A kind of dream job

Nicole Glaus decided on a climate master’s because of its versatility. Today she works as a TV meteorologist.

Hers is probably the most famous face among the alumni of the Graduate School of Climate Sciences. Nicole Glaus can be seen regularly on Swiss screens at prime time, as she is part of the 15-member team of SRF Meteo, which produces weather forecasts for Swiss radio and television. The climate scientist both makes and present her own forecasts. This is how it works at SRF Meteo: using data from weather models, the editorial members work out their own forecasts. These are then compared and discussed twice a day — for example, if there are different opinions on details such as the snow line. “There are relatively clear weather conditions,” explains Nicole Glaus, “but forecasting is also very much a question of interpretation. There’s a certain amount of room for manoeuvre.”

When Nicole Glaus applied for the position at SRF Meteo, she lacked the forecasting experience, but she stood out thanks to her other qualifications. She had already gained experience with an SRF news programme — and she had a master’s degree in climate science. Actually, the meteorologist initially wanted to pursue a career as a journalist. But she began to have doubts while working as a production assistant at TV magazine “10 vor 10” during her studies. “I missed the scientific work. I don’t just want to report on specialist fields, I want to be active in them.”

Nicole Glaus chose the climate master’s because of the wide range of subjects on offer. While pursing her bachelor’s degree in geography, the framework was much narrower, which is why she greatly appreciated the freedom to put together her own study program at the Graduate School of Climate Sciences. Out of pure curiosity, she attended courses in plant biology and statistics, as well as in geology, physics and political science. Finally, she wrote her master’s thesis on flood events in a Swiss Alpine lake during the Holocene. According to Nicole Glaus, the wide range of events on offer is both a blessing and a curse. “As much as the diversity appealed to me, the climate master lacks a clear profile and thus a clear professional image.”

Her fear that her training might have been too unfocused has meanwhile been shattered. “I found a kind of dream job — and right after my studies!” says Nicole Glaus. “Now I have a profession and the feeling that I’m in the right place. That’s very reassuring.”

(May 2019)