What they do

Meteorologists predict short and long term weather conditions based on the collection and analysis of atmospheric data. They collect information at fixed times from sources such as observation stations, ships and aircraft, satellites and radar stations. They study the physical dynamics of the earth, its oceans and any relevant atmospheric occurences to provide forecasts, warnings and other information and advice to the public, the media, the Australian defence force and to the aviation industry. Meteorologists also study climatic conditions with an aim of identifying climate change, and compiling data for further research into the ways it affects our weather.

Working conditions

Meteorologists usually work for the Bureau of Meteorology, but may also work for the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), for universities, state government bodies concerned with environmental policy, or private companies. In Western Australia meteorologists usually work in the Perth regional forecasting centre of the Bureau of Meteorology, but may also work at airports, RAAF bases or in remote areas such as the Kimberley and Pilbara regions collecting diverse atmospheric and climatic data. Meteorologists may even work in Antarctica. They usually work regular hours, but may be required to work odd hours if they are working in the field.

Tools and technologies

Meteorologists work mostly on computers, using specialised computer programs that collect and interpret synoptic, dynamic and physical meteorological information. They may also use other programs that undertake climatology, oceanography, satellite or radar data interpretation, or numerical weather prediction. They use radar technology to obtain weather data, computerised drawing tablets to interpret this data, and weather charts, maps and graphs which they consult and interpret.

How do I become one?

Education and training

To become a meteorologist you usually need to study a degree in science, majoring in mathematics and/or physics.

Most universities in Western Australia offer relevant courses. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.

Following your undergraduate studies, you could apply for the Bureau of Meteorology’s graduate program. Entrants into the graduate program complete the nine-month Graduate Diploma in Meteorology at the Bureau of Meteorology Training Centre in Melbourne. Contact the Bureau of Meteorology for more information.