I joined the Met Office in November 2017 as a Trainee Operational Meteorologist. It was somewhat of a natural progression from my Masters in Applied Meteorology at the University of Reading. However, whilst many of my peers have gone into research I knew I wanted a job that was more practical. I’ve always been fascinated at how the weather is communicated to the public – it’s still not an exact science, as I’m sure you are aware! Working now as an Operational Meteorologist with our Defence aviation customers, each day provides a new challenge; in particular, how best to communicate to RAF pilots sometimes quite complicated weather with inherent forecast uncertainty.
Throughout a typical shift, I observe the weather unfolding outside my office window, analyse the latest model output, and verify how well the models are capturing the situation. A daily conference call with other meteorologists happens too. All of this helps to guide my forecast for the airfield. From that, pilots are interested in knowing my thoughts for today’s weather and the coming days, either for flight safety or for tactical training reasons. As a result you feel that you are making a difference to operations. There is nothing more satisfying then seeing your weather warning come to fruition and that you’ve saved a plane diverting! I work best with tight schedules and short tasks so the pace of the work keeps the job dynamic for me. When the weather is constantly changing a 12-hour shift can fly-by. And, when I leave the office, I can switch off quite readily.
Having completed a Summer Placement a few years back, I knew I wanted to start a career with the Met Office. And it’s not just because we are one of the leading national meteorological services in the world. The organisation has a real sense of camaraderie. Training at the Met Office College in Exeter for 6 months, I’ve made some long-lasting friends; some of whom I will work with again, either at my base, on an overseas tour, or over the phone when I’d like some advice. The OMFC ensures that you feel integrated into the wider Met Office community too. I think the training program is the best way to start a career in forecasting.