Job Family: Engineering and Scientific Research Meteorological Specialists
Services Offering this Occupation
Army  | Navy  | Air Force  | Marine Corps  | Coast Guard

Photo 1: Specialist prepares weather balloon. Photo 2:
Technician sets up tactical weather observation system.

Short Description
Weather information is important for planning military operations. Accurate weather forecasts are needed to plan troop movements, airplane flights, and ship traffic. Meteorological specialists collect information about weather and sea conditions for use by meteorologists. They make visual observations and take readings from weather equipment, radar scans, and satellite photographs.

What They Do
Meteorological specialists in the military perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Launch weather balloons to record wind speed and direction
  • Identify the types of clouds present and estimate cloud height and amount of cloud cover
  • Take readings of barometric pressure, temperature, humidity, and sea conditions
  • Operate radio equipment to receive information from satellites
  • Plot weather information on maps and charts
  • Forecast weather based on readings and observations
  • Participate in the operation of a field artillery meteorological observation station

Helpful Attributes
Helpful school subjects include geography, mathematics, and physical science. Helpful attributes include:
  • Ability to communicate effectively
  • Interest in gathering and organizing information
  • Interest in learning how weather changes
  • Interest in working with formulas, tables, and graphs

Training Provided
Job training consists of classroom instruction. Training length varies depending on specialty. Advanced training in weather forecasting is available for some specialties. Course content typically includes:
  • Basic meteorology (study of weather) and oceanography (study of the ocean)
  • Methods for plotting weather data
  • Analyzing radar and satellite weather information
  • Preparation of weather reports

Work Environment
Meteorological specialists usually work in offices either on land or aboard ships. They work outdoors when making visual weather observations and launching weather balloons.

Civilian Counterparts
Civilian meteorological specialists work for government agencies (such as the U.S. Weather Service), commercial airlines, radio and television stations, and private weather forecasting firms. They perform duties similar to military meteorological specialists. Civilian meteorological specialists may also be called oceanographer assistants and weather clerks.

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