Employee Spotlight: Steve Albers, Lead Scientist, Weather

Steve Albers

What’s your role?

My present role is related to analysis of cloud and a variety of other current weather variables. This supports our Current Weather Conditions products as well as the initialization of our Numerical Weather Prediction models.

Describe your journey to Spire.

I have a long history working with Sandy MacDonald when we were both at NOAA, prior to when he became Weather Team Leader at Spire. He mentioned Spire to me because he believed there would be a good fit between my interests and the needs at Spire to pursue new directions in gridded analysis of clouds at that point in my career. He first floated the idea about joining in 2016 and it took me a couple of years to think about it before I decided to take him up on the offer in 2018.

What keeps you busy outside of work?

My present hobbies include sky watching, hiking, and displaying Mars rover imagery. I’m also a member of local astronomy clubs. Sometimes while outside, I’ll look for unusual sunset lighting effects in clouds or just the clear air and see how well this can match simulated sky imagery.

What’s something unique about you that most people don’t know?

I took three bicycle trips that covered most parts of the United States. One was 50 days, and another was six months. I would spend time in places along the way. The first one was from Chicago to Los Angeles with a friend, and it was well timed during severe storm season. It was the closest I had then been to an F5 tornado in Iowa.

What is a project that you have worked on that makes you particularly proud?

Providing high resolution 3-D analyses of clouds and related variables for both global and regional use. This includes the digitized fields themselves along with making physically and photo-realistic 3-D visualizations. The cloud analysis is a key component of many of Spire’s Current Weather Conditions products, and it helps provide a much-improved initial condition and forecast of small-scale storm features for our SOF-D model forecasts.

What interests you most about working in the space industry?

I’ve always been interested in space and astronomy and had a chance to work in the space industry early in my career as a Viking Mars mission Intern at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). This complements my interest and career in weather and thus Spire offers the best of both worlds.

What Spire value do you relate to the most?

Unbounded – since our projects at Spire provide opportunities to implement capabilities that have never been done before.

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