'A Brief History of Weather Forecasting' at NUI Galway

Monday, 20 November 2006

20 November 2006: Brendan McWilliams, author of the popular Irish Times column 'Weather Eye', will deliver a public lecture at NUI Galway at 7pm on 29 November, in the IT Building, room 125. The free public event, entitled 'From Elementary Curiosity to Chaos: A Brief History of Weather Forecasting', will take a fascinating look at the art and science of predicting weather through the years.

McWilliams is a meteorologist, and for the past eighteen years he has written the daily Irish Times column, which is a fascinating and authoritative insight into our daily weather patterns. He is a former Deputy Director of Met √Čireann and in the early 1990s served as Director of the Programme of Expert Studies on Climate Change on behalf of the Department of the Environment.

According to McWilliams, "Our ancestors tried to predict weather changes by the appearance of the sky or by watching the behaviour of plants and animals. During the past 400 years our knowledge of the mechanics of the weather has progressed to the stage where accurate forecasts, based on the latest satellite technology, advanced computer models of the atmosphere and sophisticated communications networks, are taken more or less for granted. The current challenge for meteorology is to predict, not just tomorrow's weather, but the climatic evolution of our planet in the coming decades."

The event is being hosted by NUI Galway's Environmental Change Institute (ECI), which leads research in areas such as Biodiversity, Climate Change, Marine Environment, Waste, Social and Economic Impact, Human Impact and Modelling Systems.

Professor Gerard Jennings, Director of the ECI, commented, "This promises to be a fascinating and informational evening with one of Ireland's foremost experts on weather. In Ireland, discussing the weather is the perennial conversation piece and even more so now as people are noticing changing weather patterns and becoming more conscious of the human impact on our environment."

For further information on the event, please contact Sarah Knight of NUI Galway's Environmental Change Institute on 086 3092663.

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Notes to editors

Brendan Mc Williams is a meteorologist, and for the past 18 years he has written the daily Irish Times column 'Weather Eye'. He is a former Deputy Director of Met √Čireann and in the early 1990s served as Director of the Programme of Expert Studies on Climate Change on behalf of the Department of the Environment. From 1998-2000 he was a Member of EU Fifth Framework Programme External Advisory Group on Global Change, Climate and Biodiversity, and has been, more recently, a Director and member of the Management Board of EUMETSAT, the European Meteorological Satellite Organisation in Darmstadt, Germany. He is an Honorary Life Member of both the Royal Dublin Society and the Irish Meteorological Society.

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