William Rosling, Operational Meteorologist in Aviation Forecasting, discusses his career to date
What is your role at the Met Office?
I am an operational meteorologist based at the SOC in Exeter where I work primarily in aviation forecasting.
What interested you in a job as an Operational Meteorologist?
I did an “Atmospheres and Oceans” module at university which included some material on global weather patterns and systems which I found interesting. I’ve also always been interested in predicting things and being able to simulate things with computer models, whether it be weather or even something like predicting football results. Before joining the Met Office I actually worked in catastrophe risk analysis for an insurance company which was about modelling losses from natural hazards such as earthquakes or hurricanes.
“I’ve always been interested in predicting things and being able to simulate things with computer models, whether it be weather or even something like predicting football results.”
What prior skills and education have been most useful to you with this job?
I studied geography BSc at university which was where my interest mainly came from. I also managed to get some work experience at another weather forecasting company which I enjoyed. I was even able to write a weather forecast for a local newspaper which was exciting!
What training did you go through to become a qualified operational meteorologist in the Met Office?
The training is essentially split into two parts. The first part is the OMFC which is based at the Met Office college, and this is mainly learning all the theory, e.g. dynamics, thermodynamics, cloud physics. It’s structured a bit like a university semester with written exams at the end. After doing the OMFC, I started my OJT which was also based at Exeter. This is when you’re shadowing operational meteorologists and learning how to do the different products they actually produce. At the end of OJT (on-the-job-training), you do the AMF assessment (Aeronautical Meteorological Forecaster qualification as defined by WMO). The AMF is when you do an operational shift solo whilst supervised by an assessor, and when they’re happy that you’re able to go solo then you qualify. In total I took about 16 months from starting the Operational Meteorology Foundation Course to passing my AMF, although this was affected by covid as well.
What have been the highlights of your career?
Hard to pick one but just one that springs to mind was the first time I wrote some of the public weather scripts and then saw them on the Met Office app, which was very satisfying!
Where do you see your career progressing in the future?
I’ve still got several ideas in my head. I’m thinking about looking into moving up to senior operational meteorologist in the near future. At some point I’m hoping I’ll be able to do an overseas tour as well. I’m also aiming to get more involved in model research and development.
“It’s good to be proactive and not just rely on having a degree—talk to tutors at university, try to make connections, look to get some work experience.”
What advice would you give to someone looking to pursue a career as a meteorologist?
There’s a lot of maths and physics but you don’t have to have done one of those at university. It’s good to be proactive and not just rely on having a degree—talk to tutors at university, try to make connections, look to get some work experience. And also don’t give up if you don’t get in straight away—I applied to the OMFC twice because I didn’t get in first time!