Atmospheric & Space Science

Atmospheric and Space Science - The Road Less Taken

  • Oct 17, 2021

Have you ever asked, "What can I do with a science degree?" Well, you're not alone. It's a common question we receive from high school students researching their career goals.

The answer is simple - In science, there is an extraordinary breadth of fields to study. While engineering and medical science are the most commonly chosen paths, you can also explore the fields of environmental science, life science, aviation, or atmospheric science - all of which will help you open up a world of scientific careers that you may not have even heard about in high school.

In this article, we shall focus on establishing a career as an atmospheric and space scientist. 

An atmospheric and space scientist analyses data from a variety of sources to make weather forecasts. They take their analysis and draft reports that advise others on the current weather and make weather predictions for the future. Those in this career may also be weather broadcasters and meteorologists.

Qualifications needed to become an atmospheric scientist

To become an atmospheric scientist, you would require a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field such as meteorology or atmospheric science. To work as an atmospheric researcher, you would need at least a master’s degree with some employers requiring a Ph.D. If you already have a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, physics, or engineering, you can become an atmospheric scientist by earning a master’s degree in atmospheric science as well.

Key responsibilities of atmospheric scientists

On the job, atmospheric scientists are required to broadcast weather forecasts, or issue warnings to the public using various mediums such as television, radio, or the internet, or provide this information to the news media. Further, they gather data from sources such as surface or upper air stations, satellites, weather bureaus, or radar for meteorological reports or forecasts. They also develop and use mathematical or computer models for weather forecasting.

If you have a sound knowledge of physics, geometry, maths, and statistics and possess good communication and problem-solving skills, this might be the right job for you! 

You can follow many career paths in atmospheric science.

Careers in atmospheric science

Atmospheric scientists who forecast weather and study the Earth’s temperature, humidity, and wind velocity are known as operational meteorologists. The findings of an operational meteorologist can help inform the general public with short-term weather announcements and can affect economic and safety measures, such as shipping or fishing.

Climatologists can study weather variations over long-term periods such as months, years, or centuries. Their work may include collecting and analyzing the records of region-specific temperatures or rainfall. A climatologist’s findings can affect how buildings are designed as well as how heating and cooling systems are planned and built.

Physical meteorologists can study the chemical and physical properties of the atmosphere such as light transmission and radio and sound waves. They may also study factors that affect cloud formation or other atmospheric phenomena. 

Environmental meteorologists study problems such as these and evaluate and report on them. The work of physical meteorologists and environmental meteorologists involves working exclusively in research. 

Workplace of an atmospheric scientist

Atmospheric and space scientists can work in a weather station, on the ground, or from an aircraft. They are also employed at radio or television stations where they may work from station studios while working nights and weekends. Atmospheric and space scientists who also work for private consulting firms or companies responsible for monitoring emissions for air quality may work with scientists and engineers while performing work on the field and traveling.

Due to changing weather conditions, most weather stations operate around the clock all week long. These hours require atmospheric and space scientists to work nights, weekends, and holidays, mostly on rotating shifts. Deadlines may also be a part of the job when weather emergencies occur. For atmospheric and space scientists not involved with forecasting, their hours may be more regular and their work may be confined to an office.

Do you want to know more about making the right choice for your college and career?
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