The Maths Behind Critical Weather Warnings

Claire Yeo, Meteorologist with the Bureau of Meteorology 

My speciality is severe weather forecasting. I forecast the weather for the Emergency Services and produce warnings for critical fire weather days or severe thunderstorms. Weather is ever changing which makes it interesting to watch. It is challenging, particularly at the extreme ends of the scale, so my job is rarely boring. I have to get it right as my decisions affect a lot of people.

I have always wanted to be a meteorologist. I did work experience at the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) and did Applied Physics at University after contacting the BoM asking for advice on what kind of graduates were required.

In my first year as a professional meteorologist, I did a Graduate Diploma in Meteorology. Mathematics and physics are at the core of what I do, I’m really drawing on the mathematics, thermodynamics and mechanics I learnt in the Applied Physics course.

Maths is integral to understanding the physics of the atmosphere. If you want a career as a meteorologist, it is a minimum requirement to have tertiary maths. The competition for jobs is fierce however the opportunities are amazing; forecasting for severe weather in the United States, including tornado forecasting, has been a special highlight.

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