Early Career Atmospheric Turbulence Scientist Supported by RMetS Legacies Fund

Isabel Smith
20 May 2024

Since 1961, the Legacies Fund has supported RMetS members through financing grants for scientific activities. Recent recipient, Isabel Smith, shares how the Legacies Fund aided her professional development as a PhD student investigating changes in atmospheric turbulence using high resolution climate models.

Good Morning Baltimore; American Metrological Society Annual Conference 2024

This year’s American Meteorological Society (AMS) annual conference was held in Baltimore Maryland, USA. As a University of Reading final year PhD student, I was extremely keen to present my research topic and findings at this international conference. I was lucky enough to be granted the Royal Meteorological Society (RMetS) Legacies Fund, which gave me the opportunity to travel across the Atlantic to Baltimore. 

With my PhD focusing on upper-level atmospheric turbulence, I spent most of the week listening and learning within the Aviation, Range, and Aerospace symposium. A broad number of topics arose within this symposium from turbulence and icing forecasting at one end to using guilders for weather observations across India at the other.

On the last day of the conference, I presented work on clear air and mountain wave turbulence, and global warming trends within high resolution climate models. I thoroughly enjoyed discussing this work and answering questions from such a diverse audience within the aviation sector, from Federal Aviation Administration employees to academics from institutions across the USA and world.

One of the notable attendees was the RMet’S own Chief Executive, Liz Bentley. Liz Bentley attending my talk, highlights the support PhD students gain from being a member of the RMetS, be it financial through the Legacies Fund or encouragement in our early careers.

Before returning to the UK, a fellow PhD student and I travelled to Washington DC (an hour from Baltimore). Here we explored the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Capitol Hill, and the White House. Overall, this funded trip was a very rewarding experience. I gained a lot of confidence in myself as a scientist and developed connections for future job prospects and career paths.