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The work of a Numerical Weather Prediction Meteorologist ...
14 November 2017

Numerical Weather Prediction Meteorologist, Colm

Colm has a degree in Mathematical Sciences and a Ph.D. in Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP). He has carried out post-doctoral research at the Canadian meteorological service, as well as at UCD studying the extreme ocean waves we experience off the Irish coast. In February 2016 he joined Met Éireann's Research, Environment and Applications Division as a meteorologist focussing on NWP.

NWP is the branch of meteorology relating to the mathematical models of the atmosphere that are run on large computers in order to produce weather forecasts. At Met Éireann, our main forecast model currently in operation is called HARMONIE, and is developed through an international cooperation between 26 European countries. We run this four times daily on the supercomputer at the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) in Reading, which, as of June 2017, is the 25th most powerful supercomputer in the world.

Colm's work covers a number of aspects of NWP, both operational and research, and in collaboration with colleagues both in Met Éireann and in various European partner meteorological services. Operational tasks include monitoring the quality of the models by verifying the forecasts against observations, as well as responding to any technical problems with the smooth running of the forecasting suite. His research involves longer-term issues with the HARMONIE model, such as how the mathematical algorithms will perform when we wish to move to a higher-resolution and get more detail from the forecasts.

In practice, this means writing various bits of computer code, looking at lots of resulting graphs, turning things off and on again when they fail, and occasionally doing a bit of good old-fashioned pen-and-paper maths!


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