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Because weather forecasts impact society tremendously, this expertise is of unique importance. Without weather forecasters—which means the people and the technologies behind them—life wouldn’t be as easy for us!
Everyone depends on this service that science has made possible: chasing storms allows government agencies and private sectors to save lives and enable people to move forward in the aftermath of calamities.
People and organizations use weather prediction to reduce weather-related losses and enhance societal benefits, such as protecting life and property, supporting economic prosperity, and improving quality of life. In fact, a bill has been passed in the US Congress to improve weather forecasts.
A $1.75 trillion infrastructure bill was passed by Congress, and a portion of that money will be used to improve weather forecasting. In 2022 alone, nine billion-dollar weather and climate disasters were reported in the year’s first half.
One really can’t argue the importance of forecasting weather. And if you’re interested in joining this field, it’s best to equip yourself with the right qualifications. And, of course, nothing can compete against having thorough education in the field of meteorology or atmospheric sciences.
What is Meteorology?
The field of meteorology is one of the most important in the field of atmospheric sciences, but most of us don’t give it much thought.
Perhaps the first thought is that it can be used to predict the weather. Nonetheless, it covers most atmospheric sciences, including physics and chemistry. The weather has always been of interest to humanity, but now it encompasses much more than predicting weather patterns.
In a world where climate change is a worldwide concern, people and scientific researchers are all giving attention to meteorology and related subjects. The strength of predicting weather is that issues such as air pressure fluctuations, large tidal waves, wind direction, water vapor levels, and other phenomena can be studied, analyzed, or prevented.
Even when the weather is seemingly erratic, it tries to predict what will happen locally, regionally, and nationally over the next few days and weeks. These weather predictions can then relay to weather forecasters, informing the public of what’s coming.
Workers rely on such simple predictions in many fields to determine their futures. We are incredibly reliant on understanding the weather around us.
However, it’s safe to say that meteorology doesn’t always get it right. Their errors only demonstrate how unpredictable weather can be. With today’s advancements in meteorological tools and studies, the accuracy level of weather predictions is enhanced.
How Meteorology Helps Predict Weather
Weather patterns can be predicted using various tools by meteorologists. Using these tools, they calculate future weather conditions based on past and present atmospheric conditions.
Weather forecasts are only educated guesses; like other human beings, meteorologists simply cannot control the weather. To make such predictions, we need to observe past and current atmospheric patterns and data.
Meteorologists use different tools for different purposes. To measure temperature, air pressure, and wind speed, thermometers, barometers, and anemometers are commonly used.
In the troposphere, weather balloons, for example, measure temperature, air pressure, wind speed, and wind direction through their weather packs. All these and more are part of meteorologists’ procedures to forecast the weather.
Roles of Meteorologists and Forecasters
Our weather is observed, explained, and forecasted using scientific principles. Meteorologists and weather forecasters are in charge of researching various subdisciplines such as:
- Remote Sensing
- Air Quality
- Climate Change
- Climate modeling
- Atmospheric Physics
Climates, oceans, and biological life are also studied in relation to the atmosphere. Combined with atmospheric data, forecasters use that research to assess the current state of the atmosphere and predict its future.
In order to measure the atmospheric conditions of the earth’s above and surface areas, these researchers usually use the following tools and devices:
- Weather Stations
- Weather Balloons
- Large Ships
- Radar Devices
Centers produce computer analyses of global weather throughout the world through the use of these devices. A national or regional weather center receives the analyses, which are fed into computers that predict the future state of the atmosphere based on the data.
There are multiple, interconnected ways in which weather and its study occur. Finally, the last recipient is families and individuals checking the TV and gadgets for weather news and information.
Other Uses of Meteorology
It’s important to understand that meteorology has many other uses besides chasing storms and forecasting weather. Here are the other subfields that get influenced by meteorology:
In commodities trading, meteorology is applied surprisingly. For meteorologists, stock and share trading is an important area of employment, particularly when dealing with commodity crops like coffee and other agricultural produce.
The harvest and sowing seasons are both impacted by weather. Traders rely on longer-term weather forecasts and crop harvests in a specific year to make their decisions.
Meteorological data specialists also supply data to small businesses, including clothing retailers and restaurants. Rather than just relying on typical seasonal trends, targeted ads are broadcast at certain times based on unusual weather conditions, such as wet weather clothing and sun cream.
As a force of local, regional, and national weather patterns, environmental meteorology studies pollution’s effects on the climate.
The study will cover many aspects of weather, such as temperature variations, humidity, wind speed and intensity, and many others. All of these can create an impact on the environment, whether short or long-term.
Meteorology looks at not just weather conditions but also what the weather conditions might do to the environment and climate.
Eventually, fossil fuel supplies will run out, and the world will be forced to switch to renewable energy sources. Although this sector has been growing over the years, it remains far behind conventional energy usage. Weather conditions are a major factor in most renewable energy sources.
For instance, it is necessary to place wind farms in areas with high winds. There needs to be the sunlight in an area where solar farms are built.
Water sources are required for hydroelectric power to be reliable, sustainable, and predictable. In order to determine the best location, meteorologists examine the history of the local weather system.
Therefore, the planning and development of renewable energy are and will remain fundamental to the development of renewable energy.
Top 5 Colleges to Study Meteorology at All Levels
Today, many schools offer Meteorology primarily as a traditional degree facilitated on the main campus as opposed to an online learning format. Here are some of the institutions of higher education that take pride in their excellent Meteorology programs:
Seminole State College
Becoming the next weatherperson on the local news is not the only goal of a meteorology degree. In this field, you can protect the environment by controlling pollution and even protect people by forecasting weather in advance. As an added benefit, you’ll get a solid grounding in advanced math and chemistry when you enroll in this associate of arts in meteorology.
