What is a Meteorologist?

Meteorologists are specialized scientists who focus on a specific aspect of the atmosphere. They use scientific principles to observe, understand, explain, or forecast how the Earth's atmosphere affects the Earth and everyone on it.

Here are some questions you may want to ask yourself if you are considering a career in meteorology:

- Am I curious about the world around me and why it is the way it is?
- Do I enjoy science and math courses?
- Am I challenged by the idea of applying basic scientific principles to understand the behavior of the atmosphere?
- Am I intrigued by the concept of using mathematics to describe things that happen in the world around me?
- Would I like to work in a field of science that investigates the atmospheric forces that shape our weather and climate?
- Would I like to work with supercomputers, satellites, and other sophisticated research tools?

What does a Meteorologist do?

Meteorologists work with a two-stage investigative model. First, they identify the initial state of the atmosphere, that is, the temperature, pressure, wind strength and direction, and humidity concentration over a specific area. They continuously make observations using ground-level sensors, satellites, radar, aircraft, and balloons.

Once they know the initial state at every altitude, they make calculations using physics equations relating to friction, atmospheric forces, thermodynamics, radiation, and the force of the Earth’s rotation.

A meteorologist presenting the weather forecast on TV.

There are various meteorology specializations, so if you enjoy the nature of the work, it is likely that there is a specialization that works well with your personality. All meteorologists use sophisticated technology on a daily basis. Depending on the specialization, this might mean launching weather balloons, modeling weather on a computer, or even developing new software.


Climate Meteorologists/Climatologists - look at long term weather data and patterns from hundreds to millions of years ago in order to help predict future climate trends

Atmospheric Meteorologists - study the atmosphere's motions and physical characteristics and how they could, or do affect the environment. They also apply their research to forestry, agriculture, global warming trends and air pollution control.

Operational Meteorologists - study wind direction, wind speed, temperature, humidity and air pressure

Forensic Meteorologists - investigate claims for insurance companies, and will research weather or past weather for a court of law

Broadcast Meteorologists - interpret and report the weather and weather conditions for television and radio

Consulting Meteorologists - are hired by large companies for consultation work

Synoptic Meteorologists - develop new instruments and tools with computers and mathematical methods in order to forecast the weather in a more up to date manner

Physical Meteorologists - study the physical and chemical properties of the atmosphere, and the transmission of sounds, light and radio waves through the air

Environmental Meteorologists - study and report on ways to reduce air pollution, and contribute to the study of global warming and ozone depletion

Research Meteorologists - typically work for different government agencies, the military, NASA, or the National Weather Service

Archive Meteorologists - research and report on storms of the past

Meteorologists as Teachers / Professors - share their knowledge as educators at a high school or university level

Are you suited to be a meteorologist?

Meteorologists have distinct personalities. They tend to be investigative individuals, which means they’re intellectual, introspective, and inquisitive. They are curious, methodical, rational, analytical, and logical. Some of them are also enterprising, meaning they’re adventurous, ambitious, assertive, extroverted, energetic, enthusiastic, confident, and optimistic.

Does this sound like you? Take our free career test to find out if meteorologist is one of your top career matches.

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What is the workplace of a Meteorologist like?

Meteorologists can be found all over the world working for TV/Radio stations, consulting businesses, educational facilities, the military, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration NOAA).

Depending on their specialty, meteorologists may have to work nights and weekends, and may have strict deadlines to meet.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to become a Meteorologist?

The path to becoming a meteorologist starts with an interest in science, climate and weather, and the atmosphere. It continues with choosing high school courses that support this interest. And it culminates with university education that opens the door to career options.

How long it takes to become a meteorologist depends on what type of position you are seeking. Different specializations require different skills and training.

A TV weatherperson, for example, would need journalism or media education, while this would be unnecessary for someone in a research position. There are positions available for those with only a bachelor's degree (four years), but most higher level positions require at least a master's degree (five to six years), and research positions require a PhD (six to eight years).

What are Meteorologists like?

Based on our pool of users, meteorologists tend to be predominately investigative people. This finding is not unexpected. These professionals are frequently, if not always, in investigative mode, as they predict weather, scrutinize climate trends, study the atmosphere, and examine its effects on the environment.

Meteorologists are also known as:
Weather Forecaster Weathercaster Weatherman