Making the weather more accessible


Aberystwyth University

Sally studied BSc. Geography at Aberystwyth, which meant that she studied both human and physical modules. These ranged from Volcanic Activity, Remote Sensing of the Environment and Geohazards to more human based modules such as People, Climate and the Environment, Theory and Methodology in Human Geography and Political Geography.


Sally wrote her dissertation on “What is the likelihood of Damaging Hydro-geologic Events (DHEs) occurring more or less frequently in the future in Calabria, Italy.” She attempted to use ENSEMBLE forecasts to predict whether DHEs (landslides and floods due to heavy precipitation) were likely to occur more or less often due to climate change. Unfortunately the idea was too big for a year project. Any statistics she calculated were very weak because she did not have a large enough sample size of past DHEs.


Damaging hydro-geologic events are a geohazard causing destruction all over Italy. Calabria is very susceptible to these events due to its mountainous topography and positioning next to the coast. This research calculates two temperature thresholds of -1 – 3 °C and 7-12 °C along with a precipitation threshold of 140-200 mm for these events. These thresholds are likely to occur more frequently if the global climate continues to increase. Therefore, there is a need to understand how these events will change with an ever warming climate.

Different statistical tests were calculated to create two equations to predict the damage index of an event and area that can be used with future climate data to predict the likelihood of these events affecting Calabria in the future. The results found that damaging hydro-geologic events are not likely to increase in frequency in the near future but that damage index of the event and index of damaged area may increase depending on whether the hydrological cycle is affected by climate change. This research will benefit the population of Calabria as the area is often affected by these events causing destruction to buildings, the land and even death.

University of Birmingham

Sally specialised in meteorology, climatology, programming, physics and mathematics when studying her MSc. Applied Meteorology and Climatology.

Weather Station

She had to spend 12 hours taking hourly observations at the Universities weather station. This involved measuring temperature, relative humidity, pressure, cloud cover and many different parameters using such equipment as a kestrel, Stevenson’s screen and asman. She worked in a group with 3 other students. The worked together to produce a group presentation and then an individual report, which received marks of 66% and 68% respectively

Presenting the weather

For one of her assignments at the University of Birmingham, she had to present the weather. The youtube link below was her first attempt at forecasting the weather for the 9th -11th of December 2011


She had to create a business plan for a weather related product. Ryan Wilkinson and herself developed Weatherdrobe, an android app which adapts the current weather conditions to a more personal level. For example it would tell you how you should wear your hair in relation to the relative humidity, whether you need a coat based on the temperature and if you need an umbrella. Below are 2 images of the Weatherdrobe application on a mobile phone.



Her MSc dissertation was entitled “The Impact of Snowfall on Vehicle Traffic Speeds on the M6 in Cumbria, 2008”. She used statistical analysis to determine how the speed of cars varied during a snowfall event.

The Abstract:

Snow is frequently disrupting British roads in the winter months. This research determines how vehicle speeds vary during snowfall events on the M6 in Cumbria by studying motorway speed data, accessed from the Highways Agency in 2008. ArcGIS was used to calculate levels of snow falling using NIMROD data at four individual sites at Penrith and Shap in Cumbria. The collected data was then compared to motorway speeds through performing basic statistics tests, Student’s t test and ANOVA. It was concluded that motorway speeds decrease when there is snow falling compared to when it is not. The largest average decrease in speed found due to snow was 7.36 mph. In addition to this it was concluded that motorway speeds decrease quickly as a snowfall event begins however as drivers become comfortable driving in the snowy conditions they speed up until snowfall becomes too heavy and the risk of an accident occurring increased again. It was also found that during snowfall, drivers travelling from a high altitude to low, reduce their speeds more than those travelling uphill, with an average decrease in speed of 1.117 mph when travelling uphill. This research will benefit Government agencies trying to monitor the number of accidents and congestion on British motorways during snowfall.