How to Be a Climatologist

A climatologist studies climates, but not like a meteorologist predicting the weather. Instead, the climatologist looks at what the climate is doing long-term. By observing and analyzing, this scientist can predict what will happen to the environment. So shouldn't be any surprise that it is climatologists who learned and alerted the rest of the population to the global warming of the planet. Learning how to be a climatologist is an appropriate goal for someone interested in the environment.

Steps

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    Become familiar with other names climatology studies fall under. Although a college degree is necessary, most colleges don't offer a "climatology" degree. Instead, climatology courses are offered through other degree programs.
    • Atmospheric science programs, the study of the atmosphere, might be the closest match to climatology.
    • Other majors that include climatology studies are environmental science, earth science, oceanography, hydrology, geography and meteorology.
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    Find a university program that offers coursework in the study of climates. In 2009, the American Meteorological Society stated that there were only about 100 atmospheric science programs for the undergraduate or the graduate student.
    • If an atmospheric science program isn't convenient for you, look into meteorology programs that offer a focus in another field.
    • Another option is earning two bachelor degrees in the fields that interest you the most.
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    Plan on an undergraduate program that has a strong emphasis on physical and biological sciences. The U.S. government, the largest employer of climatologists, suggests:
    • 24 hours of meteorology or atmospheric science courses
    • 3 hours ordinary differential equations
    • 6 hours of college physics or 9 hours of physical sciences, including chemistry
    • Statistics and computer science are also recommended. Statistics is helpful in computing and analyzing data, and many climatologists are running models on supercomputers.
    • Good oral and written communication skills are important in most careers. Composition, grammar and literature courses can aid in these skills.
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    Pursue an advanced degree. Opportunities for climatologists are limited with only a bachelor's degree. A master's degree is required for many positions and a Ph.D. is necessary in order to do research.
    • Decide on an emphasis to pursue in a graduate program. For example, if you're interested in how climate changes are affecting agriculture, you can pursue a master's degree in agriculture.
    • Check out graduate schools to learn what fields of research are being pursued.
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    Apply for an internship or a job while still in college. As stated previously, the federal government is the largest employer mainly through the National Weather Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
    • The Department of Defense also employs people with a background in atmospheric science.
    • Universities and private industry make up the remainder of the employers.

Tips

  • The American Meteorological Society (AMS) and the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) provide an online list of schools with atmospheric science programs.

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Categories: Environmental Awareness