What Does a Meteorologist Study?

Meteorologists study the earth's atmospheric phenomena (primarily weather and climate) and the effects that these phenomena have on other environmental processes. Meteorologists use this information to predict weather patterns and also to focus on the relationship and impacts that the weather has on the lives of humans.

There are a number of different types of meteorologists, such as broadcast, forensic, climate, archive and research meteorologists, as well as those who teach the subject. Broadcast meteorologists predict the weather for the media, such as newspapers, radio and television.

However, not all of the people seen predicting the weather on television are actually meteorologists, as the American Meteorological Society has ruled that a person needs to have at least a bachelor's degree in meteorology or atmospheric science. The AMS's definition of a meteorologist is a person who uses science to understand, explain and predict atmospheric phenomena and how it affects the Earth and life on this planet.

If a person is predicting or giving out weather information but does not have the specialized education to be considered a meteorologist, that person is typically referred to as a weathercaster. Nonetheless, the predictions made by these weathercasters were most likely developed by a forecast meteorologist.