x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

My UAE: Omar Al Yazeedi predicts the weather come rain or shine

A profile of Omar Al Yazeedi, the director of research, development and training at the National Centre for Meteorology and Seismology.

Omar Al Yazeedi, the director of research, development and training at the NCMS. Mona Al-Marzooqi / The National
Omar Al Yazeedi, the director of research, development and training at the NCMS. Mona Al-Marzooqi / The National

When Omar Al Yazeedi decided to study community technology, defying his family and friends, he was only the fourth student to ever do so. But the Higher Colleges of Technology course gave him a competitive edge in the workplace and satisfied his love of all things technological.

Now, more than a decade later, the risk has paid off. The 34-year-old father of two is the director of research, development and training at the country’s National Centre for Meteorology and Seismology, based in Abu Dhabi.

The NCMS was established in 2007. As well as providing daily forecasts, it also collates millions of figures every day to help produce accurate records for the future.

“There is a strong need to do research into the things that the higher authorities are interested in. For example cloud seeding, this field requires continuous research.

“It is also important for us as a country to collect accurate records, and understand why things happen. Why is the coldest temperature registered in Al Ain not on the top of a mountain? ”

Al Yazeedi is also responsible for organising training for the armed forces and police to help them manage adverse weather conditions.

“People might think working at NCMS is somebody sitting in an office looking at weather maps, but we have a much bigger role than the daily forecast.”

When he started at the NCMS, when it first opened, there was little more than a few computers. Now, he says, there are closer to 80, “working as one brain doing the calculations”.

“Many of the things we have done, we have done them for the first time here. I set up all the weather stations, these did not exist before. It has been a very good way for me to put my passion to good use and make a difference.”

What was your first job?

While I was still studying at Higher Colleges of Technology I worked as a technician on a show called Waznak Dahab (Your Weight in Gold) on Abu Dhabi TV. I was working with a lot of big systems, I was able to play with much bigger tools – it was great.

What is your favourite car?

I love sports cars, I used to enjoy racing them. I had a Mercedes-Benz SLK55 and a Lamborghini.

What was your favourite trip abroad?

Because of our work, I need to travel a lot. I went to Expo 2000 in Hanover and I thought I was in paradise. It was full of technology innovations. I would love to go to Dubai Expo 2020 – I want it to be successful and make a difference.

Where’s your favourite destination in the UAE?

I like to go to the desert. And in the summer, we go to the beach, to be by the sea.

Best piece of advice you have been given?

There is always one person that motivates me to make sure I am on the right track. When I was younger, my friends called me a geek, but during my career there have been a few people that have made me see I did not need to doubt what I was doing, I was on the right track. It is not one piece of advice, it is more than that.

What life rules do you follow?

It is important to me to do something that I feel passionate about. It’s the only way you will develop yourself and be able to do amazing stuff. If you have passion about what you are doing it adds a lot of value to the job.

Who’s your biggest inspiration?

Steve Jobs. I used to watch YouTube videos of his old motivational speeches about what you should do in your life. I learnt you have to care about the details, even if no one will see them. If you open up an iPhone, it is a work of art.

What’s your favourite piece of technology?

My MacBook Pro and my iPad – I can’t live without these. Everything I do is on these. I read on them, I watch movies.


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