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What Does an Environmental Meteorologist Do?

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  • Written By: K. Kinsella
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 18 September 2014
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An environmental meteorologist studies weather patterns and the impact that atmospheric conditions and weather systems have on human habitats and the environment as a whole. Government agencies and research companies employ large numbers of environmental meteorologists many of whom are concerned with exploring evidence of climate change. Typically, people employed in this field have completed college degree programs in meteorology, Earth sciences or similar topics.

Climate change can cause weather patterns to change and this can lead to events such as hurricanes, floods, droughts and ice storms becoming more common. An environmental meteorologist is typically tasked with examining historical weather data and looking for evidence of such change. Some of these professionals examine temperature charts to see whether average temperatures have risen or fallen over time while others review data related to average rainfall, humidity levels or wind speed. In many instances, such studies focus on decades or centuries since general trends are not always apparent over shorter periods of time.

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Some people believe that certain types of emissions such as those produced by aerosols or gasoline powered cars release chemicals into the atmosphere that can contribute to climate change. In many nations, government agencies employ scientists to study the impact of man-made pollution; an environmental meteorologist may be asked to track weather changes in relation to industrialization as a whole or in relation to the use of certain chemicals in particular areas. The studies that these scientists produce are often looked at in conjunction with reports produced by chemists and other individuals who study chemical processes and the impact that substances can have on the environment.

While some people in this field are tasked with finding links between pollution and climate change, others attempt to disprove such notions. Major energy firms employ meteorologists who are responsible for determining whether climate change is due to factors out of human control such as solar flares or sun spot activity. These individuals often produce reports that cover weather activity over periods of thousands of years to show that weather extremes occurred before industrialization.

Like most scientists, an environmental meteorologist is primarily concerned with producing and testing theories and regardless of the causes for weather fluctuations, many people employed in this field are responsible for producing weather forecasts. These professional review satellite data and recent atmospheric information to produce predictions about upcoming weather activity. Such reports can prove crucial in coastal areas because residents get advanced warnings about major storm systems, while other people use these reports as the basis for planning outdoor activities.

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