A climatologist is a professional career within the field of space and atmospheric sciences. Climatologists study climates, or weather conditions in a given area, by examining data gathered from satellites. Changes within the atmosphere are observed by climatologists to make weather predictions. Reports are prepared in order to give forecasts of upcoming weather conditions that may pose a threat to the public within a geographical region. Atmospheric phenomena are the primary focus of a climatologist.
Climatologists collect and analyze data regarding climate conditions and use computer models to create short-range and long-range forecasts. They interpret data from weather bureaus and prepare presentations for businesses and government agencies. Climatologists are also involved in research to determine human beings' effect on the Earth's climate and make predictions about how it will change in the future. They use computer graphic programs to create maps, charts and simulations of atmospheric conditions. Some climatologists also teach at universities.
Skills and Abilities
Climatologists must be very skilled in critical thinking and reading comprehension in order to interpret data regarding atmospheric conditions. An extensive knowledge of science, math, geography and physics is essential for this career. The ability to communicate effectively is important to be able to present scientific findings to government agencies such as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The ability to use deductive and inductive reasoning is also important in analyzing weather patterns and making accurate forecasts. Climatologists need to be able to easily read charts and graphs and apply the information to their surroundings.
You can prepare for a career in climatology by taking science and math courses in high school. NASA recommends that a climatologist take college coursework in physics, geography, computers and statistics to prepare for this career. A bachelor’s degree in atmospheric science or meteorology from an accredited university is required to become a climatologist. In order to conduct professional research, a doctorate is preferable but a master's degree is required.
The median annual salary for a climatologist is approximately $88,010 at the time of publication. The median hourly wage is approximately $42.31.