Meteorologist

Changes in weather and climate patterns are associated with increasing global temperatures caused by excessive greenhouse gas emissions. Extreme weather events, such as extended droughts and flooding, associated with climate change has significant impacts on people, natural resources and ecosystem functioning. With further adverse implications for social, ecological and economic wellbeing. Studying weather patterns and climate change is critical to inform mitigating, adaptation and resilience strategies to minimise associated risks.

Meteorologists study the physics and dynamics of the atmosphere and weather patterns to identify climatic trends and changes. They investigate the direction and speed of air movement, pressure, temperature, humidity and the physical and chemical transformation of pollutants and other phenomena in the atmosphere. They can also develop and test mathematical models for experimental or operational use. Some can directly disseminate meteorological information to the public through radio and television broadcasts.

Meteorologists mostly work in weather stations and office environments analysing meteorological data. They can engage with climate change scientists, policy makers and stakeholders in forestry, agriculture, conservation and environmental management sectors, for example.

Skills

Meteorologists must have a comprehensive understanding of atmospheric and physical science principles and processes, and will also benefit from:

  • Extensive mathematical and statistical modelling ability
  • Manage and organise large, complicated and complex data sets
  • Excellent research and analytical thinking ability
  • Strong verbal and written communication and presentation skills

Tasks

Measure meteorological factors such as air pressure and temperature

Collect global, national and local satellite and remote sensing data

Create computer models for short and long-range weather forecasts

Liaise with stakeholders around weather forecasts

Studies

B.Sc., B.Sc. (Hons), M.Sc. in Meteorology at UP

B.Sc., B.Sc. (Hons), M.Sc. in Ocean and Atmosphere Science at UCT

B.Sc., B.Sc. (Hons), M.Sc. in Agriculture specialising in Agrometeorology at UFS and UKZN

B.Sc., B.Sc. (Hons),M.Sc. in Geography specialising in Atmospheric Science at all universities

Employers

South African Weather Services.

National, provincial and local government.

Research institutions.

Television and radio organisations.

Related career paths