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Life begins as a meteorology postgraduate

According to a report released in 2012, 58% of British citizens discuss the weather on a daily basis. Fifty-eight percent!  As a nation we complain when it’s too hot or too cold, moan when it’s too wet or too dry, we like to analyse it, critique it, and of course blame the forecasters when something goes wrong. In a recent survey of things that make us uniquely British, talking about the weather was voted number one. Whichever way you look at it, Britain is obsessed with the weather, and has become a national stereotype in the process. Despite our delight and hatred of the changeable weather conditions, which can often occur in a matter of a few hours, few understand the meteorological science behind it, including me. That is why I have begun a postgraduate masters course at the University of Reading, to understand, learn and explore the science, theory and reasoning behind the ‘weather’.

My three years as an undergraduate at the University of Southampton studying Geography and Geology were amazing. I was able to study two of the most interesting, scientifically important and enjoyable subjects on offer, meeting many great people, travelling to some incredible worldwide destinations (the New Forest included…) in a friendly, working environment. Reading, you have a lot to live up to…

Why a masters in Meteorology?

Deciding to studying Meteorology at postgraduate level was an easy choice; obtaining the finance, not so (more on this in a future MyUniversityLife post). I have always been interested in the weather and climate, even as far back as GCSE level. I distinctly remember sketching the types of weather fronts and trying to memorise the types of clouds in the atmosphere – something we subsequently covered during the first few lectures here at Reading! Throughout my undergraduate degree, meteorology and climate was discussed extensively in relation to Geographical and Geological phenomenon, the response of the Ganges–Brahmaputra Delta to the monsoon season jumps to mind in particular. But there was no specific module on the mechanics of meteorology or the atmosphere – nor should there be, in my opinion. I studied for a Geography and Geology course and got exactly that degree – and a great degree programme it was too. I suppose the global meteorological issues that were brought to my attention during my time at Southampton made me want to pursue this qualification in meteorology and atmospheric science.

How come it never rains inside a barn? – It’s a stable atmosphere. 😆

What am I studying?

MSc Applied Meteorology, to be exact. The course aims to provide its students with a scientific background for research and careers across meteorology (which I’ve come to realise is a much wider scientific field than I originally thought). Across the next twelve months I will undertake modules in Weather, Climate, Forecasting, Computing, Measurements, Instrumentation, culminating in a written scientific Dissertation next summer. The course offers a good mix of theoretical, technical, mathematical, physical and practical modules. No physical science degree at university would be complete without a fieldtrip, and meteorology is no different – fingers crossed that the weather is clear and dry for our trip to Dorset, but if previous fieldtrips are to go by, I doubt that.

How are things going so far?

Very well. Welcome week consisted of a standard ‘introduction to the course’ and a mundane health and safety talk – which is absolutely necessary! The opening week culminated in an entertaining, but very competitive, meteorology quiz – the less said about the result of this the better (lets hope our final grades don’t mirror those scores!). These departmental events ran alongside a number of university based events such as a welcome talk from the Vice Chancellor, the freshers and sports fayres and a postgraduate BBQ – and everyone knows that students don’t turn down free food!

NEXT WEEK: Start of lectures and moving back into halls

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About James Cosgrove (27 Articles)
22 • Welsh • BSc Geography & Geology • MSc Applied Meteorology graduate - University of Reading

2 Comments on Life begins as a meteorology postgraduate

  1. Sounds like a good start, you’re running behind a bit though 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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