Atmospheric scientists monitor and analyze weather and climate-related events and data. They utilize computer programs, weather balloons, radar systems, and satellite technology in their work. In addition to forecasting weather and climate events, atmospheric scientists collaborate with scientists, engineers, and other commerce, energy, transportation, and agriculture professionals to address weather-related issues. Some of the general job responsibilities of atmospheric scientists include:
- Preparing and presenting short and long-term weather forecasts
- Monitoring and measuring temperature, air pressure, and other atmospheric properties
- Collecting and analyzing historical and current weather and climate-related data
- Creating weather maps, charts, and graphics
There are many types of atmospheric scientists. Broadcast meteorologists and weather forecasters prepare and present short and long-term weather forecasts for the general public as well as airports, farmers, utility companies, and other businesses. Climate scientists study the history of weather patterns in order to forecast long-term weather-related events. Other types of atmospheric scientists include forensic meteorologists, who investigate the role weather played in specific events, and research meteorologists, who work to improve our understanding of climate and weather.Read More
Job Growth for
Becoming an Atmospheric Scientist
Most job positions for atmospheric scientists require will require a bachelor's degree in meteorology or a closely-related field. Research positions require at least a master's degree, but more typically a Ph.D. As of this writing, there are very few online undergraduate degree programs in meteorology. A typical meteorology degree program will include classes in meteorology, mathematics, computer science, physics, and chemistry.
Students who plan to pursue a career as a broadcast meteorologist might consider a degree program that offers electives in speech, journalism, or broadcasting. All types of atmospheric scientists should possess strong computer science, math, critical thinking, and writing skills. A sampling of classes in a typical bachelor's degree program in meteorology may include:
- Weather Analysis and Forecasting
- Computer Science
- Atmospheric Physics and Remote Sensing
- Meteorological Instrumentation
The BLS reports that over the next decade, graduates from meteorology degree programs is expected to exceed the number of available jobs. Potential employers may favor candidates with a master's degree or higher. A bachelor's degree in mathematics, physics, or engineering can provide excellent preparation for graduate study in atmospheric science.