Meet a Science Professional
We will be having this new segment on our website that will be updated every month where we will recognize someone in the science field and get to know a little bit about them!
This month we will meet Dr. Patrick Marsh from the Storm Predication Center in Norman, OK
Dr. Patrick Marsh, Meteorologist
1. How did you become interested in meteorology and science?
This is really hard to answer as I’ve been interested in weather as far back as I can remember. As an elementary student I once wrote that when I grew up I wanted to be the director of the National Severe Storms Laboratory or what is now known as the Storm Prediction Center!. More specifically though, when I lived in Georgia as a child, I remember sitting outside and watching afternoon thunderstorms. What really confirmed my choice to follow a career path in meteorology was the April 21, 1996, tornado in Ft. Smith, Ark. Two children were killed by this tornado. In fact, the cousin of one of my good friends at the time was one of those killed. My response to this event was that I wanted to become knowledgeable in forecasting such destructive weather and strive to ensure these fatalities do not happen again. Since then, I have been angling myself to become a part of the field of meteorology, and, in particular, studying and forecasting severe thunderstorms.
2. Tell us about your education and what education and training is required to become a meteorologist.
Ever since I was a little kid my education plan was to attend the University of Oklahoma. Unfortunately when it came time to go to school, OU did not offer me any scholarships whereas the University of Arkansas offered me what amounted to nearly a full ride. Being the son of an accountant, it was easy choice to make; I attended the University of Arkansas. Unfortunately, the UofA doesn’t offer a meteorology degree. So rather than explicitly study meteorology, I was a double major in Physics and Mathematics. I then attended graduate school at OU and earned a Masters of Meteorology and eventually my Doctorate.
If you don’t want to be an operational meteorologist within the federal government, the coursework will depend on who is hiring. Generally speaking, though, the list above works. The key is to remember that meteorology is an applied science. It lies in the intersection of applied physics and applied mathematics. And given the advent of high-performance computing and big data, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to break into meteorology without some sort of education in programming and/or Geographic Information Systems (GIS).
3. What’s the craziest weather day or night you have experienced?
I love it all! Sitting in a blizzard is cool; having thunderstorms produce copious amounts of sleet is awesome as well. Although the combined days of 19 and 20 May 2013 probably stand out as the most intense. On the 19th a long-tracked tornado developed north of my house by less than 5 miles. It then lifted almost 40 miles away, 5 miles away from a house I was moving into the following weekend. I spent most of that afternoon wondering if I would lose one or both residence! Then the following day, a violent, long-track tornado moved into Moore, OK, producing EF-5 tornado damage. All-in-all, in 2013, there were two separate stretched where EF-4 or stronger tornadoes occurred on back-to-back-to-back days.
4. Tell us about your past and current job roles in the science field.
At present I am a meteorologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Weather Service’s (NWS) Storm Prediction Center (SPC). We have the responsibility of forecasting severe thunderstorms and their associated hazards all across the continental United States. Additionally, we provide daily fire-weather forecasts given that many large fires are the result of lightning.
Before working at the SPC I was a graduate student at OU working for the National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL). Here I was involved in research projects such as the Verification of the Origin of Rotation in Tornadoes EXperiment 2 (VORTEX2). During this experiment I managed the operations center where we provided forecasts to those in the field and also maintained situational awareness to prevent the field teams from driving into something dangerous.
Additionally, I was the NSSL Liaison to the Hazardous Weather Testbed (HWT). Here I was tasked with maintaining data flows (read: make sure the data came arrived correctly) and developing software to allow for new visualizations of high-resolution numerical models.
5. What advice do you have for young people out there interested in a career in meteorology?
On a knowledge basis, learn to program. This will become increasingly important as the field continues to advance. In a more general sense, however, get involved! Reach out to people at the Storm Prediction Center; reach out to researchers; reach out to your local National Weather Service Forecast Office; reach out to your local television meteorologists! Meteorologists tend to be very good at mentoring the next generation. I have yet to find a meteorologist who wouldn’t take a few minutes out of their day to talk with and engage with a young, passionate person! You can do this via email or by social media. Feel free to email me (email@example.com) or Tweet me at @pmarshwx! I have a soft spot in my heart for students — mainly because so many older people invested in me when I was a student. It’s time for me to pay it forward, and I know many others in this field who feel the same way!
Young Meteorologist WeatherFest: Teaching Young Students About Severe Weather
Click the link below to view an article about the Young Meteorologist Program that was featured in the FEMA Children and Disasters Newsletter.
NOAA’s National Weather Service
Welcome to meteorological summer and right on time is the launch of the WRN Summer Seasonal Safety Campaign. Safety content, stories, blogs, social media posts, and infographics are now available for your use.
- Engage your employees and increase your organization’s resilience.
- Reach out to your stakeholders via social media.
- Use the content provided over the course of the next three months.
- Certain hazards not relevant in your area? Summer travel increases the need for awareness in areas that aren’t familiar.
Here is our seasonal campaign landing page and included below is the “coin” for your use.
We invite you to surf around the new-look Weather-Ready Nation homepage.
The website refresh really has our WRN Ambassadors in mind–better content relevant to your needs, easier navigation, and more hazard preparedness sites.
National Weather Service Director, Dr. Louis Uccellini, invites you to join him for a discussion on the NWS FY2017 President’s Budget on Wednesday, March 23, from 10:00-11:00 AM EDT. Q&A will follow Dr. Uccellini’s remarks.
We offer two options for you to join us. First, for those of you in the Greater Washington, D.C. area, we will be hosting the briefing at the NOAA Auditorium on the NOAA HQ campus in Silver Spring. If you would like to join us in person, please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
A second option is to join us via webinar. Please register at:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
If you have any questions, please reach out to Doug.
Follow us on twitter @WRNAmbassadors
NWS National Seasonal Safety Campaign: Preparing the public for hazardous weather year-round
Weather.gov > NWS National Seasonal Safety Campaign: Preparing the public for hazardous weather year-round
NOAA’s National Weather Service (NWS) wants you to be prepared for hazardous weather year-round. The aim of the National Seasonal Safety Campaign is to build a Weather-Ready Nation, one that is prepared for extreme weather, water, and climate events.
Each campaign includes seasonal resources that provide information that is vital to keeping you and your loved ones safe. These materials include websites, articles, social media, infographics, videos and other content around the weather hazards most common during the current season.
Materials for each campaign can be found by clicking the buttons at the top of the page. All content can be shared – we encourage it!
A New, More Timely Approach to Weather Preparedness
NWS chose to replace national safety awareness weeks with a year-round approach for a simple reason: bad weather happens year-round. For example, severe weather can occur anytime – it does not wait for a single week in March. With the National Seasonal Safety Campaign, we seek to inform the public about seasonal weather hazards during the time they are most common. This is a 365-day a year effort and can’t be confined to a single week.
While NWS will no longer lead national weather awareness/preparedness weeks (with the exception of Hurricane Preparedness Week), it will continue to support pre-existing awareness/preparedness weeks such as Rip Current Awareness Week and Lightning Safety Awareness Week.
In addition, NWS actively works with partners such as FEMA to provide consistent messaging on weather preparedness. Together with Weather-Ready Nation Ambassadors, NWS strives to communicate the importance of being prepared for extreme weather. We can’t do it alone! It takes all of us, working together, to build a Weather-Ready Nation.