Yes, I Work for NOAA. No, I’m Not a Scientist.

I’d like to clear up a misconception that I’ve run into more often than not when I tell someone I work at NOAA. For those of you who don’t know what NOAA is, it’s The National Oceanic and Atmospheric and Administration, part of the US Department of Commerce. Now, while I understand why most people automatically jump to the conclusion I’m a scientist after hearing the non-abbreviated name, trust me, there are plenty of us here that are not scientists. While yes, I am working on a Bachelor of Science degree, it’s in Information Technology, which is the department I’m in at NOAA.

So what the heck do I do at NOAA if I’m not a scientist? For one, I’m an intern, and for two, I’m a Computer Operator. In a nutshell, I work with the computers at the GFDL, otherwise known at the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory. If you did take the time to open that link, you may have already figured out what I do here. At the GFDL, we do a lot of weather modeling that requires quite a bit of power. How much power? Well, one of the systems I monitor is Gaea. It’s a supercomputer. So is Titan. I’ll be watching that one soon two. Now as you may have read, yes, neither of those two systems are here at the GFDL. So why am I here at the GFDL then? While we may not have any systems as impressive as Gaea or Titan (although I’m told we used to), we still have over 100 systems used for post-processing and analysis computing. Those are the systems I have to physically give a little poke occasionally. We also store quite a bit of data here too, enough that we recently acquired our fourth SL8500 and still have a Storagetek Powderhorn (we’re retiring the other one this month.)

So yes, I work for NOAA, but no, I’m not a scientist.

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