa. Atmospheric Research. doi: 10.1016/j.atmosres.2021.105517
  • De Lange, A., Naidoo, M., Garland, R.M., Dyson, L.L. (2021) Sensitivity of Meteorological variables on Planetary Boundary Layer Parameterization Schemes in the WRF-ARW Model. Atmospheric Research. doi: 10.1016/j.atmosres.2020.105214.
  • Dyson, L.L., Pienaar, N.F., Smit, A. Kijko, A. (2021) An ERA‐Interim HAILCAST hail climatology for southern Africa. International Journal of Climatology.  International Journal of Climatology, 41(1), 262-277. doi: 10.1002/joc.6619
  • McBride, C.M., Kruger, A.C., Dyson L. (2021). Trends in probabilities of temperature records in the non‐stationary climate of South Africa. International Journal of Climatology. doi: 10.1002/joc.7329
  • Wright, C.Y., Kapwata, T., Du Preez, D.J., Wernecke, B., Garland, R.M., Nkosi, V., Landman, W.A., Dyson, L., Norval, M. (2021). Major climate change-induced risks to human health in South Africa. Environmental Research, 196, p.110973. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2021.110973
  • Geldenhuys, M., Dyson, L.L., van der Mescht (2020) D. Blocking, gap flow and mountain wave interaction along the coastal escarpment of South Africa. Theoretical and Applied Climatology. 139, 1291-1303. doi: 10.1007/s00704-019-03030-4
  • De Lange A., Garland R.m Dyson L.L. (2019). Estimating particulate matter (PM) concentrations from a meteorological index for data-scarce regions: A pilot study. Atmospheric Pollution Research, 5, 1553-1564. doi: 10.1016/j.apr.2019.05.004
  • Simpson L., Dyson L.L. (2018). Severe weather over the Highveld of South Africa during November 2016. Water SA, 44, 75-85.
  • Gijben M., Dyson L.L., Loots T. (2017). A statistical scheme to forecast the daily lightning threat over southern Africa using the Unified Model. Atmospheric Research, 194, 78-88.
  • Stander J.H., Dyson L.L., Engelbrecht C.J. (2016). A snow forecasting decision tree for significant snowfall over the interior of South Africa. South African Journal of Science. 112 (9/10), Art. #2015-0221, 29-38. doi: 10.17159/sajs.2016/20150221
  • Dyson, L.L. (2015). A heavy rainfall sounding climatology over Gauteng, South Africa, using self-organising maps. Climate Dynamics, 45, 3051–3065.
  • Dyson, L.L., van Heerden, J., Sumner, P.D. (2015). A baseline climatology of sounding‐derived parameters associated with heavy rainfall over Gauteng, South Africa. International Journal of Climatology35 (1), 114-127.
  • Van Schalkwyk L., Dyson L.L. (2013). Climatological characteristics of fog at Cape Town International Airport. Weather and Forecasting. 28, 631-646. doi: 10.1175/WAF-D-12-00028.1
  • Engelbrecht C.J., Engelbrecht F.A., Dyson L.L. (2013). High-resolution model-projected changes in mid-tropospheric closed-lows and extreme rainfall over southern Africa. 2013. International Journal of Climatology 33, 173-187.
  • Landman S., Engelbrecht F.A., Engelbrecht C.J., Dyson L.L., Landman W.A. (2012). A short-range weather prediction system for South Africa based on a multi-model approach. Water SA, 38(5), 765-774.
  • Dyson L.L. (2009). Heavy daily-rainfall characteristics over the Gauteng Province. Water SA 35, 627-638.
  • Dyson L.L. (2008). A Meteorological Community Project in South Africa. BAMS 89 (2), 163-167.
  • Marx H.G., Dyson L.L., van Heerden J. (2003). Verification of Rainfall Forecasts for the Vaal Dam Catchment for the Summer Rainfall Seasons of 1994 to 1998. Water SA, 29 (2), 195-200.
  • Dyson L.L., van Heerden J. (2002). A Model for the Identification of Tropical Weather Systems. Water SA, 28 (3), 249-258.
  • Dyson L.L., van Heerden J. (2001). The heavy rainfall and floods over the northeastern interior of South Africa during February 2000. South African Journal of Science, 97, 80-86.

Technical reports

  • Dyson LL, Webster EM, Botai C, de Wit J and Engelbrecht F (2019). Impact of the predictability of continental tropical lows on hydrological modelling: current state and future projections. WRC project K5/2510
  • Dyson LL, Engelbrecht CJ, Turner KE and Landman S (2013) A short term heavy rainfall forecasting system for South Africa with first implementation over the Gauteng Province. WRC Report K5/1906
  • Dyson LL and Van Heerden (2006) Research development and verification of an operational and interactive system to forecast heavy rainfall (PROGRAIN). WRC Report No. 1333/1/6
  • Dyson LL, van Heerden J and Marx HG (2002). Short term Forecasting Techniques for heavy rainfall. WRC Report No 1011/1/02
- Author Christel Hansen

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