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J.Tsogt: I disagree with traditional meteorological principles

Trans. by B.DULGUUN

World Meteorological Day was observed on March 23, commemorating the convening of the World Meteorological Organization in 1950. On this special day, the Head of the Weather Forecasting Section of the Institute of Hydrology, Meteorology and Environmental Monitoring (IHMEM) of Mongolia, J.Tsogt, was interviewed about his career as a meteorologist.

Happy World Meteorological Day! Shall we begin the interview by clarifying how many people working in meterology are required for weather forecasting?

A lot of people have to work hard to make weather forecasts. For instance, a meteorologist will have to collect quantitative data from 1,500 to 1,600 stations to predict the next day’s weather forecast, as well as make a five-day weather forecast. Later, they’ll have to process and analyze the data.

Mongolia has 1,500 weather stations, where 135 people work. Some people think meteorologists sit around monitoring screens and equipment. It’s not like that. Weather forecasting is a very responsible job. Operations continue for an entire 24 hours. There are also people who think meteorological organizations do nothing but make weather forecasts. In fact, many different experts work at these organizations. For example, a water expert, meteorologists, a person in charge of environmental affairs, and so on. IHMEM functions thanks to the efforts of all these people.

How many years have you been working at IHMEM?

This is my 38th year working at IHMEM. There used to be a Department of Meteorology at the Faculty of Physics and Mathematics at the National University of Mongolia. I graduated from that class in 1977, and I’ve been working at this organization since then. During this time, I’ve mainly focused on weather forecasting.

Did you start off your career from your current position as the head of the Weather Forecasting Section?

The organization was named the Institute of Water, Meteorology and Research when I had just graduated from university. There was a weather forecasting division and I was employed there as an engineer making short-term forecasts. The section head was a man named E.Naidan. I worked for nearly a month as an intern under the guidance of D.Myagmardorj, an excellent engineer of the section with plenty of experience. Later, I began working independently. I worked as the senior engineer of the Weather Forecasting Bureau of Khentii Province from 1983 to 1984, and became the senior engineer at my current department in 1985. I was promoted to section head of the Weather Forecasting Section in 2005, to the Deputy Director of Service in 2009, and then returned to being the section head until March 1, 2014, when I became the head of the Weather Forecasting Section due to changes in organizational structure.

When you had just joined the Weather Forecasting Section, did you consider working for a different section?

Now that I think about it, I never thought of that. At the time, working in the city was quite difficult. Not to mention, I had already started my own family then. Wherever I was given an assignment, I accepted it no matter what. Obviously, a new engineer would lack experience and not know a lot of things. Nowadays, forecast weather maps can be developed with computers. When I was first employed, I had to draw these sorts of maps and graphs by hand. Senior engineers would check and redevelop the materials I finished. Because of pencil lead, desks and even clothes would get dirty. I used to wear sleeve protectors to keep my sleeves and clothes clean and forget to take them off after work. As soon as I realized I still had my sleeve protectors on, I would get embarrassed and quickly take them off.

People in Mongolia used to say meteorologists are the biggest liars. Now that technology has advanced, have forecasts become more accurate and consistent?

Comparing that time with the present day is like comparing day and night. If it took 45 minutes for weather forecasting before, now it can be completed in five minutes. I’ve thought about it a bit and realized that there’s nothing more useful than analyzing your own mistakes. Repetitive analysis and persistent work have helped me improve my the quality of my work afterwards.

Was it difficult to work as a meteorological engineer?

There were times when it was extremely hard. No matter how depressed I was, I never thought of quitting my job. You could probably imagine how I felt, especially when lightning strikes with heavy rainfall after it’s been forecast that there will be no precipitation, or when calm weather has been reported and windy weather kicks up dust. There were times when I would accurately forecast natural disasters, notified residents in time, and received a lot of motivation and encouragement from it.

Was it your own decision to become a meteorologist?

Yes, it was my decision. Neither of my parents ever told me to become a meteorologist. I graduated from School No.2. An exhibit on geography was organized in grade 10. I made a tool that measured thickness for the exhibition, which most likely directed and brought up my aspiration towards my current occupation.

How much was your first salary?

The salary for engineers used to be 650 MNT a month. I received 325 MNT for my first paycheck. An additional 300 MNT was given to everyone who joined the organizations immediately after graduating school so I received 625 MNT in total. I remember not spending it on anything and giving it straight to my parents. Still, they returned it, saying that it would be useful to me later. I don’t know why, but I felt like I must give my pay to my parents.

How dedicated were you in your career?

I might have been a maniac. In general, people born before 1990 were workaholics. They actively participated in community work, too. They were the first ones to partake in party and union work, as well as other projects to develop labor principles and regulations. I even checked on people on night duty in the morning. A lad named J.Batbayar told me that I was extremely terrifying and that he used to come up with practice questions and answers, just in case I questioned him about various things in the morning after his night shift.

Were you very strict?

I’m a man of few words, but said what I had to. At the time, I never thought I was scolding anyone. But it seems that I used to frighten people.

Have you ever been able to forecast the weather by looking at the sky?

I don’t agree with that. I’m an expert on meteorology. So I consider traditional meteorology principles to be nonsense. There are people who do weather forecasting like that. Yet, those people aren’t criticized for being wrong.

What is your biggest concern?

A strong storm took the lives of 43 people and 800 livestock in eastern provinces from April 18 to 20, 1980. Later, another strong storm occurred in eastern provinces from May 26 to 27, 2008. Fifty-two people lost their lives and over 240 livestock died. Meteorology organizations had warned about these conditions three days in advance. It’s good that residents are warned about these disasters, but people should take them seriously. On the other hand, the person who forecast it suffers greatly. They think about it for several days. Their heart sinks when they hear about the casualties of extreme weather disasters.

Also, I’ve been working at a government organization for over 30 years. I’ll soon retire. Sometimes I think that I should be legally given the status of a civil service employee. I don’t think that meteorologists are considered civil servants. I’m very concerned about this. Teachers and doctors are the first ones to be put in this category, and they should be. Meteorologists are also people serving the public on behalf of the state. There seems to be a one-time grant aid equal to the wage of several years to civil servants who lost their life while on duty. Even in the Law on Disaster Protection, it states that the salary of people who do restoration work will be increased by several fold. Yet the Law on Disaster Protection and Public Service Act doesn’t apply to meteorologists. Furthermore, there is the Law on Hydro-meteorology and Environmental Monitoring. Even this law doesn’t have any specifications about social security for meteorologists. The government should take note of this.

 

Source: http://mongolnews.mn/1i6b

 

Short URL: http://ubpost.mongolnews.mn/?p=13907

Posted by on Mar 26 2015. Filed under Prime Interview. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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