Careers in weather, climate & water

What meteorologist and hydrologists do, and how to get a job as one

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Do you enjoy mathematics, science and geography?

Are you interested in weather and climate change?

Consider a career in meteorology or hydrology.

A scientist taking ice samples

Meteorology uses physics, mathematics and chemistry to understand the atmosphere and its phenomena, including weather and climate.

No one can really claim to be the first meteorologist. Predicting the weather has always been essential to humanity's survival.

Long before modern science, watching the sky and other methods like observing the flight of birds were ways of predicting the weather.

As societies developed, however, humans began to study the weather and seasonal changes in the wind (such as the monsoon), which were essential for travel or trade and their subsistence.

Records of early civilizations contain innumerable references to weather and climate. It was not until 1657, however, that Grand Duke of Tuscany Ferdinand II di Medici established the first recorded international meteorological network. His Accademia del Cimento set up seven weather stations in Italy, and one each in France, Germany, Poland and Switzerland.

Related links:
A world of weather video

© Photodiem A hydrologist takes water samples

Hydrology is the study of water on Earth – its quantity and its quality, where it is and how it moves.

Hydrologists are scientists, engineers, or professionals who monitor, manage and protect our water resources.

  • They help find water sources for cities or farms.
  • They analyze water quality to make sure the water is safe for people and the environment.
  • They are there after an oil spill or chemical leak to help clean up the pollution.
  • They help prevent rivers from flooding.
  • And so on.

The work of a hydrologist is as varied as there are sources and uses of water.

Do you know anyone who is a hydrologist?  Write about what they do and add it to the stories page.

Related links:
UN Water
World Water Day


© Deutscher Wetterdienst (DWD) Weather forecasting

To become a meteorologist, the basic requirement is to earn a university degree in meteorology or atmospheric sciences. Another option would be a university degree in mathematics, physical sciences or engineering supplemented by courses in meteorology.

To be a hydrologist also requires a minimum of a bachelor’s degree – either directly in hydrology, or in water resources science, geoscience, natural science or engineering.

Teaching, research or management positions in meteorology or hydrology usually require postgraduate degrees.

Meteorological technicians, who may not possess an academic degree, are generally responsible for collecting data and reporting weather observations. They can qualify through technical-level courses that last from a few months to one or two years, depending on the envisaged work.

If you would like to become a television weather presenter, then journalism and communication courses are necessary in addition to a good knowledge of atmospheric physics and chemistry. These are but a few examples of possible careers in meteorology.

Other related careers include: environmental engineer, water resources engineer, conservation scientist, climate change analyst.

A career in meteorology [PDF]

Related links:
The highs and lows of being a flight meteorologist