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Turalba physicist battling tsunamis in Australia

He has chosen to live and work in Australia. In another world of culture, customs and lifestyles. A completely different environment from Sardinia. With courage and curiosity Piero Chiesa, 59, of Torralba, took up the challenge. He now lives in Melbourne with his wife and two daughters. His work is a complex horizon that involves great commitment and responsibility. Chesa is at the top of the Australian Meteorological Service.

responsibilities

“I am at the head of – he says – the Community Services Group (CSG), the department that deals with the production and dissemination of meteorological and hydrological forecasts for the entire territory of Australia, including the surrounding seas. The group is divided into three sectors with about 350 people working in eight offices, including meteorologists, climatologists and hydrologists.” Piero Chiesa has a degree in Physics. He contributed to the establishment of the Sardinian Regional Agrometeorological Service, whose operational and research departments he directed for a long time, and worked in Reading, England, at the European Center for Medium-Range Forecasts. His motto is “Never stop”. After the experience on top of Boeing Italia, he decided to take part in an international competition launched by the Australian authorities who were searching for the new head of the National Weather Service.

Passed the test and new professional experience. “The Community Service Group identifies and publishes meteorological and hydrological preparedness for the National Civil Protection and emergency management agencies in the various states. This function is of vital importance because meteorological phenomena in Australia are diverse, often very severe, and often occur simultaneously. Alert management and civil protection support in these situations are complex and require highly specialized and lengthy training. To give an example, last March we witnessed widespread and persistent flooding in the New South Wales region, which led to the evacuation of about twenty thousand people.”

What is the hardest moment so far? “I arrived at the beginning of the epidemic, without a family. Bringing her to Australia, which has closed borders, was no small feat. To this must be added the fact that I found myself managing both the group’s daily activities as well as its profound transformation. A bit like repairing a car while traveling on Highway at high speed.

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Tsunami warning

Piero Chiesa and his team deal with tsunami prevention: “Australia is part of a monitoring network coordinated by a United Nations agency. We are keen to be prepared in the event of a tsunami that could affect the national territory or other areas of the Pacific.” Compared to Italy, in preventing and managing adverse weather events, is Australia ahead? “In Italy we do not have specialties related to tropical cyclones, but for the rest we have nothing to envy.”

relationship with the island

The roots are planted, the land of origin is a safe haven: “I come back every summer for a few weeks. I regret that Al Jazeera is unable to reach its full potential. We have significant cultural and environmental resources. I always hope that things will go faster than they really are.” Even Piero Chiesa’s brother, Massimo, chose the emigration route: «He left before me. He is now a specialist in the treatment of congenital heart diseases and works in Milan.” What is your next goal? “I am focused on the present. I have to complete the transformation that is taking place in the service I lead and it will take time. We will see.”

Massimiliano Rice

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