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The work of an Instrument Engineer ...
14 November 2017

Instruments Engineer, Jennifer

What does a typical day entail?

The Instruments Unit is tasked with installing and maintaining Met …ireannís network of automatic weather stations so a typical day for me can vary greatly. One day could be spent working outside installing sensors and climbing masts. The next day could be indoors calibrating sensors, testing equipment or writing reports. All the instruments are calibrated and traceable to international reference standards following guidelines set out by the WMO. At the heart of each automatic weather station there is a data logger which is programmed to acquire sensor data. The logger programme converts the electrical signals to meteorological measurements and performs initial quality control on these measurements. The data are then sent to other users within Met …ireann for further quality control, used in the hourly weather reports and stored in the Climate database. We monitor the data produced ensuring that it is collected on time utilising dial-up, broadband, mobile and radio links. As some of our stations are remote and hard to access we use a combination of telecommunication methods. The constantly changing world of technology ensures we are kept busy testing these improvements and incorporating these into our existing stations.

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

I previously worked in the Aviation Division of Met …ireann. I was based at Shannon and Dublin Airport as a meteorological observer. My role as an observer involved keeping a continuous weather watch at the airport, taking observations every 30 minutes and coding these observations into a METAR, an hourly SYNOP and a local report for Air Traffic Control adhering to the standards set out by ICAO. These reports describe such variables as cloud height, type and the current weather conditions along with the wind speed and direction, temperature, dew point and pressure.

What is your favourite part about your work?

I really enjoy the varied nature of my job, getting to travel the country while servicing the weather stations and working outside when the weather is nice can be a bonus. Keeping up to date with new technologies is also an interesting aspect of my job.

What did you study?

My primary degree is a B.Sc from NUI Maynooth and after graduation I went on to complete a Higher Diploma in Applied Physics which gave me my first taste of meteorology as my final project was to build an automatic weather station. Shortly after I graduated I joined Met …ireann as a Meteorological Officer. I also completed a M.Sc in Meteorology while working as an observer at Dublin Airport.

(left) Malin Head automatic weather station (centre) Siting earth and soil PRTs (right) Data logger setup


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