AMU APU Careers Careers & Learning Editor's Pick Original

National Weatherperson’s Day and Careers in Meteorology

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By Dr. Kandis Boyd Wyatt
Faculty Member, Transportation and Logistics

February 5th is National Weatherperson’s Day. This day focuses on how both men and women contribute to the field of meteorology.

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What Is National Weatherperson’s Day?

The origins of National Weatherperson’s Day can be traced back to 1744. According to Ulises Garcia of WMDT, “National Weatherperson’s Day is celebrated today because of John Jeffries’ birth in 1744. Jeffries is one of America’s first weather observers, but also considered to be America’s 1st weatherman. His main profession is of a physician/surgeon who sided with the British before and during the American Revolution. His weather contributions began as early as 1774, taking daily weather observations in Boston. His weather practices involved taking measurements up to 3 times through 1776, where he fled to Nova Scotia. Jeffries did return to America in 1780, at the time he was listed in the Massachusetts Banishment Act before moving to London.”

Weather and the Discipline of Meteorology

Since the time of John Jeffries, the field of meteorology has greatly expanded. But the most common mistake that people make about meteorology is to assume that it is about studying meteors, not the weather. Weather is all around us and affects us in a multitude of ways.

For example, weather is how most people start a conversation, and it’s the one factor connecting us all on a daily basis. Most people rely heavily on the weather forecast when there are adverse conditions like heatwaves, blizzards, tornadoes and hurricanes.

Most people know their weather in advance through the local forecast provided by a meteorologist. The forecast, which can extend up to seven days, typically provides updates on temperature, pressure, cloud cover, wind, dewpoint and precipitation. The forecast is available 24/7 in print, by television or by cell phone apps.

What Education Is Required for a Career in Meteorology?

Meteorologists are much more than what you see on TV. Careers in meteorology span from teaching to research, forecasting and consulting.

Meteorology is interdisciplinary, which means it requires you to have a background in science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM). However, preparing for a career in meteorology means investing in higher education after high school. Most meteorology careers require at least a bachelor’s degree in meteorology, atmospheric science or a closely related discipline.

Up to 1,000 people receive a degree in meteorology annually, which means this field is expanding in both popularity and usage. As a result, the supply of meteorology jobs is exceeding demand.

If this field appeals to you, then start acquiring experience now by volunteering or interning. If you’re making a career change, request a sabbatical to learn more about meteorology.

What Do Meteorologists Do?

The world of meteorology is also known as atmospheric science and includes all physical phenomena from the sea to the sun. Since meteorology covers such a wide variety of different areas, meteorologists can have different careers:

  • Agricultural meteorologists study how weather can affect crop yields.
  • Social scientists help communicate weather in easy-to-understand ways to help the public make the best decisions possible.
  • Forecasters use predictive models to create a forecast up to 14 days in the future.
  • Climatologists look at weather patterns over time to develop trends that have global implications.
  • Modelers use a mix of artificial intelligence, math and computer science to duplicate the human decision-making process when determining the accuracy of a weather forecast.
  • Disaster managers organize responses to national disasters, the majority of which are weather-related. Many meteorologists often enter this career field.
  • Meteorologists also work with oceanographers and hydrologists to monitor land-sea-air interactions. Global interactions of air land and sea are growing in importance, especially since 72% of Earth is covered by water.
  • Public policy meteorologists develop short- and long-term legislation to create environmentally friendly regulations that protect the environment.
  • Satellite meteorologists use instrumentation 22,300 miles above Earth to monitor the global circulation of satellites.
  • Air quality meteorologists measure particulates in the atmosphere and how they can affect people’s health and weather visibility.

So the next time you experience a highly accurate, spot-on weather forecast, be sure to thank your local meteorologists and the team behind them. They have worked hard to provide you with the best possible weather information.

Dr. Kandis Y. Boyd Wyatt, PMP, is a professor at the university and has over 25 years of experience managing projects that specialize in supply chain management. She holds a B.S. in meteorology and an M.S. in meteorology and water resources from Iowa State University, as well as a D.P.A. in public administration from Nova Southeastern University.

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