Meteorology Alumni: New York to New Zealand

Meteorology Alumni: New York to New Zealand

Christopher Brandolino ’96 has swapped hemispheres for a meteorology job, more than once.

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Christopher Brandolino ’96 (far left) the Prime Minister of New Zealand (second from right), and Steven Joyce, the New Zealand Minister for Business, Innovation and Employment (far right).

The SUNY Oswego meteorology graduate worked at WSTM-TV (CNY Central’s Channel 3) for more than a decade before getting hired by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology in Perth at the end of 2007. He returned to Syracuse two years later to become NewsChannel 9’s meteorologist for “The Morning News,” and co-hosted “Bridge Street” on weekdays.

And in 2014, Brandolino returned to the southern hemisphere to take a position with the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research in Auckland, New Zealand, recently earning a promotion to principal scientist and forecaster for NIWAR.

In his newest role, Brandolino will lead a team of six meteorologists who will deliver forecasts and digital content from a new NIWAR studio. And one of those new team members will be able to share stories about Oswego’s lake-effect snow: Benjamin Noll ’13. Brandolino met Noll when Noll was a student in a meteorology class he taught at SUNY Oswego.

Brandolino said he was drawn to New Zealand in search of a better work-life balance. As a morning meteorologist, he had to wake up at 1 a.m. to arrive around 2 a.m. The show began at 4:30 a.m.  – a difficult schedule for him with a young family.

“At NIWAR, I still do forecasting, but not as much,” Brandolino said. “Since I arrived in January 2014, I have been involved with a broader strategy to upgrade our science communication abilities and capabilities, as well as lead a team that will provide weather/environmental forecasts tailored to weather-dependent sectors and customers.”

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Christopher Brandolino ’96 being interviewed by media.

As part of this objective, a state-of-the-art media center (studio) has been built in NIWAR’s Auckland office that provides the capabilities to create content for all kinds of platforms (TV, web, etc.), Brandolino said. This includes weather webcasts which allows the ability to display and communicate forecasts using model data from a high resolution 1.5 km New Zealand Convective Scale Model.  

“Another part of my role is to liaise with media,” Brandolino said. “In essence, I am the “face” of NIWAR weather and climate.  Any question about weather or climate the media in New Zealand has, I work and engage with them.”

Brandolino, who fondly recalls a mix of rain and snow falling on graduation day in May (yes May) of 1996, said the SUNY Oswego meteorology department fosters a community of participation.

“The professors were really terrific and patient,” he said. “They encouraged students to be involved. Undergraduate students were allowed to participate in research projects, which gave valuable experience to students who otherwise wouldn’t have had the opportunity.”

– Eileen Crandall

Read about other weater alumni in Wicked Weather: Meteorology Alumni Recall Oswego Weather.

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