Martin Setvák - informal CV, hobbies and other interests ...



I graduated from the high school Budějovická in Prague, Czech Republic, in 1977.  Next I went to the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics at the Charles University in Prague, finishing my Master of Science degree in Meteorology in May of 1983 there. The CSc. degree in physics I received in January of 1994, also at the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics. Both, Master's and CSc's thesis works were aimed at satellite data interpretation in meteorology.


That's very simple. After graduating from the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics in 1983 I joined the Satellite Department of the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute (official name of our national weather service). Since 1990 I'm the head of this small department. We are involved in everything that has something to do with meteorological satellites: data acquisition, processing, products distribution, interpretation and archiving.

Since 1981 I've been involved in interpretation of the AVHRR data from the NOAA polar orbiting satellites, since mid-1990's I began to work with data from geostationary satellites Meteosat and GOES, from the end of 1990's with the MODIS data, and most recently also with data from the CloudSat and CALIPSO satellites (in combination with the previous ones). Since the very beginning of my meteorological career I have been focused at research of deep convective storms as seen from satellites, particularly in the 3.7/3.9 micron bands (check this site). Between 1994 and 1997 I collaborated on this topic with several friends from National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, Oklahoma (MOST project - Multispectral Observations of Storm Tops). The topic of satellite observations of storm tops is my prime professional interest even nowadays, collaborating on this namely with EUMETSAT and colleagues from several other institutions.

The trips to Oklahoma had a great influence on my notion of severe storms and on my personal feelings about these - as a matter of fact, I find convective storms being one of the most spectacular natural phenomena. Though severe weather is not that frequent in the Czech Republic as is over the U.S. Great Plains or some other parts of the Earth, we also do have tornadoes, downbursts, and damaging hailstorms here... As not too much is known about occurrence of supercell storms and their accompanying weather in Central Europe, since the end of 1990's we have been trying to learn more about their local character and climatology, namely within a frame of various national research grants. We also have very good relations with still-growing community of Czech storm chasers and spotters, who contribute to these efforts significantly (see e.g. this site).

Since 1993 I've been giving classes about weather satellites and convective storms to students of meteorology from the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics, Charles University. Occasionally I also give lectures at various international training workshops or courses organized by EUMETSAT. Other information about my professional work and interests can be found in my CV or in the list of publications.

Since I was about ten, my biggest hobby was astronomy. When I entered the high school, I already had my first own telescope. Soon afterwards I made my first mirror, constructed 8" Cassegrain telescope, and my main interest was for many years the astronomical photography. During my student days I spent most of my free time at the Prague's public observatory . I will never forget the nights spent at the Klet Observatory at southern Bohemia, or just somewhere outside of Prague, under darker sky, with one of my portable telescopes (BTW, planning the nocturnal observations brought me later on to meteorology). Presently, my interest in astronomy still lasts, though at much more passive level - several times I went abroad to observe Solar eclipses, and my last telescope still stands in one of the corners of our flat, reminding me of the old days...

Since about 2005, my main private hobby is timelapse photography of clouds and other atmospheric phenomena. And when I'm lucky enough to be "timelapsing" well-developed convective storms, I'm back to my main profession. This makes meteorology being not only my profession, but also my free-time hobby...

And since I don't want to resemble (after all that all-day sitting in front of my PC or laptop) a bulky boulder rolling over around our Sun, I occasionally do some hiking - either in the surroundings of Prague or elsewhere within the Czech Republic, or in other, more distant parts of the world. My wife's name is Stáňa, she works at Prague's planetarium, we have no kids. We live at south part of Prague, at place called Kačerov.