Defined by the American Meteorological Society, a meteorologist is a person “who uses scientific principles to explain, understand, observe, or forecast the earth’s atmospheric phenomena and/or how the atmosphere affects the earth and life on the planet.” The term “atmospheric science” often is used to describe the combination of meteorology and other branches of physical science that are involved in studying the atmosphere.
Basically, meteorologists study and predict the weather and climate and its relationship on other environmental processes and the impact on our lives and economy. Meteorologists can have many different jobs including atmospheric research, teaching, daily weather forecasting and broadcasting, and finally supporting private clients like farming cooperatives. Meteorologists work for the government, private companies, and universities.
They usually need a bachelor’s degree in atmospheric science or a closely related field that’s specific to atmospheric phenomena. Degrees in physics, chemistry, mathematics, computer programming, or geoscience may be adequate for certain positions. Since most graduate programs don’t require a bachelor’s degree in atmospheric science for admission, degrees in math, physics, and engineering are good preparations for graduate study. Research positions usually require at least a master’s degree, though they will often require a doctorate.
On days like today, I’m certainly glad they’re around!