The work of a Remote Sensing Meteorologist ...
15 November 2017
Remote Sensing Meteorologist, Sarah
What does a typical day involve?
When I arrive in the office, the first thing I usually check is that the operational systems I maintain are all running and there are no urgent issues to be addressed. I have responsibilities which support the areas of remote sensing, specifically weather radar, and numerical weather prediction (NWP), along with expertise in marine modelling. My role is usually split between operational development and research activities. It can really vary day-to-day, so that keeps the work interesting. Much of my operational development work involves a lot of coding/scripting, troubleshooting, problem solving and testing. I also try to make time for research every day. This usually focuses on using numerical models to run simulations, analysing these and collaborating with colleagues (also in academia or other meteorological services). Usually, this results in the production of new datasets, some increased organisational knowledge and expertise, and the publication of peer-reviewed research articles.
What other jobs have you previously done in the field of meteorology?
I actually started in Met Éireann as a Meteorological Officer over 10 years ago, firstly as a weather observer in Rosslare Harbour for a short time, before moving to the Instruments Unit where I worked for several years. My role there involved the calibration, installation and maintenance of the Automatic Weather Station (AWS) network. I then undertook a M.Sc and PhD while on a career break from the organisation, returning afterwards as a Meteorologist in the Research, Environment and Applications (REA) Division, where I have worked ever since.
What is your favourite part part about your work?
The favourite part of my job is definitely when I get to do scientific research. I love learning new things, solving new problems (or at least trying to!) and collaborating with experts in the field. My real passion is in marine modelling, so I'm always thrilled when I get to carry out even a little research in this area. I always aim to be involved in at least one scientific research project. It's great to be able to think in depth about a topic. I also love travelling to conferences and workshops as it's an important way to gain and share knowledge, network and to learn about the latest research and developments in the field.
How did you become a meteorologist?
I took quite a circuitous route to becoming a meteorologist. My primary degree is in Electronic and Electrical Engineering. I applied to join Met Éireann in a technical role and used my engineering skills in the Instruments Unit. I have always had a real interest in science, but being part of Met Éireann really peaked my interest in meteorology and the earth sciences. I started attending any public talks/lectures in the field that I could (for example, the excellent EPA Climate Change Lecture Series) and I joined the Irish Meteorological Society. I decided to go back to education full-time and completed an M.Sc in Meteorology. Discovering that I had a real passion for the research side of the M.Sc, I went straight on to pursue a PhD in Applied and Computational Mathematics, specialising in the numerical modelling of atmospheric and wind-wave models around Ireland and the North-east Atlantic. After several very enjoyable years in university completing my PhD, I returned to Met Éireann as a meteorologist.
Illustration 1: Satellite (left) and radar (right) images showing the passing of Ex-hurricane Ophelia on the 16th October 2016.
Illustration 2: Life in the Instruments Unit: out and about on fieldwork.