Meteorologists 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.
Meteorology 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
- Dynamic meteorology: studying the movement of weather systems and what
- 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
A 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."
Weather and meteorological information has traditionally been provided
by the government for public use. So, many meteorologists work for government
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).
The 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.
Meteorologists often work rotating shifts, including night shifts. Shifts
can vary from eight to 12 hours in length.
Meteorologist 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.