Alumnus testimonial

Kenny Aberson - Meteorologist (aviation)

Kenny’s biggest passion as a teenager was meteorology and he enjoyed looking out of his window to share his observations on weather forums. He obtained a bachelor’s degree in Soil, Water, Atmosphere and afterwards he decided to focus on the integration between soil, water and atmosphere in climate issues and therefore chose for the Master’s Climate Studies.

You get all the room you need to specialise within the MSc Climate Studies

Could you please tell us a bit about your experience during your master’s studies at WUR?
“When looking back, the master’s was a bit too broad for me, because at the beginning I did not know which specialisation to choose. Once you know what you want the Master’s Climate Studies is perfect because there is a lot of room to follow your path.

For my thesis, I was part of the large ‘HighNoon-project’ of Wageningen University and Alterra about climate change in the delta of the Ganges. I investigated how Indian farmers could irrigate more efficiently in the future when climate change occurs. For this, I used a model that simulated conditions in the field so I could change variables like rainfall, growth of the crops and soil characteristics. I used data about rainfall in the last 30 years to predict future rain patterns concerning climate change. This helped me to get an idea about the effects on the crops and harvests and advise on the irrigation.”

What did you do for your internship?
“During my thesis, I discovered that I like to work on the practical applications of meteorology. I worked at the KNMI (Royal Dutch Meteorology Institute) in the Weather Research department. There, I had to analyse large datasets and use programming to find a relationship between the altitude of the rain clouds and the intensity of the rainfall.

I was very happy that I learned how to do this during my masters’ in Climate Studies. It turned out that during the summer rain clouds at a higher altitude cause more rainfall. This sounds like a very straightforward conclusion, but a lot of steps have to be taken to display and localise rainfall intensity. I spent most of the time of the project on dealing with complications in the radar measurements.”

What is your current job?
“During my internship, I got the opportunity to work in the weather room, which is where I work permanently nowadays. For my job, Airmen call me to receive short term weather information to see if they can take off. There are people in the weather room 24/7 and 365 days per year so I also have to take nightshifts and work on weekends and holidays. This is not always nice, but it does not bother me because I enjoy my job.”

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