Meteorologists: What Do They Do?

While meteorologists might be known for working with weather and climate, their actual job can be pretty complex. So what do meteorologists do?

Meteorologists: What Do They Do?

In short, meteorologists try to understand how atmospheric chemistry and its physics work in relation to climate and weather.

Of course, there’s a lot more to look at here – so read on to learn more about this fascinating career!

What Do Meteorologists Do?

Meteorologists undertake atmospheric research, analyze weather conditions, and forecast the weather.

A major part of what a meteorologist does is try to provide an accurate weather forecast. Of course, this is a very difficult and often a thankless task.

One of the great things about this type of science though is that the experts constantly can get their predictions wrong but they’re seldom fired as a result!

Depending on how complex the models they are working with are, forecasting can take many hours to complete. Although predictive modeling is often done using sophisticated computers and tools these days.

You can quickly see how difficult the role of forecasting is by choosing different weather apps for your cell phone.

Let’s say for example you have an Apple phone and an Android phone. Both of their default weather apps might give you wildly different weather forecasts, despite being set to the same location.

This is why meteorologists at NOAA’s National Weather Service use complex tools such as Doppler radar, Satellite data, Radiosondes, ASOS (automated surface observing systems), along with state-of-the-art computer systems to make faster and better predictions than ever.

You may now be wondering – if it’s so complex, then how much do meteorologists actually earn?

What Is The Salary For A Meteorologist?

As with many careers, the earning potential and typical salary of a meteorologist can vary wildly. However, the best way to measure this is by using the average earning potential of this job.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics, the median salary is nearly 95 thousand dollars a year. And generally, this is on the higher end of a lot of jobs involved in the environmental science career path.

As a meteorologist, you can find employment with news stations, technology companies, app developers, government agencies, the military, airlines, and even in education.

A Day In The Life Of A Meteorologist

As part of trying to predict the weather and the climate conditions, you will be looking for patterns that could create a natural disaster. Such extreme weather events could potentially lead to danger or loss of life.

As a result of this, one of the major things a meteorologist must do is issue warnings of severe weather conditions. This is very important as severe weather conditions can be dangerous to the public, affect travel, and events across the country.

Depending on what a meteorologist is doing at the time, they may need to work particularly long hours. Especially if there is an impending weather emergency that needs to be understood and reported on.

Indeed, for the National Weather Service, this could be incredibly common due to the importance of the role.

It’s also important to note that depending on where you live, you might be subject to a very unique weather situation and this could affect how long you will work that day.

Do Meteorologists Need A Degree?

The vast majority of meteorologists will need at least a bachelor’s degree. In fact, it’s beneficial to be educated even further than this to about a master’s or Ph.D. level.

This is because some places that offer this type of role require it as a basic requirement before they even offer you an interview! For example, the National Weather Service requires meteorologists to have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in meteorology.

So as a meteorologist, you’re going to need some specific skills and qualifications. You’ll need a strong understanding of physics, chemistry, geography, and of course maths. As weather forecasting is a pretty data-heavy activity.

If you’re serious about getting involved in this career, you should take a keen interest in the weather and environmental changes.

Brush up on your knowledge of weather conditions and major weather events. Especially historical ones, and how your area might be affected by a particular event. You can even impress by showing how much you know about your area’s weather history!

Final Thoughts

Meteorologists study the atmosphere using chemistry and physics to try to forecast the weather.

To learn more about what a meteorologist does check out this great clip from Robert Molleda, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service.

Andrew Capper