Dr Kate Brand
Dr Kate BrandSpace Weather scientist
Bureau of Meteorology
Aside from providing us warmth and light, the Sun is responsible for a less well-known type of weather – space weather. Dr Kate Brand manages a team of space weather forecasters within the Australian Space Weather Forecasting Centre (ASWFC) for the Bureau of Meteorology. While auroras make spectacular photos, they are only one aspect of space weather. Events such as solar flares or coronal mass ejections can impact critical infrastructure on Earth such as our energy grid and communications, and the economy more broadly. At the ASWFC we prepare space weather forecasts and warnings to help ensure impacted industries are prepared.
Kate's work in space weather is a recent change, having completed a PhD in geophysics then working for over 5 years in the technique of magnetotellurics (MT). Interestingly, this geophysical technique relies on space weather, involving the measurements of magnetic and electric fields at Earth's surface that come from the Sun's solar wind. MT uses those measurements to understand the conductivity of rocks deep beneath our feet, unravelling Earth's history and helping to find the next mineral deposit or groundwater resource.
Kate is a long-term volunteer of the Australian Society of Exploration Geophysicists and served as president in 2021.