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Exeter on 5th May 2017

I was excited to be at my first BFWG open day and I totally enjoyed networking during the buffet sandwich lunch with women from all walks of life. At Midday, a talk was given by Dr Cath Senior on Climate modelling: credibility and capability. She talked about how the dynamics of the atmosphere could be modelled by formulating equations, thus being able to predict the weather. These models used to predict the weather change in temperature are done using complex supercomputers (housed in the MET office) which perform trillions of calculations per second. We were made aware that the observed temperature has changed over the years from 1890-2010 and these change were as a result of man-made influences. An on-going challenge for the MET office is that it is difficult to model cloud because they would have to develop models for the different time frames. We were made to understand that policy on climate change would require credibility, predictions, amount of the scale coupled with climate models.

 

Early career researchers from the MET office also gave a 5min lighting presentation. Dr Elizabeth Brock talked about her work on scientific consultancy to customers in the water industry. Dr Fraeya Whiffin also shared her experience of working for the government through the science advisory council e.g. FDA, NHS etc. The science advisory group are also set up for emergencies for example in 2014 –Ebola, 2015- Nepal, 2009- Pandemic flu. etc. Dr Natalie Garrett gave a brilliant talk about her transition as a researcher in Bio photonics from the University of Exeter to working as a Senior European Climate Services Coordinator where she organizes the European wide coordination to support action for climate services called Climateurope. The project is funded by the European Commission involving the following countries (France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Serbian, Spain, Sweden and the UK).

Prof. Rosa Barciela on “Work, women and the will to improve the status quo” gave an inspiring talk on gender balances in the MET office. The international journal ‘Nature’ published in 2013 that women were significantly underrepresented in the MET office with only 27% of women making up scientific staff. The majority of women were foundation scientists with only a few going on to Fellow positions. Progress was however made by 2015, with a total of 31% of women making up scientific staff. A program has been set up called the ‘Glass Life programme’ to generate change by building leadership capacity, increase equality, diversity and inclusion. Also, progress has been made in order to get accreditation for the ATHENA SWANN diversity and career progression for women particularly in STEMM.

Ese Ifie: PhD Researcher, University of Exeter

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