A conversation with Selvaggia Santin
He wants to spend all his time by the sea. And he does: when working (virtually) and in his spare time (in person). Sometimes riding to work on his motorbike, to break away from the boredom of commuting by train, he has been studying tropical cyclones and extreme events for over 10 years. You’ll find him every morning checking the evolution of weather simulation models. Let’s get to know Enrico Scoccimarro, CMCC researcher at Climate Simulations and Predictions Division in Bologna, a little better.
What’s your job at the CMCC Foundation?
I’m a researcher at CMCC within the Climate Simulations and Predictions division. In our working group, we deal with climate analysis and climatic variability at different timescales. Specifically, I deal with the analysis of extreme events in the present climate and future climate scenarios.
Thanks to numerical modelling, I investigate extreme events at a European and global scale. Over the last 10 years, I have focused on tropical cyclones and their relationship with the climatic system in different scenarios. I also work on extreme events in Europe, specifically on precipitation and heatwaves so as to provide useful information for those dealing with impacts not only on agriculture but also on human health, for example.
Which road led you to CMCC?
I have been here since the beginning. I saw its design, birth and growth. In the past, I was more focused on the oceanic component and then I moved on to the coupling of ocean and earth models, which I continue to do.
Is your current job the one you had dreamed of when you were a child?
I’d say so, although differently from how a child would imagine. I always dreamed of working for the sea, at sea and with the sea in general. Today I’m doing this virtually: thanks to our forecasting models, I spend every day at sea all over the world in a transformed and unimaginable way for a child. I’m lucky.
Could you tell us the most beautiful moment in your life at CMCC?
Confirmation and satisfaction in my work come from scientific publications. Every year I write and wait. When a piece of work of a certain scientific standing gets published I get confirmation that what I have done has value. And it’s not just a personal satisfaction.
My first article to be accepted is the one that gave me the most gratification. At the beginning of my career I had a technical role and it was only subsequently that I assumed a scientific role.
Writing scientific papers was the key to a change in a journey that I had started long before. But I didn’t really realise this until I started.
What’s on your workstation?
There are many articles. I have 3 computers, photos of my children, my wife and my friends. I have hard disks full of data: now I have 6 Terabytes of data on my desk. And every morning, my ritual is to check the progress of simulations. I verify that everything is working.
How do you travel to work?
I commute every day by train which takes about an hour. Sometimes I ride my motorbike so as to break away from the boredom of sitting on the train.
What do you do in your spare time?
I go to the sea. I do anything related to the sea. I go sailing or with a rubber dinghy, I spearfish or whatever activities that can be done at sea, possibly with my family.
Cinema or literature: give me a title and explain your choice
I prefer essays or adventure books. My go-to book is “Sailing alone around the world” by Joshua Slocum. It’s the story of a nineteenth century solo sail around the globe.
I like it because it shows the difference in the magnitude of power of man and the sea. Alone he faced something daunting that when put in the context of that era seems impossible. Compared to today, circumnavigating the globe alone in those times was something entirely different. Many moments in the book force you to think about the man/nature limit. Besides, it is a very good read.