What Does a Marine Meteorologist Do?

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  • Written By: K. Kinsella
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 03 December 2019
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A marine meteorologist studies the atmospheric conditions around oceans and other bodies of water. Many of the people employed in this field work for television networks and other broadcasters while others are employed by government agencies. Typically, a marine meteorologist must have completed a college degree and some of the people involved in the field have also taken postgraduate degree courses.

Colleges and other higher educational establishments offer undergraduate degree courses in meteorology. Students learn about weather patterns, atmospheric pressure and the impact that atmospheric activity can have on the Earth. Aside from general meteorology programs, some universities also offer courses that are specifically designed to prepare people to work in marine meteorology. Additionally, some colleges offer postgraduate courses that cover certain components of the field such as chemical oceanography or marine physics. People who work as broadcast weather presenters normally have general meteorology degrees while people who conduct government-funded research often have Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degrees in the subject.


Television stations and radio networks based in coastal regions often employ a marine meteorologist who is responsible for preparing both short-term and long-term weather forecasts. Local business owners and tourists rely on these forecasts when making travel plans or arranging outdoor events. Additionally, people often check the marine forecast before embarking on fishing trips or heading to the cost to take part in ocean based activities such as sailing or windsurfing. School districts sometimes rely on local weather forecasts when making decisions about closing schools due to inclement weather.

A marine meteorologist employed by a government agency essentially prepares the same kind of weather forecasts as a television weather presenter. Despite the similarity between the two roles, government employees review atmospheric data for business and political reasons rather than to provide travelers with an insight into the week's weather. Major storm systems such as hurricanes and cyclones can cause devastation in coastal areas; government meteorologists are responsible for detecting and tracking these weather systems. Charts are prepared that detail the likely path of major storm systems and coastguards and other emergency responders often evacuate coastal areas as a result of these forecasts.

The military also employ marine meteorologists and these individuals provide members of the armed forces with important information during wartime. Bad weather could delay the movement of a fleet so commanders adjust their planning to try to avoid storms. In other instances, military commanders may take advantage of cloud cover during a storm system to launch a coastal invasion.


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