Interview with the Met Office

Posted by on Thursday, June 9, 2016
Met Office.svg
By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=14446086

We asked a meteorologist at the U.K. Met Office to answer a few questions about their job. Here is the interview.

1. Please state your job title.
Senior Operational Meteorologist

2. How long have you worked here?
Over 8 years.

3. What are your duties?
I provide 24/7 operational forecasting and warning services for a variety of benches. Some of these services include volcanic ash dispersion  (London VAAC), public weather (Met Office website),  local resilience and aviation support. I am also one of the advisors for our new Space Weather bench, forecasting geomagnetic storms and solar flares.

4. Do you interact with the public in your position? And if so in what capacity?
I write forecasts that are displayed on our public website, and also support adhoc public queries and help those who are on benches which are public-facing (such as our media/press team).

5. What would you say is the biggest challenge of your job?
Providing bespoke weather information, often high-impacting, in quickly developing and uncertain scenarios, such as snow or ice events. This information also has to be translated from scientific terminology into plain language tailored for the customer, which can be a challenge in itself.

6. What does an average day at your job consist of?
12-hour shift work (day and night shifts). The bulk of the day/night is spent reviewing and monitoring the current weather situation and providing forecasts. To do this I use a range of models, ground and satellite observations, and expertise between other forecasters, science and management. Most forecasts are routine and involve anything between writing text or direct consultation with the customer over the phone. 

7. What, if any, challenges do working in this location have?

The forecasts I write are often for areas in which I am not located. When you are forecasting on-location (as many of our services can be, such as defence stations) it is much easier to understand how the weather might be developing when you can observe the clouds and conditions in reality, rather than through a computer screen.

8. What advice would you give to a school aged child who is interested in this position?
It is a very unique job in that you are technically a scientist, whilst at the same time providing a service like on the high street. You need to be good at Maths and Science to understand what is happening in the atmosphere, but also good at customer service and perhaps presenting in case you end up on TV! You get to see some very cool stuff, and being a Meteorologist I would say is a very interesting and rewarding job, especially if you’re a weather nerd like me.

9. What sparked your interest in meteorology?
Watching thunderstorms at a very early age. All I wanted to do was understand how and why they happened. Once I started to understand, I wanted to know how the rest of the weather worked. Now when I look at the sky, all I see is The Matrix (movie reference).

10. What is one pro and one con of your job?
A pro, as a weather nerd, is my hobby manifests itself in my job and I feel thoroughly enthused in my work, and see a lot of cool stuff along the way. The con is the weather doesn’t stop, so the service doesn’t stop. This means working potentially every hour god sends you, including Christmas and New Year. 



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