MeteoXchange 

Supporting International Collaboration for Early Career Researchers 

James Fallon – j.fallon@pgr.reading.ac.uk 
 

What is it? 

Due to lockdowns and travel restrictions since 2020, networking opportunities in science have been transformed. We can expect to see a mix of virtual and hybrid elements persist into the future, offering both cost-saving and carbon-saving benefits. 

The MeteoXchange project aims to become a new platform for young atmospheric scientists from all over the world, providing networking opportunities and platforms for collaboration. The project is an initiative of German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, and research society Deutsche Forschungsgesellschaft. Events are conducted in English, and open to young scientists anywhere. 

ECS Conference 

This year marked the first ever MeteoXchange conference, which took place online in March 2022. The ECS (early career scientists) conference took place over two days, on gather.town. An optional pre-conference event gave the opportunity for new presenters to work on presentation skills and receive feedback at the end of the main conference. 

Figure 1: Conference Schedule, including a keynote on Machine Learning and Earth System Modelling, movie night, and presenter sessions. 

Five presenter sessions were split over two days, with young scientists sharing their research to a conference hall on the virtual platform gather.town. Topics ranged from lidar sensing and reanalysis datasets, to cloud micro-physics and UV radiation health impacts. I really enjoyed talks on the attribution of ‘fire weather’ to climate change, and machine learning techniques for thunderstorm forecasting! The first evening concluded with a screening of documentary Picture a Scientist

During the poster session on the second day, I presented my research poster to different scientists walking by my virtual poster board. Posters were designed to mimic the large A2 printouts seen at in-person events. Two posters that really stood out were a quantification of SO2 emissions from Kilauea volcano in Hawaii, and an evaluation of air quality in Cuba’s Mariel Bay using meteorological diagnostic models combined with air dispersion modelling. 

Anticipating that it might be hard to communicate on the day, I added a lot of text to my poster. However, I needn’t have worried as the virtual platform worked flawlessly for conducting poster Q&A – the next time I present on a similar platform I will try to avoid using as much text and instead focus on a more traditional layout! 

Figure 2: During the poster session, I presented my research on Reserve-Power systems – energy-volume requirements and surplus capacity set by weather events. 

By the conference end, I got the impression that everyone had really enjoyed the event! Awards were given for the winners of the best posters and talks. The ECS conference was fantastically well organised by Carola Detring (DWD) and Philipp Joppe (JGU Mainz), and a wonderful opportunity to meet researchers from around the world. 

MeteoMeets 

Since July 2021, MeteoXchange have held monthly meetups, predominantly featuring lecturers and professors who introduce research at their institute for early career scientists in search of opportunities! 

The opportunities shared at MeteoMeets are complemented by joblists and by the MeteoMap: https://www.meteoxchange.de/meteomap. The MeteoMap lists PhD and postdoc positions across Germany, neatly displayed with different markers depending on the type of institute. This resource is currently still under construction. 

Figure 3: The MeteoMap features research opportunities in Germany, available for early career researchers from across the world. 

Travel Grants 

One of the most exciting aspects of the MeteoXchange project is the opportunity for international collaboration with travel grants! 

The travel funds offered by MeteoXchange are for two or more early career scientists in the field of atmospheric sciences. Students must propose a collaborative project, which aims to spark future work and networking between their own institutions. If the application is successful, students have the opportunity to access 2,500€ for travel funds.  

Over the last two weeks of April, I will be collaborating with KIT student Fabian Mockert  on “Dunkelflauten” (periods of low-renewable energy production, or “dark wind lulls”). Dunkelflauten, especially cold ones, result in high electricity load on national transmission networks, leading to high costs and potentially cause a failure of a fully renewable power system doi.org/10.1038/nclimate3338. We are collaborating to use power system modelling to better understand how this stress manifests itself. Fabian will spend two weeks visiting the University of Reading campus, meeting with students and researchers from across the department. 

Get Involved 

The 2022 travel grant deadline has already closed; however, it is hoped that MeteoXchange will receive funding to continue this project into future years, supporting young researchers in collaboration and idea-exchange. 

To get involved with the MeteoMeets, and stay up to date on MeteoXchange related opportunities, signup to the mailing list

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