WORKED Preston, High Wycombe and Bracknell, England. Edinburgh, Scotland
HONOURS 2005 Outstanding Service Award of Royal Meteorological Society
I became involved with the “Scottish Superwomen of Science” project when Frances M Lynch contacted the Edinburgh Soroptimists club to ask for assistance with her 2017 Edinburgh Festival Fringe production. When we met in January 2017 I mentioned to her that meteorologists used an international numerical code to exchange weather observations which were then used as the basic data for computer models to forecast the weather. Frances was intrigued by the idea and used data I produced in this way about the Great Eyemouth Storm of 1881 to create “Stormsong 1881” with Eyemouth High School music students.
This music is part of the Stormsong 1881 Minerva Scientifica Project and was written in collaboration with Meteorologist, Marjory Roy. It is a direct translation of Meteorological data created from the Daily Weather Report which was published by the Met Office covering the period before during and after the storm of 1881. It is a tribute to the community of Eyemouth, and their extraordinary courage and tenacity in recovering from the Great Disaster of 1881.
I was a pupil at the Mary Erskine School for Girls, Edinburgh and specialised in Maths, Physics and Chemistry. I studied physics at Edinburgh University and graduated with a BSc with 2nd class honours in 1960. I then completed an MSc by dissertation in meteorology at Edinburgh University in 1961. In 1990 I returned in my retirement to Edinburgh University and obtained in 1995 an MPhil by thesis on “A study of orographic effects on rainfall and their implications for the operational use of weather radar”
I joined the UK Met Office in November 1961, working in forecasting, high altitude meteorology, agricultural meteorology and climatology. In 1981 the Met Office posted me to Edinburgh as the officer in charge of the climatological office for Scotland. I took early retirement in 1990. I worked for 10 years as a volunteer car driver for the Scottish Ambulance Service, taking people to hospital appointments etc. I became Honorary Secretary of the Scottish Centre of the Royal Meteorological Society and held that position until 2006.
Agricultural Meteorology – I was seconded for 4 years to the Grassland Research Institute at Hurley in Berkshire and provided meteorological expertise in the interpretation of their experimental results. Agricultural meteorology involves cross-discipline interaction, which is a concept that needs to be followed more widely, particularly in environmental science.
Orographic Rainfall – I analysed a number of events of prolonged heavy orographic rainfall in Scotland. These had led to serious flooding, and I was able to advise the hydrologists who were responsible for flood warnings on the weather scenarios associated with those events so that they could better understand what was happening.
Ben Nevis Weather Observatory (above) – I publicised the existence of this important resource of hourly mountain weather data through lectures and a book and made use of the data myself for research purposes. The data have now been digitised through a citizen science project which makes them readily available for further research.