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The work of a Research Scientist ...
16 November 2017

Research Scientist, Laura

Can you describe your area of work?

My current work project is called Windsurfer and it deals with the risks associated with extreme winds and waves. Extreme winds pose major risks to life, property and forestry, while extreme waves can impact on offshore infrastructures and coastal communities, like storm Ophelia has shown us recently. The Windsurfer project is a partnership with 7 other European meteorological services and research institutions from the UK, Norway, Finland, The Netherlands, Spain, Italy and Greece. The Windsurfer project will develop new tools and methods to improve quantification of these risks and to understand how they might change in the future. The project will involve collecting observations and reanalysis data to characterise the most extreme storms that have hit Europe during the past 100 years, identify the atmospheric conditions that preceded them and dynamically downscale meteorological model data to study small scale structures within storms.


Figure: Footprint of storm Klaus (January 2009), from the Extreme Wind Storms (XWS) catalogue that covers major European wind storms for the period from 1979 to 2013

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

This is my first job in meteorology, it is a post-doctoral research position. I have recently finished a Ph.D. in atmospheric science in UCD within the Earth and Natural Science Doctoral Programme. My project was on the impact of large-scale atmospheric patterns on wind energy resources in Ireland. My previous work experience was in the field of wave and tidal energy, in particular, studying the environmental and socio-economic impacts of marine renewable energy technologies.

What is your favourite part about your work?

My project involves being in touch with researchers from many different countries and therefore the outcome will depend on a real effort of collaboration. Within Met Éireann, I enjoy working in a welcoming environment with people that are experts in many different fields.

What did you study to become a meteorologist?

I first obtained a B.Sc. degree in Marine Science. Then I completed an M.Sc. in Coastal Management and Engineering, involving a thesis on Marine Currents in the Mediterranean Sea. This included a short research internship, which I found really interesting and encouraged me to pursue a Ph.D. and a career in research.


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