×

More help, more resources, more learning.

KidsGeo.com will be joining the Education.com family!

We're so excited to continue to grow and support the parents and teachers championing children's education.
Read press release
KidsKnowIt Network is now part of Education.com!

Meteorology

Meteorology is the study of how our atmosphere changes over time. It focuses mostly on weather patterns and climate. One of the main challenges of meteorology is predicting how the weather will behave on any given day. This is forecasting. In addition, meteorology looks at the structure of our atmosphere and its different parts.
An engineer uses meteorological instruments to track weather patterns.
 

What is Meteorology About?

Meteorology is the science of weather and climate. It tries to figure out why certain weather patterns occur. Just as well, it has to forecast when they’ll happen again.
 

Weather

To predict the weather, meteorologists have to keep track of many different things. Weather is basically the result of how gases move through our atmosphere. So, meteorologists are concerned with anything which influences their movement. This includes humidity, air pressure, and weather fronts.
 

Climate

Understanding climate is another job altogether. Climate is the result of how heat and water are distributed across the Earth. Meteorologists study what causes their uneven distribution.
 
In doing so, they might team up with other kinds of scientists. Ecologists can help them to understand how life on Earth shapes our atmosphere. Astronomers study other planets’ climates and compare them with the Earth’s.

An illustration of a global map with temperatures marked.

Uneven temperatures across the world contribute to climate.

Other Atmospheric Effects

Additionally, this science helps us to understand long-term changes in our atmosphere. For example, it was a group of meteorologists who discovered the hole in the ozone layer.
 

Applications

Meteorology is one of the most useful sciences. Just about everyone on Earth is affected by the weather! So, knowing how it works is essential to our daily lives.
 
One major use for meteorology is in air travel. Plane pilots have to know where to fly so that they don’t get caught in bad weather.
 
Another use is in producing renewable energy. Most types of renewable energy rely on a location’s climate. Solar panels need lots of sunlight, windmills need lots of wind, etc. Meteorologists help us decide if they’re even worth building in a certain location.
 
An image showing solar panels set up on top of a house.

Solar panels. They aren’t very useful in cloudy areas

 

Weather Forecasting

Next, the single most important use for meteorology is in weather forecasting. Weather forecasting affects pretty much every activity on the planet. If we know that it’s rainy, we’ll change what we wear and where we go. If it’s snowy, we might not leave our home at all! These are everyday examples. But, even the government changes its plans according to the weather.
 
Importantly, weather forecasting is also used to predict some natural disasters. It tells us when violent storms, hurricanes, or tornadoes will strike. People can avoid these disasters if they know they’re coming ahead of time. In this way, meteorology saves a lot of lives!

An image of a typhoon on Earth, seen from space.

Meteorologists can help us find out when and where hurricanes will strike.

Meteorology Jobs

Because meteorology is so widely used today, there are tons of jobs in the field. One common one is to work for a TV station which shows the weather. Another job would be to work in agriculture. Meteorologists help farmers decide how to protect their crops between seasons.
 

Research Meteorologist

There is one job that most directly uses the science of meteorology. It’s research meteorologist. Research meteorologists do experiments about weather. Weather forecasting isn’t perfect. Sometimes, as you may have experienced, our predictions are wrong. Yet, by further studying weather, we can make them more accurate.

An image of a couple having a picnic in the rain, under an umbrella.

It really stinks when bad weather surprises us. Meteorologists work to prevent this.

 
One thing research meteorologists study a lot are weather cells. Weather cells are patterns in our atmosphere. They control the direction that heat and wind move. By mapping them out, we can predict how the weather ought to behave in certain areas. 
 
Another big part of meteorology is long-term changes in our atmosphere. As the Earth warms, weather is changing across the globe. Meteorologists help us understand why as well as what to do about it. 

Other Great Resources:

Career Options For Meteorologistshttps://www.nssl.noaa.gov/people/jobs/careers.php

NASA Video on Meteorology: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrD2jJeMCVs

Meteorology Facts by Kiddle: https://kids.kiddle.co/Meteorology

Becoming a Meteorologist – Weather Wiz Kids: http://www.weatherwizkids.com/career-becoming-meteorologist.htm

 

Written by: Noah Louis-Ferdinand