Atmospheric and Space Scientists

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Also known as:
Atmospheric Chemist, Atmospheric Scientist, Climatologist, Hurricane Tracker, Meteorologist, Oceanographic Meteorologist, Space Scientist, Storm Chaser, Tornado Chaser, Warning Coordination Meteorologist

Video transcript

It's been said that everyone talks about the weather, but no one ever does anything about it. Atmospheric and space scientists, sometimes called meteorologists, are trying to change that. BY studying the elements and planetary movements that affect weather, their work can save lives and property.

The scientists gather and analyze data from stations on, and above, the earth. Using computer models, they develop forecasts for upcoming weather. An important part of the job is being able to identify dangerous weather patterns and issue warnings, giving those in the path of an oncoming hurricane, for example, time to evacuate.

Atmospheric and space scientists also have their eyes on the more distant future, using their data to research issues such as global warming or ozone depletion. It's a career that requires training in college, with earth science and meteorology courses. From there, choices range from jobs in broadcasting to work with the federal government.

A bachelor's degree is generally required for entry-level positions. A Ph.D. is required for most basic research positions. One of the benefits of this career is that people will almost always be interested in what you do, because just about everybody wants to know what the weather will be like.

Investigate atmospheric phenomena and interpret meteorological data, gathered by surface and air stations, satellites, and radar to prepare reports and forecasts for public and other uses. Includes weather analysts and forecasters whose functions require the detailed knowledge of meteorology.
Critical decision making
Level of responsibilities
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
Dealing and handling conflict
Competition for this position
Communication with others
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
Comfort of the work setting
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
Exposure to job hazards
Physical demands
Daily tasks

Design or develop new equipment or methods for meteorological data collection, remote sensing, or related applications.

Prepare scientific atmospheric or climate reports, articles, or texts.

Develop and deliver training on weather topics.

Analyze climate data sets, using techniques such as geophysical fluid dynamics, data assimilation, or numerical modeling.

Develop computer programs to collect meteorological data or to present meteorological information.

Conduct meteorological research into the processes or determinants of atmospheric phenomena, weather, or climate.

Analyze historical climate information, such as precipitation or temperature records, to help predict future weather or climate trends.

Develop or use mathematical or computer models for weather forecasting.

Broadcast weather conditions, forecasts, or severe weather warnings to the public via television, radio, or the Internet or provide this information to the news media.

Apply meteorological knowledge to issues such as global warming, pollution control, or ozone depletion.

Speak to the public to discuss weather topics or answer questions.

Interacting With Computers Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Processing Information Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
Analyzing Data or Information Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Physics Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Mathematics Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Geography Knowledge of principles and methods for describing the features of land, sea, and air masses, including their physical characteristics, locations, interrelationships, and distribution of plant, animal, and human life.
Computers and Electronics Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Communications and Media Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media.
Chemistry Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
Engineering and Technology Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Writing Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Science Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
Judgment and Decision Making Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Complex Problem Solving Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.