Extreme weather expert

    Adam Morgan

    Adam Morgan Careers with STEM Bureau of Meteorology maths
    Adam Morgan is the Manager of the Extreme Weather Desk at the Bureau of Meteorology. Image: Tina Smigielski

    Adam Morgan has been interested in weather for as long as he can remember – and now he’s turned it into a career.

    Adam says if you ask his mum she’ll tell you he always had his head in the clouds! He never missed the weather on the news and when the topic was introduced in his year 9 science class, Adam was the only one who already knew what an isobar was (FYI, they’re lines on a weather map connecting points of equal atmospheric pressure).

    However, Adam didn’t make the connection that he could turn his passion for all things rain, hail and shine into a career until he’d already started uni. “When I went to uni I just kept studying the things that I enjoyed, and that led to a career that I enjoyed,” he says.

    Charting a future job

    Adam studied a combined Bachelor of Arts majoring in Japanese and German and a Bachelor of Science majoring in maths and physics at Monash University. He says his “lightbulb moment” for choosing meteorology as a career came when he took
    a six-week internship at the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) during his third year of uni.

    “I remember one day a BOM researcher was describing a particular weather phenomena and writing down these equations and I was like, ‘oh my gosh, those equations are exactly what I’m learning  at university!’ – it was the first time I really felt like the stuff I was studying in maths and physics was directly applicable to things I could see and feel every day,” he says.

    Following an additional Honours year at Monash, Adam completed a 12-month Graduate Diploma of Meteorology at the BOM and is now manager of the Extreme Weather Desk there.

    To the extreme

    In this role, Adam leads a team of meteorologists that support state and territory weather forecasters in providing forecasts and warnings for severe and extreme weather – think cyclones, floods and dangerous fire conditions. There’s also a communications aspect to his role, which means you might spot Adam on TV or a Twitter video when there’s an extreme weather event going on.

    And yes – being a meteorologist at a party will attract a lot of interest (when was the last time you met a weather forecaster in real life?). Adam says he’s often asked the same three questions when he tells someone he’s a meteorologist. What TV station do you work for? (Answer: None! The BOM is a government organisation.) Does that mean you study meteors? (Nope – that would be an astronomer.) And what will the weather be like at my wedding in two years’ time? (Sorry, too far away to tell.).

    This article originally appears in Careers with STEM: Maths & Data 2020.

    Gemma Chilton

    Author: Gemma Chilton

    Gemma has a degree in journalism from the University of Technology, Sydney and spent a semester studying environmental journalism in Denmark. She has been writing about science and engineering for over a decade.

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