Imagine a rotating sphere that is 12,800 kilometers in diameter, has a bumpy surface, is surrounded by a 40-km-deep mixture of gases whose concentrations vary both spatially and over time, and is heated, along with its surrounded gases, by a nuclear reactor 150 million kilometers away. Imagine that this sphere is also revolving around the nuclear reactor and that some locations are heated more during one part of the revolution and other locations are heated during another part of the revolution. And imagine that this mixture of gases continually receives inputs from the surface below, generally calmly but sometimes through violent and highly localized injections. Then, imagine that after watching the gaseous mixture, you are expected to predict its state at one location on the sphere one, two or more days into the future. This is essentially the task encountered day to day by a weather forecaster.

On the difficulty of weather forecasting, Bob Ryan, Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 1982.

About Stu

Stu has been fanatical about weather and climate from the age of 10. The hobby gained momentum through the teenage years and this lead to the completion of a BSc at Victoria University in 1991, an MSc (hons) at Victoria University in 2000 and a PhD from the University of Canterbury in 2014. While Stu's climate research interests are varied, his specific interests are the prediction of minimum near-surface temperature in complex terrain, and local-scale climate studies of nocturnal boundary layer processes.

Stu founded Microclimate New Zealand in June 2002 and continued to manage the business until 2009. Stu formed a second business (Climate Consulting) in 2005 which continues to thrive today. While initially the business provided frost forecasts to the Marlborough and Waipara wine growing regions, it has expanded over recent years to encompass a range of climate services, in particular the provision of site-specific frost protection advice.