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Details for Atmospheric and Space Scientists


Investigate atmospheric phenomena and interpret meteorological data gathered by surface and air stations, satellites, and radar to prepare reports and forecasts for public and other uses.


  • Study and interpret data, reports, maps, photographs, and charts to predict long- and short-range weather conditions, using computer models and knowledge of climate theory, physics, and mathematics.
  • Broadcast weather conditions, forecasts, and severe weather warnings to the public via television, radio, and the Internet, and/or provide this information to the news media.
  • Gather data from sources such as surface and upper air stations, satellites, weather bureaus, and radar for use in meteorological reports and forecasts.
  • Prepare forecasts and briefings to meet the needs of industry, business, government, and other groups.
  • Apply meteorological knowledge to problems in areas including agriculture, pollution control, and water management, and to issues such as global warming or ozone depletion.
  • Conduct basic or applied meteorological research into the processes and determinants of atmospheric phenomena, weather, and climate.
  • Operate computer graphic equipment to produce weather reports and maps for analysis, distribution, or use in weather broadcasts.
  • Measure wind, temperature, and humidity in the upper atmosphere, using weather balloons.
  • Develop and use weather forecasting tools such as mathematical and computer models.
  • Direct forecasting services at weather stations, or at radio or television broadcasting facilities.
  • Research and analyze the impact of industrial projects and pollution on climate, air quality, and weather phenomena.
  • Collect air samples from planes and ships over land and sea to study atmospheric composition.
  • Conduct numerical simulations of climate conditions in order to understand and predict global and regional weather patterns.
  • Collect and analyze historical climate information such as precipitation and temperature records in order to help predict future weather and climate trends.
  • Consult with agencies, professionals, or researchers regarding the use and interpretation of climatological information.
  • Make scientific presentations, and publish reports, articles, or texts.
  • Design and develop new equipment and methods for meteorological data collection, remote sensing, or related applications.
  • Teach at colleges or universities.


  • Realistic - Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
  • Investigative - Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
  • Social - Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.
  • Conventional - Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Education, Training, Experience

  • Education - Most of these occupations require a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.
  • Training - Employees in these occupations usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.
  • Experience - A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, an accountant must complete four years of college and work for several years in accounting to be considered qualified.



  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Mathematics - Using mathematics to solve problems.
  • Science - Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Active Learning - Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Instructing - Teaching others how to do something.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Systems Analysis - Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.

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Wages for this career
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