Monica was a natural candidate for a science career, always asking 'How?' and 'Why?' As a weather forecaster, she will be asking the same questions for some time to come.
Job description: Analyses the weather daily; issues forecasts to pilots, media, fire-fighters and general public; studies the interaction between weather and fires.
Subjects studied: Maths, Physics, Chemistry, English and Music.
Further training: Monica completed a Bachelor of Science at Monash University (3 years); and a Graduate Diploma in Meteorology, Bureau of Meteorology (1 year).
Monica's natural curiosity focused on the weather when she did work experience at CSIRO Atmospheric Research in Year 11 so much so that she became a forecaster.
Her day starts with a check on the current weather conditions using observations of wind, temperature, humidity, cloud and rainfall data as well as satellite images. Then she turns to the 'crystal ball'-output from six different computer models showing pressure patterns up to seven days ahead.
In discussion with her colleagues she agrees on a forecast which will then enter a constant cycle of revisions.
"On any one day, a forecaster may talk to pilots, fishermen, balloonists, fire authorities and the public. They all want the latest weather information. Some forecasters also do regular radio spots."
Monica's first posting is with the Severe Weather team, looking at thunderstorms, tropical cyclones and fire weather. Most of its forecasting work is done in summer; during winter that work is assessed and used as a basis for improving the hit rate for the following season.
What's up ahead?
Careers in the Bureau are usually long because there are lots of different forecasting areas, with jobs in all capital cities. Forecasters also do summer expeditions to Antarctica, a place Monica has wanted to visit since seeing her first ice cores at CSIRO.
Meteorologists forecast the weather and study the atmosphere to improve the understanding of climate.
Meteorologists may perform the following tasks:
- Use and develop scientific techniques to forecast and interpret climatic conditions
- Analyse and interpret surface, upper level and other measurements (including satellite cloud images, remote sensing data and other information about atmospheric conditions)
- Prepare weather forecasts for the public and for specific users
- Issue warnings for cyclones, storms, gales, floods, frosts and fire danger
- Prepare special forecasts for aviation, agriculture, fishing, shipping and national events
- Study climate and identify climatic change
- Work with physicists and engineers to develop observation equipment and distribute information on topics such as air pollution
- Supervise and coordinate the work of technical officers and meteorological observers
- Enjoy and have ability in science, especially physics and mathematics
- Flexible and resourceful
- Interested in the provision of meteorological services to the community
- For employment in the Bureau of Meteorology, Australian citizenship or the eligibility to apply for Australian citizenship is required
Find out more about a career in meteorology:
Careers, Bureau of Meteorology
GPO Box 1289 Melbourne, VIC 3001
Tel: (03) 9669 4000
Fax: (03) 9669 4699
Find out more about this career path at myfuture.edu.au (Note: free registration is required to access the myfuture site).