Sidmouth meteorologist awarded OBE

A Sidmouth meteorologist said he could never have forecast being named on the New Year’s honours list.

Professor Brian Golding followed a schoolboy interest in the weather to a career at the Met Office that has spanned four decades.

In a year that began with droughts and ended with flooding, the semi-retired scientist bagged an OBE for services to weather forecasting and the prediction of hazardous weather.

“It was a project on meteorology that grew into something bigger,” he said.

He added: “There always needs to be more in schools and on the curriculum to encourage people to get interested, especially in the mathematical side.”

A degree in mathematics took him to the national institution, which he says is ‘perhaps the best in the world’ and where he is now a Fellow in Weather Impact.

He is fascinated by the weather, saying he would be frustrated by a discipline with intangible results, but it may never be an exact science.

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The Egypt Millford Road resident said: “Predicting the weather depends on three things: good observation, really good scientists, and big computers to solve the equations.

“We need to maintain a good supply of each.”

He represented his workplace during Sidmouth’s first science festival in October, and praised the role of such events in fostering interest.

“Science festivals around the country have a tremendous part to play in encouraging the next generation of scientists,” said Brian.

The Met Office staff will again make an appearance at the science festival, which will return in October this year.

In the meantime, the professor will be leading a Caf� Scientifique discussion on the history of weather forecasting on January 18 in Sidmouth’s Costa Coffee.

Looking ahead to 2013, Brian said global trends suggest it will be one of the warmest years on record.