it going to rain? Is it going to snow? Should I wear my rain
jacket or should I wear my warm coat? Better check the forecast.”
Forecasting weather is very important. Meteorologists, who
are scientists that study the weather, warn people of thunderstorms,
tornados, hurricanes, blizzards and other dangerous conditions.
If you are curious about nature’s wild weather and how
it is predicted, then meteorology could be an exciting career
also study the atmosphere, the air that surrounds the earth.
They look for changes in the atmosphere that will affect the
weather and climates around the world. Meteorologists gather
weather information that will help everyone from farmers,
who try to prevent their crops from freezing, to pilots who
avoid flying in storms. Most of us depend on the weather.
Can Work In Many Areas:
Does the challenge of forecasting the weather interest you?
Then consider being an operational meteorologist. These meteorologists
study the air pressure, temperature, humidity, and wind speed
to make short- and long-range weather forecasts. They receive
their information from weather satellites, weather balloons,
radar, aircraft, and observers throughout the world.
If you like searching for answers to tough questions, then
you might enjoy a career in atmosphere research. For example,
some of these meteorologists are looking into what causes
droughts and how they impact farming.
- If you communicate well with others and want to work
in television or radio, this could be the area of meteorology
for you. Broadcast meteorologists produce weather forecasts
and related graphics for television, radio, and even newspapers.
Interview with Josh Fitzpatrick, Television Meteorologist:
always has fascinated Josh Fitzpatrick, a meteorologist with
WSAZ, an NBC station in West Virginia. “It was a blizzard
in southern Ohio that sparked my interest in meteorology,”
Josh says. “I was 10 and remember watching WSAZ chief
meteorologist Tony Cavalier warning viewers about the approaching
storm. When it hit, I awoke to whiteout conditions! I had
never experienced anything like it before. The snow drifts
were nearly over my head!”
snow melted,” Josh explains, “I wanted to know
what caused the storm in the first place. I checked out as
many weather books as I could find in the local library. So,
ever since that storm, I’ve been hooked.”
A couple of years
later, Josh took a tour of WSAZ’s studio and Weather
Center. “I finally got to meet chief meteorologist Tony
Cavalier, and I told him that one day I would be working with
him as a meteorologist,” Josh says. “I am sure
he just smiled at my big goal, but I was determined to reach
from high school, Josh studied broadcast meteorology and geography
at Mississippi State University. Upon graduation, Josh landed
a job at an ABC station in West Virginia, and after three
years, became the youngest chief meteorologist in the country.
Soon after, Josh applied for and got the job as a meteorologist
at his hometown TV station, reaching his long time goal to
work alongside Tony Cavalier.
Josh likes the
responsibility of informing people about the weather and helping
them plan their day. “It is important that a television
meteorologist has an appealing on-air personality,”
Josh states, “and that you connect with people through
a television camera.”
need to develop good hand and eye coordination when in front
of the camera. The weather map that you see behind the meteorologist
is really a green screen called a chroma key wall. “The
technical people add the maps and graphics behind me as we
are broadcasting,” explains Josh.
am looking at monitors off to the side so I can see where
to point. This can be tricky since it is a mirror image.”
Josh also can change those weather maps, charts, and graphics
with a hand-held clicker.
What is Josh’s
favorite part of his career? “I enjoy the variety,”
he says. “Being a television meteorologist is never
dull. There is always something going on.”
difficult part is the hours I keep. This is not a 9 to 5 job.
For example, since I am the weekend meteorologist, I am at
the station by 3:30 a.m. on Saturday mornings going over weather
charts, satellite photos, and radar images. I update the weather
on our web channel and send out personal forecasts to viewers
who subscribe to this service by email or phone. I also work
on the television graphics that go with my forecast for our
6 a.m. broadcast.”
With some breaks
through the day, Josh leaves the station around midnight.
The hours can vary depending on the weather conditions. “The
long and changeable hours simply come with the job,”
Josh says, “but it is a job I love.
You Can Do to Get Ready:
If you are interested
in a career in meteorology, Josh recommends reading all you
can about weather in books and magazines, and on the Internet.
Also, take a tour of a weather center or shadow meteorologists
as they go about their duties.
need to be good at math and science,” Josh says, “so
be sure to take these classes in high school, especially calculus
and physics. Computer classes are also helpful.”
To become a meteorologist,
you will need to go to college and get a 4-year Bachelor of
Science degree in Meteorology or Atmospheric Sciences. If
you want to do research or teach, you may need a Master’s
Degree or even a Ph.D.
The salary for
meteorologists ranges from approximately $20,000 to over $100,000
per year depending on your degree, your experience, and the
Check out Weather
Wiz Kids to discover information about weather as well
as weather careers, safety, games, jokes, and more.
Go to Scholastic’s
Interactive Weather Maker and create some weather.
Explore the online
career center at the American
Meteorological Society’s website.