Question 1. What was your most memorable weather event?
For me, it was the flooding in southern Alberta, in June of 2013. Partly this is because it was the very first big weather-related event I covered as a science writer. The meteorological conditions that lead up to the floods were fascinating, and overall scope of the event – the imagery that came out of it, the number of people affected, and the incredible amount of damage it caused – really stuck with me. It certainly wasn’t my favourite event, as it was truly painful to watch the devastation it caused, but it is definitely my most memorable.
Question 2. What is your favourite and least favourite type of weather?
My favourite type of weather is thunderstorms, because I’ve always been fascinated by lightning. Not only the power it represents, but the details of how lightning is generated, how it’s sparked off (cosmic rays?) and the role it plays in the chemistry of the atmosphere, fertilizing soil and balancing Earth’s electric charge.
My least favourite type of weather … that’s a tossup between flooding and freezing rain. Seeing these potential impacts from the weather always fills me with dread, simply due to the widespread damage they can cause, and the threat to life that they represent.
Question 3. If you weren't a meteorologist what would you most like to be?
A fry cook on Venus? Just kidding… well, mostly. Ha ha. I think if I hadn’t gone into meteorology after studying physics, I’d probably have continued on into astronomy, and would have eventually become an exoplanet hunter – perhaps involved with the Kepler Space Telescope, or one of the terrestrial telescope projects dedicated to looking for planets around other stars.
As for choosing something else right now, while I’m still a meteorologist, I’ve dedicated myself to being a science writer. So, rather than directly forecasting the weather, these days I focus my passion for weather, astronomy, space exploration and science into informing the public about how awesome all of these things are.
Question 4. From a purely meteorological point of view, where would you most like to live?
Honestly? On the International Space Station. That answer may seem strange, since I wouldn’t experience any weather there. Seeing the images taken by the astronauts on the ISS, though, they have such an amazing vantage point to look down on all of Earth’s weather, and they see it all from more of a global perspective, rather than from only one place.
Question 5. Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Within the past year, I took my interest in all-things-weather and translated that into a YouTube series called Weather Wise. We wrapped up season one of the series a few months ago, with each of the 10 episodes dedicated to a different basic aspect of weather – why Earth has weather, the different layers of the atmosphere, temperature, humidity, pressure, wind, clouds, fog, precipitation, and fronts, to break down what goes into making our day-to-day weather conditions. We are currently filming season 2, which is all about extreme weather – thunderstorms, lightning, hail, tornadoes, hurricanes, etc, and these episodes should be showing up on the web soon. Here’s the series playlist, starting with Season 1 Episode 1: