Welcome addition to Lauder research station

The newest employee at Niwa's Lauder research station, atmospheric scientist Dave Pollard, of the...
The newest employee at Niwa's Lauder research station, atmospheric scientist Dave Pollard, of the United Kingdom. Photo by Leith Huffadine.

Dave Pollard's last job was working for a defence contractor in the United Kingdom using underwater microphones to listen to passing ships and submarines.

He is now the latest employee at the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa) site in Lauder, after moving to New Zealand with his wife to work as an atmospheric scientist.

Mr Pollard said he was an observational scientist, taking measurements and interpreting results, and his work at Niwa would be focused on measuring gases in the atmosphere by their absorption of solar radiation.

The information collected would be supplied to climate-change scientists and used to validate climate models to confirm what was happening in the atmosphere.

''We can see what is happening to different gases and try to figure out what is happening [in the atmosphere]. It's a bit of a detective story sometimes.''

The position, which he had taken up about a month ago, had previously been based in Wellington, but his location on site made it easier to work with the instruments he used to take various scientific measurements.

Niwa atmospheric scientist Ben Liley said the position was the second created since job cuts in 2012.

Earlier in the year, Dr Richard Querel, of Canada, also an atmospheric scientist, had joined Niwa staff.

Having Mr Pollard at the Lauder research station would increase the amount of work the site could complete.

''To a large extent what we can do here is limited by what measurements we can take and the people we have who have the right skills to understand the data,'' Mr Liley said.

Mr Pollard would be a valuable addition to the staff, and those at Niwa were pleased he had joined them, Mr Liley said. Mr Pollard said the Niwa facility at Lauder was well known in the science community.

''I have started using the L&P line - it is world famous in atmospheric science.''

He was also a fan of making science accessible to the public, particularly in relation to climate and weather, he said.

Mr Pollard, whose contract is permanent, said he looked forward to living in Central Otago.

He studied in the United Kingdom and holds an undergraduate master's in physics and a master of science in weather and climate modelling.

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