Interview with Katie Howard
Weather Forecaster, UK Met Office, Exeter
When did you first become interested in meteorology?
When I was studying physics at Sheffield University, I wasn't sure what to do and researched career options; it seemed interesting!
What is your job title and can you give us a synopsis of what your job entails?
Aviation/Commercial Forecaster – I produce weather forecasts for both Aviation (Pilots, Balloonists, Gliders etc) and Commercial (BBC scripts, utility companies, construction etc) for the Met Office. I also answer ad hoc enquiries and have been mentoring new trainees.
Have you an opinion on climate change and the current challenges to climate science?
Well I would say that the climate is changing and one of the main challenges is getting a consensus on what we should do and what to believe. It's all mixed up with the argument on pollution and fossil fuels so it's confusing with conflicting ideas.
What weather proverb would you stake your reputation on?
I wouldn't stake my reputation on it but I quite like “Cold is the night when the stars shine bright.”
What type of weather most interests you?
I enjoy most of it, but visibility such as fog is very challenging and I quite like thunderstorms!
What is your favourite anecdote/joke about the weather?
We had a guy call us once asking what the winds at 200ft had been the day before, the direction and all kinds of really fine detail. When asked why, he said that he'd been doing some aerial photography, with his camera attached to a balloon on a rope, the rope had snapped and he want to try and work out where it would've landed! The best bit was the wind was going out to sea and he was on the coast...
What other interests do you have outside Meteorology?
I like lots of things. Currently I'm learning Italian, enjoy yoga, do quite a lot of travelling, am doing a form of self defence called Krav Maga and sky-diving.
Who would you like to have at your dream dinner party?
All my friends from around the world that I don't get to see very often. I don't really care about celebrities or famous historical characters.
What changes do you see happening in the UK Met office over the next 10 years?
I'm not sure. I don't think we'll be moving from Exeter any time soon. I think we'll increasingly have to compete with private companies.