What does a Meteorologist do?

Being a Meteorologist is about understanding the atmosphere and its effects on the Earth's surface, oceans and life in general. This includes analysing the state of the atmosphere and oceans, and providing forecasts, warnings, information and advice on weather and climate.

A Graduate Meteorologist, will probably start out as a weather forecaster where you can receive extensive on the job training. You could specialise in areas including:

  • Severe weather
  • Thunderstorms
  • Tropical Meteorology
  • Services to the defence forces
  • Meteorological and oceanographic analysis
  • Services to the aviation industry
  • Climatology

Why does a Meteorologist do this?

From deciding what to wear of a morning, to how productive our food supplies will be in the future, almost all human activities are in some way influenced by the atmosphere and weather. Meteorologists contribute to our understanding of the atmosphere and the weather it produces to help humanity forecast and plan for different situations. This information is critically important to many industries such as:

  • Shipping and sea fishing
  • Sailing organisations
  • Armed forces
  • Government services, eg for advice on climate change policy
  • Insurance companies
  • Farmers
  • Industry and retail businesses
  • Public services
  • Media
  • Industry and retail businesses
  • Health services

How does a Meteorologist do their job?

Some tasks Meteorologists undertake include:

  • Using and developing scientific techniques to forecast and interpret atmospheric conditions;
  • Analysing and interpreting surface, upper-level and other measurements (including satellite images and other remote sensing data about atmospheric conditions);
  • Preparing weather forecasts for the public and for specific users such as aviation, marine, defence and emergency services;
  • Issuing warnings for cyclones, storms, gales, floods, frosts and fire danger
  • Studying climates and identifying climatic change;
  • Working with Physicists and Engineers to develop observation equipment and distribute information on topics such as air pollution;
  • Supervising and coordinating the work of other Meteorologists, Technical Officers and Meteorological Observers;
  • Carrying out weather studies for particular clients.

Meteorologists need good interpersonal skills to work in a team environment, and must also be able to communicate clearly and expressively to the media. Senior Meteorologists have become media personalities in some parts of the country.

Where do Meteorologists do their work?

Meteorologists in forecasting positions usually work in shifts. Operational Meteorologists may work in field station locations throughout Australia and its territories, from the tropics to Antarctica. Others are involved in policy development, administration and training.

Tertiary study

Begin with a Bachelor of Science where you can study areas such as:

You could then go onto graduate study in areas such as:

Some companies that employ Meteorologists