My first interview is with meteorologist Chris Doyle. You will see his posts on here by the Twitter handle ensembleator.
1) How did your passion/love for meteorology start, or how did your desire to become a meteorologist start?
I think I’ve wanted to be a meteorologist before I could form coherent sentences. It’s really been a life-long passion. A significant fraction of Meteorologists I’ve worked with and know have wanted to do this since they were children.
2) What excites you most about your job?
I’m no longer an operational meteorologist having been kicked upstairs many years ago. What excited me before was the day to day challenge of trying to get the forecast right while focusing on those elements that made a difference like snow/no snow; the timing and intensity of windstorms, and keeping on top of the constantly improving technology and sources/types of data available.
3) What is/was your daily job routine like?
Nearly every meteorologist starts the day out the same way: you get a briefing by the outgoing shift on what’s going on, then you do an analysis much like I do on twitter most mornings. You need to quickly develop and maintain a situational awareness so you can focus on the anticipation of hazards which is the most important part of the job. Once you’ve assessed the current state you start consulting the models to get an idea of how the pattern will evolve both in the short run and out to a week or so.
4) Do you have any memorable storms/weather days or shifts on the job as a meteorologist that stand out to you?
Early in my career I worked a series of shifts in Halifax, NS, during what became known as “The Perfect Storm”. It went through an amazing lifecycle of a hurricane and mid latitude trough merging over the Eastern Seaboard of the US, morphing into a powerful baroclinic system, and then transforming, top-down, into a tropical system again. The development got so complicated the US National Hurricane Center refused to rename the eventual tropical end-state of the Perfect Storm – it just got too confusing.
5) Do you have any advice for people wanting to become a meteorologist?
A passion for Meteorology is a good beginning but one has to be fairly proficient at math and physics. The minimum requirements include a few at least second year university math courses and some 3rd year physics, generally thermodynamics. Increasingly we’re shifting into a place where the numerical weather prediction system will generate most of the routine forecasts and the Met will deal with high impact weather and its associated hazards (impact-based forecasting). So good communication skills are important too. Also, there are opportunities for Mets who are developers, i.e. know and can work with Python and other development platforms in a Linux environment, and understand GIS.