Met Tech keeps one eye on the weather, the other on the horizon

Meteorologist MCpl Dan Jacklin monitors special equipment to help him prepare a weather forecast on board HMCS Ottawa. Photo by Leading Seaman Victoria Ioganov, MARPAC Imaging Services

Meteorologist MCpl Dan Jacklin monitors special equipment to help him prepare a weather forecast on board HMCS Ottawa. Photo by Leading Seaman Victoria Ioganov, MARPAC Imaging Services

Captain Jenn Jackson, HMCS Ottawa PAO ~

Most meteorologists have the luxury of forecasting the weather in the vicinity of an airport or city where they live. The weather patterns come to the location, do their business, and move on to the next location.

Such is not the case for Master Corporal Dan Jacklin, one of two meteorologist technicians deployed in HMCS Ottawa. Unlike Met Techs ashore, MCpl Jacklin must keep an eye on the weather currently around the ship and must look ahead to where the ship will be when doing his forecasting.

“Sailing is a unique challenge for a Met Tech,” says MCpl Jacklin. “I am responsible for putting together a weather brief for the Commanding Officer (CO) daily. My report can have a direct impact on operations – for example if a major weather system will occur along our voyage, the CO may decide to delay to avoid the storm, or direct the Navigating Officer to adjust our route to avoid it.”

To assist the Met Techs on board Ottawa are several weather forecasting devices. There are two anemometers located on the mast to measure wind speed and direction, wet and dry bulb thermometers, portable barometers, and a barograph to monitor pressure trends.

“A trend on the barograph that is heading down is an indication that inclement weather is on the way. If the ship can’t avoid it completely, the Commanding Officer may order preparations to safely weather the storm,” explains MCpl Jacklin.

Unlike shore postings, serving on a ship does have some advantages for Met Techs, especially those at the Master Corporal rank.

“What I enjoy about serving on a ship is that I am still able to do forecasting as a Master Corporal, whereas ashore I would manage a section, leaving the nuts and bolts of the trade to my subordinates.”

Originally from Kitchener, Ontario, MCpl Jacklin joined the Royal Highland Fusiliers as a Reserve Infantry Soldier in 1987 to fulfill his desire to serve, experience adventure, and see the world. As a young soldier, he began to achieve that dream during a UN tour to Namibia in 1989-1990.

“My UN tour was one of the main highlights and rewarding experiences of my career. I was employed as a driver and I drove all over southern Africa supplying other UN contingents and setting up polling stations for the country’s election. It seemed like the country was a better place when we left it.”

Seeking more travel and adventure, MCpl Jacklin transferred to the Regular Force in 2007, initially as a Naval Warfare Officer before discovering the Meteorological Technician (Met Tech) trade in 2013. Following training and on-the-job experience, his previous naval experience made him a natural fit for sailing with the fleet.

Filed Under: Top Stories

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