A Job That Affects Daily Lives and the Future of the Planet
This week marks the start of the Atlantic Ocean Hurricane Season for 2009. Current research from NASA satellites thankfully suggest that this will be a normal to light hurricane season since sea surface temps are a bit below average this year. In essence, these cooler temperatures "starve developing hurricanes of their driving force," according to a Science Daily report that ran today.
How do we know all of this? From atmospheric scientists at NASA who make it their job to analyze and process satellite reports.
There are few jobs more essential to daily life than that of atmospheric scientists, or as they can also be called, meteorologists: They let us know what to wear for the day, whether our flights will be delayed and how the driving conditions will be, and when to prepare for natural disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes, thunder storms, and floods.
With over 20,0000 jobs in meteorology available each year in
the U.S., this is a great career path for those who love math and/or
science and want to help people to be safer and more prepared in their
What’s it take to become a meteorologist?
A strong high-school background in psychics and chemistry and a bachelor’s degree in atmospheric science, which many top colleges offer these days. (The American Metereology Society has information on accredited schools and their programs.) The largest employers of meteorologists in the States is the U.S. government, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the agencies of the federal government, specifically the National Weather Service and NASA, employ 37% of meteorologists.
There are three kinds of gigs a background in meteorology will get you: 1.) weather forecaster, 2.) atmospheric scientists and 3.) teacher. Weather forecasters and teachers definitely have a competitive job pool to contend with, while atmospheric researchers — who need advanced master’s and/or PhD degrees and the additional study of oceanography, geophysics, biology, and ecology to do their work — have many more positions to choose from and higher salaries as a result.
Meteorologists are very data analysts, regularly working with satellites, supercomputers, to compute and understand weather pattern data. Their research truly saves lives, particularly when it comes to forecasting major storms. Since, as the Commerce Secretary for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association Gary Locke pointed out last month, "35 million Americans live in regions most threatened by Atlantic hurricanes," meteorology is one of the most important science career paths a girl can take!
To learn more about the science and methods behind modern meteorology, check out this 7-minute-long NASA-produced video: