Come rain or shine, meteorologists predict the weather. The work of a meteorologist is a more complex than many people think and does not always involve standing in front of a weather map! If you love talking about and observing the weather, you may like to learn about how to work in the meteorology field.
What does a meteorologist do?
Meteorologists study weather conditions, their causes and the impact the weather has on the environment. They do this by obtaining information from the sea, land and the atmosphere. Meteorologists use a range of computerised and mathematical models to predict weather forecasts and climate patterns. The work of a meteorologist is vital to the transportation industry, the armed forces, farmers, the media and retail businesses, to name just a few. Forecasting & Researching
The work of a meteorologist can be split into two categories: forecasting and researching. Weather forecasting involves gathering data from sources such as satellite imagery, radar signals, remote sensors and national and international weather stations. This information is used to create a weather briefing. They coordinate information on the temperature, air pressure and humidity at a range of atmospheric levels. They use complex computer models to predict the weather both in the short-term and the long-term. Predictions
In order to make their predictions, meteorologists are required to liaise with meteorologists and related industry professionals across the globe. Research meteorologists investigate airflow, clouds and precipitation and climate change. They improve existing forecasting models to increase their accuracy. Research meteorologists use the results of their work to predict hazardous weather such as heavy floods.
What training and skills are required to become a meteorologist?
Prospective meteorologists should show an ability to solve problems, an ability to work as part of a team, excellent communication skills, attention to fine details, adaptability, and an ability to create scientific reports.
The majority of meteorologists are graduates. Common degree subjects for entry into atmospheric science work of this kind include mathematics, computer science, meteorology, oceanography, physical environmental science and physics. A first or 2:1 degree classification is typically required, as are good A level passes in sciences and maths. A postgraduate qualification in a related field is advantageous, particularly for securing research posts.
Work experience in the field is also highly desirable. The majority of prospective meteorologists acquire trainee posts. They will then learn forecasting, general meteorology and numerical weather prediction. The Met Office is the UK’s largest employer of meteorologists.
What salary can a trained meteorologist expect to receive?
A trained meteorologist can expect to earn a starting salary of around £18,500 per year. Experienced meteorologists can earn around £24,480 per year. Meteorologists work in shifts to enable the weather to be predicted at all times of day. Forecast meteorologists are more likely to work unsociable hours than research meteorologists.