Meteorologist — Nyree Thorpe

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Nyree always knew she would do something scientific—something to do with analysing, using gadgets and playing around with how things worked. She studied Mathematics, Chemistry and Physics after Year 10, and had her eye on Aeronautical Engineering, but that wasn't to be after her TER was slightly below what she had hoped for.

However, handling setbacks is second nature to farm people, and surely some of that has rubbed off onto Nyree, who grew up in central Victoria. With a good dose of determination, she surveyed her options and settled on an Associate Diploma in Scientific Instrumentation. She liked the instrumentation part of the course; and she sensed that the knowledge and skills she gained in the course would continue to grow as she pursued any job into the future.

So, when the two-year course was over, she found a suitable job opportunity in Meteorology. To accept a position in the Technical Officer Observer's Course meant the next 44 weeks in Nyree's life were organised: 35 in training, followed by two months of practical work in the field. That was fine with Nyree. There's nothing like being paid to do something you enjoy. And involvement with the weather had a certain amount of contact with people, which also appealed.

Now, a year later, Nyree is living and working at Casey in Antarctica! The coursework flew by, with Nyree learning about traditional weather recording methods (drum barograph, direct sunshine recorder, and mercury and alcohol thermometers) and more modern equipment (digicora radiosondes and automatic/remote weather stations).

The capacity to work to routines, follow procedures, and to be a reliable, independent worker were given high priority. As Nyree progressed to becoming a fully qualified Technical Officer Observer Level 2, she was being challenged to be well organised and adaptable in her habits. These traits were a key to her success as a relief officer in the remote weather stations of Giles in Central Australia and now Casey in Antarctica.

The observing program at Casey involves both surface and upper atmosphere observations. These include surface three-hourly synoptic observations, and the upper air-sounding program providing upper air data at twelve-hourly intervals.

Weather balloons are released, from which radiosonde signals transmit raw data to a receiver and the digicora is used to compute upper wind velocity and direction. Measurements are made of air pressure, temperature and moisture at upper levels of the atmosphere to about 28 km above sea level.

During the summer season Casey also supplies half-hourly messages suitable to the aviation industry. These include visual observations, pressure, humidity, temperature, and surface and horizontal definition (data used by pilots to assist with navigation and landing).

Nyree admits to being fortunate to be involved in such interesting and stimulating work. There are so many options opening up to Nyree now, but right now a degree in Meteorology is the greatest lure.