Expert ‘weather forecaster’ Huy Nguyen: ‘I’ll livestream tomorrow’s weather forecast for you guys’

“Does Quy Nhon have heavy rain on this 9th day?”. Nguyen Ngoc Huy is no stranger to such questions, as people all over the country, from a mountain teacher in the western part of Quang Tri or the organizer of an outdoor charity event in Ho Chi Minh City, still come to him as if they were was asking the secretary of “air masses” and “atmospheric turbulence,” the big things that shape Earth’s weather.

Weekend Youth chat with Nguyen Ngoc Huy about the work of a modern meteorologist, who often updates his Facebook page Huy Nguyen with practical information such as “there will be heavy rain in the area from Hue to Ninh Thuan in the period of time.” From 5 to 7-1-2023″, with a sincere message: “People who grow vegetables and Tet flowers in the South Central region should pay attention to clear the drainage ditches, put ornamental plants on high places to prevent flooding. during this rainy period.

Each post like that has tens of thousands of interactions, and people who come to him to ask always return with thanks. The title of this interview (which was initially rejected by the “weather forecaster”, as he called it, because he didn’t like talking about himself) was also taken from his message to his more than 438,000 Facebook followers.

Weather forecaster walking Huy Nguyen: Tomorrow I will livestream to forecast the weather for Tet - Photo 1.

* Entering 2023, how will you introduce expert Huy Nguyen?

– An independent expert on climate change and disaster risk management.

From June 2022, I decided not to work full time anymore. I moved into an independent consulting role for organizations with activities on climate change adaptation in the Asia-Pacific region including Vietnam. The reason is because I want to spend more time on independent research on climate change and disasters. Also, as you know, during the rainy season, I have 3 to 4 newsletters every day. Each newsletter can take from 1 to 2 hours to analyze, compile content and communicate with the community, sometimes forced to fall into office hours.

If other people see me all day on Facebook replying to Mr. A, Mr. B like that, it will not be fair to the organization I work for. Therefore, the independent role will be better. I can spend a whole day researching weather and natural disasters without feeling guilty.

* For many researchers, communicating to the public is an “additional burden”. What about you?

– I am treating my transmission on Facebook as “random”, not a strategic or planned act. It’s simply a place to report weather and disaster risks, with occasional updates on climate change. I don’t consider it a communication channel.

Weather forecaster walking Huy Nguyen: Tomorrow I will livestream to forecast the weather for Tet - Photo 2.

A picture attached to the storm news on Facebook Huy Nguyen

* In the future, do you plan to put your forecasts on a “more mainstream” Facebook channel?

– I don’t expect to do that. Obviously it’s a difficult and unnecessary thing to do. We have legal space that we need to follow. As long as there is a legal framework that requires individuals not to report forecasts on Facebook anymore, that’s okay, I’m just going to do something else. I don’t see this as a must-do. It’s like taking the job and doing it naturally.

* A “self-recognized” thing that is increasingly trusted by people. How do you feel?

First, I’m glad someone believes in me. The community’s recognition of an individual or organization’s work is a great source of encouragement and encouragement. And it’s worth maintaining that community sentiment with kindness.

But in the long run, I think it’s not good for people to rely on their information sources too much. There’s no guarantee that I’ll stay in this job until I’m old, and I’ve got my forecast wrong. If my forecast is seriously wrong and the community responds wrongly according to my forecast, then it’s a disaster.

Weather forecaster Huy Nguyen: Tomorrow I will livestream to forecast the weather for Tet - Photo 3.

The official information source of the State should still be one of the sources that people should use. The state has a management apparatus, experts and modern equipment to do forecasting, and they have a history of doing this for decades. More importantly, the official newsletter is the basis for disaster prevention and search and rescue agencies at all levels to use in response planning.

Currently, with the support of technology and many powerful global forecasting models, it provides relatively high accuracy forecasts and there are many open sources of weather and disaster forecasting. I also observe that there are many independent experts reporting on social media. It is an abundant reference source for people to choose, but should only be considered as a reference source.

* Saying that, do you prepare the next generation?

– I also had the intention to form a group to share the work, not necessarily training each other, but mainly self-study. But when I called some young people into the Facebook chat group, I realized that they did not like to learn from each other but just wanted to criticize each other.

Their purpose of making forecasts is also very different. I just want the page to attract a lot of people to view and interact, want to quickly become famous and want to be number 1. That is not what I want in the next team and so I also removed the group.

* What about the data source, tools and team you have in your “walking weather forecast”?

– There are 2 data sources. One source has been processed into predictive models, most of which are international forecasting models. However, the non-specialist looking at it will not be able to read what it says. Their model is also general, not specific to the local level.

So forecasters need to do a few more steps: use information from international forecasting centers as the basis for their analysis and “localize” forecasts to regional and regional levels.

Weather forecaster Huy Nguyen: Tomorrow I will livestream to forecast the weather for Tet - Photo 4.

Nguyen Ngoc Huy at the flood scene

The second source is raw data collected from monitoring centers, which I analyze and make forecasts myself. Since I was working at the Asian Disaster Reduction Center (ADRC) in Japan, I have had accounts to have access to the original data sources of the global monitoring centers, as well as the source of images. JAXA’s Himawari 8 satellite.

With most analysis, especially about storms and rain, satellite images are one of the very important input data sources for forecasting. In addition, real-time monitoring data on temperature, air pressure, wind speed, wind direction, radar images scanning clouds, terrain… are indispensable factors for forecasting. I also use some original data sources from observations in Vietnam.

Usually raw data is a source of money to buy, but fortunately some agencies know that I work for the community, not for profit, so they give free accounts to access those data sources. Generally quite complete. I usually work alone.

* Did the richness and specificity of the input data set your Facebook forecasts apart?

– I don’t think the data source makes a difference because the data sources that I have can be obtained by other professionals, the main difference is the language that conveys the information.

If I give information about the Central region, for example, I put myself in the position of a farmer, a fisherman at sea, a person in a low-lying area at risk of flooding. So what information will they need, what level of detail and potential risks?

At the same time, there can be 7 or 8 international forecasting models reporting on a storm, but all of them are different because of different input data, different algorithms. Then it is necessary to use expert knowledge combined with local data and local experience to produce the closest forecasting model.

In short, there are three important issues: the source of the data for analysis, the local knowledge of the forecaster – if I were to go to India or Bangladesh now, I would surely make a lot of mistakes, and finally, language. It is important to translate scientific languages ​​into popular languages ​​so that recipients can better understand their information.

* Do you have any lessons related to the “popularization” of climate change?

– Communicating about climate change scenarios to the people is necessary, because it is only when they know that they can make plans. I also acknowledge that most of the information about climate change is still in the form of data on reports, and we need an extra step of “normalizing” that information.

However, there is a sensitive issue: most climate change scenarios are usually adverse. If we spread the information that there will be too great a risk about sea level rise, about the frequency of natural disasters in a particular locality, it will create fear and lose motivation for investment and locality. It is also difficult to attract investment. No man dares to plant a billion-dollar factory in a place that is predicted to be flooded by 1 meter by the middle of this century!

Therefore, we must have a solution together, so that after hearing a crisis news, people know that there are still solutions to live together, to cope with, or even find solutions to turn problems around. That challenge turns into an opportunity. Of course, it must be in the direction of “popularization” and “planning” at the local level.

* Thank you.

Weather forecaster Huy Nguyen: Tomorrow I will livestream to forecast the weather for Tet - Photo 5.

NGOC THANH

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