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Difference Between Climatologist & Meteorologist

Climatologists and meteorologists both work in the field of atmospheric science. However, the careers of meteorologists and climatologists can be quite different. Read on, to learn about the differences between the two careers.

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Comparing Climatologists to Meteorologists

Climatologists and meteorologists are related careers in atmospheric science, and professionals in both fields likely have education in both climatology and meteorology. Climatologists focus on the long-term implications of weather patterns and climate shifts, while meteorologists focus more on the short-term implications of weather and the atmosphere.

Job Title Education Requirements Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2014-2024)*
Climatologists Bachelor's Degree $92,460 for (for all atmospheric scientists) 12% (for all atmospheric scientists)
Meteorologists Bachelor's Degree $92,460 (for all atmospheric scientists) 12% (for all atmospheric scientists)

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Responsibilities of Climatologists vs. Meteorologists

Climatologists and meteorologists are both considered atmospheric scientists. The use of data and statistics is important to each of these professions. Climatologists research to learn about the climate in history and also attempt to predict future climates. Meteorologists offer predictions of short-term weather for everyday living. While most research meteorologists and climatologists perform their jobs 'behind the scenes,' broadcast meteorologists work in the public eye to inform viewers.

Climatologist

Climatologists have a variety of career options. Some are university professors who teach and/or complete research. Other sub-fields of climatology include paleoclimatology, bioclimatology, and synoptic climatology. Climatologists study the effect of climate on many things, including the earth, humans, industry, crime, and leisure.

Job responsibilities of a climatologist include:

  • Use statistical methods in research
  • Study what phenomena affect climate
  • Make climate predictions
  • Study the history of climate
  • Report on the possible results of pollution on climate change
  • May work in the field to collect samples

Meteorologist

Meteorologists are responsible for short-term weather predictions and offer advice during natural disasters. Many meteorologists work in the media as television or radio personalities who forecast weather on local and national news stations, or they might work for websites that provide weather forecasts. Many meteorologists conduct research studies and collect data to assist with the understanding of weather and the atmosphere. Some are employed by the U.S. National Weather Service to provide severe weather warnings for citizens.

Job responsibilities of a meteorologist include:

  • Make weather forecasts for the public
  • Study how various aspects of weather work, including temperature, pressure, wind, and humidity
  • Study and predict meteorological natural disasters such as hurricanes and tornadoes
  • Make industry-specific weather forecasts
  • Investigate the role of weather in unusual events for forensics purposes
  • Develop new forecasting software

Related Careers

If you are interested in the job of a meteorologist, you might want to find out about becoming a geographer, who may also study natural phenomena on the earth. Those who like the aspects of studying and producing maps in climatology might be interested in becoming a cartographer, who makes maps and globes.

Become a Geographer: Education and Career Information

Career Information for a Degree in Cartography

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