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Soonwoong Kwon

Tactical Weather Specialist (TWS)
Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), Joint Meteorological Centre (JMT)
Soonwoong Kwon | Spécialiste en météorologie tactique (SMT)
Soonwoong Kwon | Spécialiste en météorologie tactique (SMT)

Soonwoong Kwon is a Tactical Weather Specialist (TWS) for the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), Joint Meteorological Centre (JMT).

About me

I was born/grew up in: Suwon/Kyung-Ki Province, South Korea

I now live in: Oromocto New Brunswick, Canada

I completed my training/education at: Meteorological Technicians attend training at CFB Winnipeg in Winnipeg, Manitoba, for 20 weeks.

What I do at work

I love what I do! A fascinating job involving science, art and performance. As a meteorologist, I study the weather such as the temperature of the air, amount of humidity, how strong the wind is, and from which direction it’s blowing. I use these observations to figure out what is going to happen with the weather for the next 24 - 48 hrs.

My daily routine starts with checking local weather for the early morning helicopter squadron briefing. I also transmit local weather data and analyze the data that comes in from other weather stations across Canada. This weather information is fed into a program that runs mathematical calculations and take snapshots of the atmosphere. This information is used to make models or projections of what atmosphere is going to be like.

On addition to computer models, I use radar that will detect where areas of precipitation are. Doppler radar is specific radar which will show what wind direction we are dealing with. I also use visible satellite imagery and infrared satellite imagery.

I work as a part of a team with other tactical weather specialists and Environment Canada forecasters. They are great resources and support when I have questions or doubts. As a meteorologist, one has to be able to visualize in three dimensions. This is because you have to translate this information on a flat piece of paper from the real world. Math is an important skill needed in weather forecasting. In order to explain the weather to others, I have to understand the statistics, the numbers and averages actually mean.

My career path is

I was never interested in weather during high school. I only wanted to join the military to serve my country. Met tech was never my first choice. After my education in economics at university, I decided to join the military. Even at that time, meteorology tech was not in my thoughts.  Later a friend recommended it to me.  I did have a tough time understanding basic weather concepts and theories. However, I studied extra hard and passed my courses to be qualified.

I am motivated by

Meteorology is a fun and exciting career. Weather is never the same. It is constantly changing. I get to observe and forecast some of mother nature’s wildest weather. From storm to hurricane and heat wave to snowstorms, this one career choice that keeps me on my toes. 

Knowing the weather is extremely important and rewarding especially in military side. Many military/civilian activities rely on knowing how weather might change. Airplane pilots need to make sure the route they are taking will be safe to fly. Ship captains and people who fish need to know that it’s safe to go out onto the oceans.  Leaders needs to know what kind of season/weather they will face so they can prepare and make sure they can execute exercises or missions effectively. It is very rewarding that my input makes some influence/difference to mission critical activities.

How I affect people’s lives

With knowledge of the weather, I could help other. Weather forecasting warns about bad weather such as floods or hurricanes before it occurs. I wanted to study weather and help people become better prepared for future events influenced by weather.

Outside of work I

As a father of a 3 year old, I do not have much free time outside of work. I try to relax by reading books. I go to the gym for physical activity. In addition, I volunteer at the local Korean church.

My advice to others

If you are interested in weather and science and if the idea of forecasting some of the wildest weather appeals to you, this trade is perfect for you. It is an exciting career choice you might be interested in doing. It is a lot of work but also very rewarding. You might forecast extreme weather to help save lives.

When I was a student, I enjoyed:
  • Art
  • Business & Economics
  • Math
When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:
  • Enjoyed doing things on my own
  • Liked helping people
  • Liked being given free range to explore my ideas
  • Engaged in volunteer activities
  • Learned best “by doing”

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Canadian Armed Forces
Canadian Armed Forces

Let’s Talk Science thanks the men and women of Canadian Armed Forces who have submitted a career profile to share details of their exciting careers. To learn more about the careers available in the Canadian Armed forces, check them out on YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook.

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