Tamsin Gray

Favourite Thing: Snow, and sliding down it very fast

Me and my work

I live in the Antarctic and study the weather, which can be pretty extreme here…

My work is all about trying to understand how the climate in Antarctica is changing and what effect the warming is having on the ice here. It’s important to understand how much ice might flow into the oceans and cause the sea level to rise.

This is my third trip to Antarctica, I really love it here.

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My Typical Day

First I launch a weather balloon and watch it disappear high up above me, then it could be anything from flying out to a remote glacier to set up a weather station, to digging a big hole to collect snow samples


The most important thing I do is really simple, every hour I go outside and record what the weather is like. I send an email to the world weather service because they need to know what the weather is like today to predict what will happen tomorrow.

People have been living in Antarctica, measuring the weather here for 50 years now so we can see how the climate has changed. I live in one of the fastest warming areas of the planet.

My job is really varied though, I have lots of different experiments to look after. Some experiements are measuring what is going on at the surface – once a week I drive a snow mobile or ski to a place where we have poles in the snow and measure them to see how much has fallen or melted. Other experiments are a bit more hi-tech like a robot aeroplane designed to find out how air is moving over the frozen sea.


What I'd do with the money

Send postcards from Antarctica to schools around the country with information, websites and fun challenges all to do with snow, ice and climate change

My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

Fun-loving, impulsive and cheerful

Who is your favourite singer or band?

I love Bon Iver at the moment – saw them at a festival last year and they were great, but I’d have to say Pink Floyd for my favourite band of all time.

What is the most fun thing you've done?

Flying around huge snowy mountains in a ski plane

If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!

To be able to sing (or just be musically talented), to control the weather and flying has got to be in there too

What did you want to be after you left school?

I really didn’t have a clue. I loved snowboarding so I wanted to live somewhere with snow and mountains. Also, I really liked the stars and thought about becoming an astronomer but in the end I decided to keep my feet a little bit closer to the ground.

Were you ever in trouble in at school?

Yes but only for really silly stuff. Like once when I was talking in class and the teacher turned to me and said (joking) ‘Well why don’t you take the class then?’ So I stood up, handed out the books and told everyone to start reading. She wasn’t very impressed and I ended up in detention. I also got detention for making animal noises in class once!

What's the best thing you've done as a scientist?

Get the chance to come to Antarctica – over and over again! Visiting an Emperor penguin colony in winter time when the chicks were really young was incredible, they are the cutest things in the world

Tell us a joke.

Why don’t penguins live in England? …because they’re scared of Wales