Meteorologist Lesson for Kids: Definition & Facts

Instructor: Elizabeth Hance

Elizabeth has taught elementary and middle school special education, and has a master's degree in reading education.

In this lesson you will learn about a scientist who has a very important job: a meteorologist. Meteorologists use special tools and their knowledge and training to predict and understand the weather.

What is a Meteorologist?

Have you ever wished that you could predict the future? Well, that is exactly what meteorologists try to do every day when they go to work. If you have ever watched a weather forecast on television or listened to a weather update on the radio, you have seen a meteorologist at work.

Meteorologists have advanced training that helps them understand the atmosphere and weather
weather specialist

Specifically, meteorologists study the atmosphere, the air around our planet. They use tools and observations to understand the earth's atmosphere and to forecast or predict how the earth's atmosphere will interact with and affect life on our planet. On a daily level, these scientists help us decide whether we need to bring an umbrella for an afternoon rain shower. On a larger scale, meteorologists can help understand the impact and likelihood of larger weather events like hurricanes, tornadoes, or floods.

Jobs

You have probably seen a 'weather person' on television, standing in front of a colorful map, and telling you what the temperatures and likelihood of rain or snow will be for the next few days. Television and radio weather broadcasters are just one job that meteorologists might hold.

The government is one of the largest employers of meteorologists. Many of these scientists work for the military in both the Air Force and the Navy. Others are employed by government sectors that need to understand the impact of the atmosphere on energy and agriculture. Many meteorologists are working with the federal government to better understand climate change and its impact on our world.

Extreme Weather

One essential job of a meteorologist is to predict and understand extreme and dangerous weather. Scientists can use many tools to predict when and where dangerous weather may strike, so that people can be prepared and safe.

Meteorologists can use current weather patterns and trends to figure out when tornadoes are most likely to strike. Individuals called storm spotters are trained to notice the weather conditions that lead to tornadoes and report them to the weather service. They also use radar to tell when a tornado might develop.

A hurricane shows up on weather satellites
hurricane satellite

Winter weather warnings are also a very important part of meteorologists' jobs. Snow and freezing rain can be difficult to predict because just small changes in temperature can mean the difference between rain and snow. Meteorologists pay attention to temperatures, moisture in the air, and the interaction between warm and cooler air.

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