Hi! I’m Jessie, a computer science student currently in my fifth bachelor semester. I’m interested in both data science and the environment, so when I saw this opportunity, I thought there couldn’t be a better match. The idea of the project is to determine the effects varying degrees of solar irradiance have on the climate. The influence of certain climate factors is predicted by running huge simulations on supercomputers of our earth, divided into grid boxes, while changing parameters. Then, we analyze the data to understand the impact of different variables, mostly by doing time series analysis or Principal Component Analysis to try to detect noticeable differences and patterns.
When I arrived in Davos, I was stunned by how beautiful the city looked. It snowed heavily throughout my stay so streets were covered in snow and there were Christmas lights everywhere. It looked like something straight out of a fairytale. The World Radiation Center, situated on a hill, offered a cozy ambiance along with a beautiful view of the city. The institution is an international calibration center for meteorological radiation measurement instruments, so scientists from all over the world come to visit. Observing the sophisticated instruments that are used for the continuous monitoring of solar irradiance was very interesting.
The researchers at the center were very passionate and knowledgeable about their field, and also very helpful. I did not have a background in environmental sciences or physics, so at first, I was very confused about how to evaluate climate data, since they were calculated based on physical indices. However, Jan and Timofei took the time to explain the physical principles underlying our current understanding of the Earth, and it was very interesting to learn how many phenomena are explained through science, but also which ones we are still unable to explain.
One of the highlights was an event called the ‘Scientist Beer’ in Davos. I attended a talk by a renowned scientist on space exploration and the stars, which rekindled my childlike sense of wonder and immersed me in a field I knew little about. That night was a reminder of why we dive into science in the first place – that pure curiosity and the thrill of discovering the unknown.
Throughout this internship, I’ve learned so much about the complexities of Earth’s weather and ecological phenomena, our current understanding, and the areas that remain mysterious. But most importantly, I’ve been immersed in a scientific environment that has taught me about the essentials for a successful career in science, why some choose academia over industry, and the crucial importance of continuous climate research. This experience has profoundly shaped my perspective and future aspirations in the field of environmental data science.
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