Seminole State College is known for providing quality education at about half the cost. They’re also known for their small-sized classes with only 30 students or less. There are online degree options, and this associate of arts can either be taken remotely or in person.
After earning your associate’s degree, you can continue your education at Seminole State to earn your bachelor’s degree. As a result, you’ll be guaranteed admission to UCF or one of Florida’s other state universities after completing your associate degree.
University of Maryland
Hailed as one of the nation’s leading departments, the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science (AOSC) at the University of Maryland focuses on an intellectually and computationally challenging area of science that impacts societal well-being, national security, and the health of our planet.
There are over 100 outstanding graduate and undergraduate students at AOSC, plus 16 tenure-track faculty members and 20 professional faculty members of international stature.
The atmospheric sciences department is specialized in topics such as:
- Atmospheric Chemistry and Air Pollution
- Data Assimilation
- Clouds and Remote Sensing
- Physical Oceanography
- Climate Dynamics and Analysis of Climate Change
- Mesoscale-to-Earth System Modeling and Prediction
- Ocean-Atmosphere-Land Interactions
Oceanography, atmospheric sciences, and meteorology programs at the University of Maryland are ranked among the top 10 by the National Research Council. The course plans comply with the American Meteorological Society’s requirements for a bachelor’s degree in atmospheric sciences.
First-year students undergo internships or complete capstone projects. A weather model is maintained and run by students multiple times per day, generating data that is only available locally.
Iowa State University
With a degree in geology or meteorology, you can pursue careers in world travel, planet protection, and innovative technologies. Iowa State University offers a master’s degree in Meteorology as a second major to further enhance your career path.
In order to ensure all students’ learning and success, their department aims to create a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment.
In particular, Iowa State emphasizes its rich diversity, respect for all, and freedom from discrimination. There have been nine teaching awards given to their faculty since 2000. Their American Meteorological Society student chapter recently won a national award for the second year in a row.
Located in Ithaca, New York, Cornell University’s atmospheric science department conducts research and teaches courses on weather and climate. Students can choose from many elective courses and extracurricular activities because the program has small classes and a high faculty-to-student ratio.
As well as providing an incredible real-life atmospheric laboratory, Upstate New York’s beautiful landscape provides a variety of forecasting challenges, from severe thunderstorms to lake-effect snow.
Cornell University offers a small, high-quality graduate program in atmospheric science. Graduate students can work closely with their advisors because faculty members do not advise large numbers of students.
Various backgrounds, including physics, chemistry, engineering, geological sciences, and mathematics, are welcome to apply. An undergraduate-level background in physics and math is necessary for all applicants seeking an advanced degree in atmospheric science.
University of California Los Angeles
The Los Angeles program by the University of California is the only one in California that meets the national accreditation standards of the American Meteorological Society and the National Weather Service.
Moreover, it is a small program with a high student-to-faculty ratio. They can offer you all the benefits of attending a large, top-ranked public university while receiving individual attention from their faculty.
Applicants for the doctoral degree must complete a program of study approved by the department of the University of California. Six (24 units) of the 36 units in each program of study must be entry-level graduate courses based on a list maintained by the department to ensure appropriate breadth and preparation.
For a specialization, 12 additional units must be selected from the 200 series. Before the spring quarter of the first year begins, students must submit their programs of study to the department.
Check out the following famous meteorologists of all times and see which one you’d like to use as a role model in your journey towards studying Meteorology.
Fahrenheit lectured on chemistry in Amsterdam, as well as developing meteorological instruments. His thermometers are known for their precision. Initially, alcohol was used. Mercury was used later because it produced superior results.
Originally, Ferrel worked on Hadley’s meteorological theory, but Hadley overlooked a key mechanism Ferrel recognized. For the purpose of showing that centrifugal force is created, he correlated Earth motion with atmosphere motion.
Due to the increasing or decreasing motion of the atmosphere, the atmosphere cannot remain in equilibrium. In this case, it depends on the direction the atmosphere is moving with respect to the surface of the Earth. This has been one of Ferrel’s studies and research.
The instruments Dalton used were primitive, but he managed to collect a great deal of data. Using his meteorological instruments, Dalton helped to turn weather forecasting into science. Today, weather forecasters tend to refer to Dalton’s records when talking about the earliest existing UK weather records.
Friedrich Alfred Wegener was a renowned meteorologist and interdisciplinary scientist born in Berlin, Germany, in 1880. His most famous theory was that of continental drift. He earned his doctorate in Astronomy at the University of Berlin in 1904. At the time, meteorology was a relatively new field, which fascinated him.
It won’t take long for your friends to imagine you doing the weather news when you tell them you plan to attend meteorology schools and pursue an atmospheric science program in college. But this role is just one small part of the expected student outcomes when studying meteorology.
In fact, a surprising number of meteorology graduates work for government agencies such as the National Weather Service, NASA, the Defense Department, and the Agriculture Department.
Many graduates also work in firms involving environmental science work or in the private sector. Others pursue this field to teach at the university level.
Attending the right Meteorology colleges could be the best option if you enjoy courses such as Synoptic Meteorology and Atmospheric Thermodynamics.
Or, if you’re fascinated about forecasting if it will rain or be sunny today, earning Meteorology degrees in the best colleges and pursuing a job may also be right up your alley.