Research portrait: Ferran López Martí
PhD Student at the Department of Earth Sciences, Uppsala University
What is your area of expertise?
I am studying extreme precipitation and wind events associated with atmospheric rivers. One of these regular rivers in the sky can carry as much water vapour as the Amazon river, so when an exceptional one makes landfall, it can lead to huge socioeconomic impacts. My work tries to understand how different physical processes (focusing on air-sea interactions) modulate the occurrence of atmospheric rivers and how these will change in a future climate.
What sparked your interest in natural hazards and disaster science?
I always enjoyed spending my time outdoors and it is very important to know if the weather would be good for the activities you want to do. Where I come from, Catalunya, to have good waves for surfing or fresh snow for mountaineering is complicated and it’s usually associated with different natural hazards. For me learning to understand how the atmosphere and the ocean work was a very interesting process (still ongoing) to have even more fun later in the mountain or the ocean, but also to be safe out there.
If I could only work on one problem/issue/challenge in natural hazards and disaster science...
It would probably be associated with coastal hazards, because in the last years, I have witnessed how the coastal areas of Catalunya are in a thread by more and more by stronger storms, floods and sea level rise due to climate change. All this combined with decades of over-urbanization of the coast is leading to the disappearance of the beaches and the ecosystems.
What book or paper has been most influential to your career and why?
A book that was very influential for me was “Surf Science: An Introduction to Waves for Surfing” by Tony Butt. This book brought together my passion for surfing and forecasting waves with the actual science behind it and pushed me to keep learning about everything related.
What do you like to do when you’re not working on research?
As I already said I love spending time outdoors and practising sports like surfing, hiking, ski mountaineering and climbing. Also, I have a big passion for music and a perfect evening for me would be to listen to some live music with my friends.
What is your golden tip for early career scientists?
I am an early career scientist myself, but I would say that to be passionate about what you are doing is important to keep yourself motivated, but also it’s very important to have other interests. Don’t spend all day just working, your life is much more than your PhD.