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What Does a Chief Meteorologist Do?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 22 November 2016
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A chief meteorologist oversees weather prediction activities for an employer like a media outlet, government agency, or other organization with an interest in climate conditions. This usually requires an advanced degree in meteorology along with experience in weather prediction and related tasks. It can help to belong to professional organizations of meteorologists, and to have a history of publication credits and other professional accomplishments. Employers may prefer candidates with excellent records for chief roles, and in some cases recruit from within to promote an existing staff meteorologist who will be familiar with the organization’s standards and practices.

This job title is especially common at media agencies, where a chief meteorologist is kept on staff to provide regular weather forecasting and updates to the public. The job includes reviewing weather information, making predictions, and providing broadcast information to customers. This can include live presentations with graphics on television, which may involve working with another presenter on a large station. Chief meteorologists can also oversee other staff members who may work on tasks like administrative support, some broadcasts, and the development of forecasts.

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At government agencies and other organizations with weather prediction needs to plan activities, the chief meteorologist primarily focuses on preparing internal reports for the organization. These can include short and long-term forecasts, discussion of weather trends, and reviews of major weather events. For an organization like an airline, for example, the chief meteorologist can help with severe weather planning to help planes remain on schedule and to ground aircraft when it is no longer appropriate to fly.

Some organizations may release reports from a chief meteorologist for the benefit of subscribing members or the public. For example, insurance agencies that offer agricultural insurance products may provide internal reports so their policyholders are aware of upcoming weather issues. Likewise, government agencies may have a public responsibility to publish weather information, warnings, and advice. The chief meteorologist may not personally prepare all these publications, but supervises staff involved in their development and distribution.

Depending on where someone works, the job can require a mixture of good communication skills for members of the general public who may not understand advanced science as well as a thorough grounding in weather topics. A chief meteorologist also oversees other staff members and needs good management and people skills to keep people working smoothly together. The work can include attending conferences to build professional connections, exchange information about the profession, and learn about new trends.

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