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The work of an Applications Meteorologist ...
15 November 2017

Applications Meteorologist, Alan

What does a typical day at work involve?

I am involved in the running and maintenance of our operational Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) models, so a typical day usually begins with checking to make sure these are running smoothly and chatting with the colleague who was on-call overnight to see if there were any issues. If there were, these issues need to be teased out and logged for future reference. Getting to the bottom of technical issues includes being in regular contact with the operations centre at the European-Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasting (ECMWF) in Reading, whose supercomputers we use to run our NWP models.

I am also involved in a number of other systems, such as the roadice forecasting system. On a typical day I verify that our forecasters have access to the tools they need in order to forecast the future state of the country's roads. Once I have verified that these systems are running smoothly, the rest of my day usually consists of NWP research and development work. Currently I am working on developing an Ensemble Prediction System (EPS) for Met Éireann.

What other jobs have you previously done in the field of meteorology?

I worked as a forecaster for a private forecasting company in the UK for 9 months writing detailed forecasts for Ireland. This was a very important first step for me into the world of meteorology. Following this I undertook a PhD in Toulouse, France in atmospheric science which was co-financed by the French National Scientific Research Council (CNRS) and Météo-France. This in turn led me to undertake a number of post-doctoral research positions within Météo-France. During these research positions I got to work on several interesting topics such as flood-forecasting and aviation meteorology.

What is your favourite part about your work?

I really like the diverse nature of my job as I am involved in important operational activities at Met Éireann while also having time to do research and development work. Travelling to international conferences and getting the chance to discuss the field with international experts from the world of meteorology are aspects I also thoroughly enjoy.

What did you study to become a meteorologist?

My primary degree was a B.Sc in Physics and Astronomy. Following this I completed an M.Sc in meteorology which had taught as well as research aspects. Having especially appreciated the research aspects of the M.Sc I then went on to do a PhD in atmospheric science.


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