Meteorology is the scientific study of the atmosphere that focuses on weather processes and forecasting.

What is it?

Meteorological phenomena are observable weather events which illuminate and are explained by the science of meteorology. Those events are bound by the variables that exist in Earth’s atmosphere.

Many people can confuse meteorology as the study of meteors. Read more about the history of meteorology here.

Fun fact: In Aristotle’s time, when the word ‘meteorology’ was introduced, anything from the sky, like snow and rain, was believed to be caused by meteors.

Studying Meteorology

At AS-level or higher or equivalent you’ll need maths and physics.

To become a meteorologist, at university you’ll need a degree in one of the following subjects:
• computer science/software engineering
• environmental sciences
• mathematics
• ocean science
• physical geography
• physics and physical sciences.

You can apply to the Met Office for a place as a trainee on their forecasting and observations course. Find out more here.

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You’ll need to use computerised and mathematical models to make short and long-range forecasts concerning weather and climate patterns.

As a meteorologist, you could specialise in one of two main areas; forecasting or research.

As a forecaster, you’ll collect data from satellite images, radars, remote sensors and weather stations to measure things such as air pressure, wind, temperature and humidity. Forecasters analysing information and use computer programmes to give weather information and reports.

As a researcher, you’ll be studying weather patterns, climate change and how the weather can affect the spread of disease or pollution. Many researchers make predictions about floods and droughts. Your aim is to improve computer forecasting models to make future predictions more accurate.

Read more on careers and salaries in meteorology.

Skills Needed

As a meteorologist, you will need to like:
• problem-solving
• writing scientific reports
• teamwork
• maths and computing

Women in Meteorology

June Bacon-Bercey – an American international expert on weather and aviation.

Dr Joanne Simpson – Joanne Simpson was the first woman in the United States to receive a Ph.D. in meteorology.

Ada Monzón – Monzón is the first woman in Puerto Rico to be named a fellow of the American Meteorological Society.

Anna Mani – was an Indian physicist and meteorologist.

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