By KALANI CHEN-HAYES, KYLIE FREYMAN, ages 9, and THEO YANOS

Daniel Bader PHOTO CREDIT: Nikki Bautista
Daniel Bader. PHOTO: Nikki Bautista

IndyKids: What exactly is the difference between a meteorologist and climate research scientist?

Daniel Bader: The biggest difference between the two jobs is the timeframe for which you are forecasting for. Meteorologists focus on short-term forecasts (days/weeks) while climate scientists look further out into the future (years/decades).

What is a typical day like for you?

My work is both science and kind of applied science. On a given day, I do a bit of research. I work with climate model data, large quantities of data, manipulating climate data to make projections. The other part of my day is spent on the planning side, the adaptation side of things, of thinking of solutions, talking to people, presenting my research to people, engaging the stakeholders (people who are interested in what we are working on). We’re refining our communication techniques.

What kind of difference do you hope to make?

The work we do is increasing the awareness of people to climate risks. When future storms occur, we hope that the information we provide them with has lead to increased planning and preparedness, thereby reducing damage and potentially loss of life.

Do you ever get to collaborate with other fields, artists, teachers?

We do a lot collaborations with social scientists. We do a lot of economics work. We’ve worked with a lot of people in New York State. Working in the parks department, etc. Since we are linked directly to NASA we work with NASA faces unique vulnerabilities to climate change because most of their facilities are on the coast. We do work with a broad group of folks. I didn’t like space when I was a kid, but astronauts do a lot of cool work.

Do you have a favorite weather event? If so, why?

Snow storms during the winter. Who didn’t like getting a snow-day while growing up!

You knew you wanted to be an weatherman at age 10. Was there an event?

I’ve always been interested. My first grade teacher used to show us pictures of clouds-cirrus, stratus, cumulus. That’s one where I might have gotten the start. My father also used to talk about weather a lot.

Did global warming affect you?

Let’s not say global warming. I do know that climate and weather affected me. I lived in Long Island, away from the beach and Sandy caused the electricity to go out. That was nothing for two weeks. That’s certainly one example of how climate has impacted me personally.