Meteorologist: job description

Meteorologists use a variety of scientific techniques to understand, interpret, observe and predict the earth's atmosphere and its phenomena.

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Meteorologists often choose to specialise in either forecasting or research.

What does a meteorologist do? Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

Meteorologists study the earth’s atmosphere – particularly climate and weather – in order to forecast weather conditions.

The main duties of meteorologists include:

  • recording and analysing data from worldwide weather stations, satellites, radars and remote sensors
  • interpreting observations from the land, sea and upper atmosphere
  • providing customers (such as civil aviation companies, broadcast companies and military units) with weather reports/forecasts
  • employing mathematical and physical formulae and using computer modelling applications to help make long and short range weather predictions
  • researching and predicting climate change
  • helping to improve weather prediction models
  • writing research papers, reports, reviews and summaries
  • keeping up to date with relevant scientific and technical developments

Typical employers of meteorologists

  • The Met Office
  • BBC
  • Environmental consultancies
  • Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC)
  • Research centres
  • British Antarctic Survey
  • The armed forces

Vacancies are advertised via the internet, by careers services, in national newspapers and in relevant scientific publications such as New Scientist , Science and Nature . Speculative applications are recommended, since roles aren’t always heavily advertised.

  • The recruitment process is likely to involve a technical interview. Read our article on technical interviews to find out what these involve and how you can tackle them.

Qualifications and training required

You can only become a meteorologist if you have a good degree (a 2.1 or higher) in an appropriate subject such as meteorology, mathematics, physical sciences, computer science or environmental science. A relevant postgraduate qualification (a PhD or research-based MSc) is also beneficial, and may be necessary for research positions. A range of degrees are accredited by the Royal Meteorological Society.

Read our article on scientific postgraduate study to explore your different options.

Practical work experience can be beneficial: the Met Office provides a few industrial placements and summer placements each year, although these attract competition.

Key skills for meteorologists

  • Analytical skills
  • Genuine interest in weather systems
  • Teamworking skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Written and oral communication skills
  • Problem solving skills
  • Computer literacy
  • Mathematical abilities

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