Q. What is Al Jazeera?
A. Al Jazeera is a 24 hour News Channel based in Doha, the capital of Qatar. Al Jazeera aims to cover global news events from an Arabian perspective.
Q. What do you mean 'an Arabian perspective'?
A. It concentrates on issues and events that affect the Arab and Muslim worlds. The wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria are examples, of course, but the 'Arab Uprising' across the region has seen Al Jazeera become increasingly prominent as they have managed to get journalists on the ground to cover news as it happens.
Q. Why do they want weather?
A. Good question. I asked the boss that in my interview. He said it was because the weather impacts greatly upon the channel's viewers. (Al Jazeera has huge viewing figures in Southeast Asia, for instance - a region which suffers the effects of monsoon rains and typhoons.) But he also told me the station is committed to covering issues such as climate change and the environmental impacts.
Q. Do you have to be in Doha to do the forecast? Couldn't you do it from the UK?
A. I suppose it is possible. But Al Jazeera is based here because it was set up by the Emir of Qatar. This is the hub of everything and it is best to be a part of that. It makes it easier to interact with presenters and producers and to deliver the services they want.
Q. Is it safe out there?
A. I certainly hope so. I wouldn't have left home if I didn't think the risk of something bad happening was no greater than in the UK. Qatar is a virtually crime-free country. It has a stable government and a contented population. Better than the UK, in fact!
Q. Are your forecasts any good?
A. A reasonable question. You know what the answer is going to be. The forecasts we show 'on air' are based on output from the Global Forecast System which is the wave model run by the National Center for Environmental Prediction, based in the United States.
Like all computer models it is good at some weather situations, not so good at others. But it bares favourable comparison with the likes of the Met Office models.
Q. Do you predict the weather or just present it?
A. It would be easy enough just to follow the raindrops and tell people what is on the charts. But this job is mix of meteorology and climatology and we strive to add something to the forecast as well as including things which are of value to viewers but not strictly meteorological. For example, wildfires across the southwestern states of the U.S. in June 2011, or volcanic ash predictions after the recent eruptions in Chile and Eritrea.
Q. Isn't it easy, telling people that the weather is 'hot, hot, hot"?
A. It would be if that was the case. Temperatures in the Gulf region vary considerable. For much of the year it is perfectly comfortable, even when the temperature reaches 40 degrees. But high humidity and duststorms can change that.
The Gulf aside, I am here to forecast world weather and that is a huge challenge. Sure, I have the computer models to predict the movement of rain areas on a day-to-day basis, but the skill is in adding value to the predictions. What will be impact be of another bout of heavy rain on the Missouri Basin? Will the low cloud generated by the cool waters of the Oman Coast Current give drizzle in Salala? Will the monsoon depression over the Bay of Bengal generate enough rain to cause landslides and loss of life?
To be honest, I don't know the answers to all these questions. But Steff and Everton have been with Al Jazeera longer than I have and between us, we usually come up with an answer.
Q. Will we see you on our screens again in the Points West region?
A. I really don't know. It isn't impossible. But I want to make a success of things out here and I want to use our time in the Arabian Peninsula to experience the culture and to use Qatar as a base to travel all over this part of the world.