Meteorologist  What They Do

Just the Facts

Atmospheric and Space Scientists Career Video

Insider Info

dotMeteorologists are the people who help us decide whether it's a good day to go to the beach, play golf or stay indoors. These people are the ones who analyze the weather and tell the public what kind of weather to expect.

They do more than forecast weather conditions and temperatures, however. Meteorologists study atmospheric phenomena such as storms, pollution and climate change. They conduct research in all areas involving the atmosphere.

dotMeteorology is part of a larger field called atmospheric science. It includes a number of areas of specialization:

  • Weather forecasting
  • Climatology: studying weather history and patterns to better predict future weather patterns
  • Dynamic meteorology: studying the movement of weather systems and what controls them
  • Physical meteorology: studying the physical-chemical nature of the atmosphere
  • Industrial meteorology: studying the effects of industrial and urban environments on the weather and climate

dotA meteorologist may specialize in any of the above areas. Meteorologist Jasmine Paola says forecasting the weather is a science, but it's not an accurate science. "Very rarely do you see a textbook case," she says. "Sometimes you have to go with your gut feeling or be creative."

dotWeather and meteorological information has traditionally been provided by the government for public use. So, many meteorologists work for government weather offices.

Others work for private companies that rely on weather information. These include private consulting firms, resource industries (for example, gas and oil exploration) and utility companies (like hydroelectric utilities).

dotThe demand for weather forecasters is growing in the industrial consulting business. The use of meteorological services by farmers, commodities investors, utilities, transportation and construction firms, and radio and television stations is also increasing.

dotMeteorologists often work rotating shifts, including night shifts. Shifts can vary from eight to 12 hours in length.

dotMeteorologist Brian Bowkett says the work would be hard for disabled people who weren't able to get around easily.

"You have to be prepared to work a 37.5-hour workweek, which can be spread over any time of the day or night seven days a week," he says. He adds that most buildings are wheelchair accessible.

Just the Facts

Want a quick overview of what this career is about?Check out Just the Facts for simple lists of characteristics.

At a Glance

Follow the weather and report what you see

  • Meteorology is part of a larger field called atmospheric science
  • There are a number of specialties in the field
  • A bachelor's degree is a minimum requirement in this field

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