Atmospheric and Space Scientists

Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics > Science and Mathematics

Projected Growth: Faster than average

Projected Job Openings

Considerable Preparation Needed

Job Description

Your job is to Investigate atmospheric phenomena and interpret meteorological data, gathered by surface and air stations, satellites, and radar to prepare reports and forecasts for public and other uses. Includes weather analysts and forecasters whose functions require the detailed knowledge of meteorology.

Common job titles of Atmospheric and Space Scientists include:

Experience and Education

A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for this occupation. For example, a person in this occupation must complete four years of college and work for several years in industry to be considered qualified.

  • 50% said they needed a Bachelor's Degree.

  • 30% said they needed a Master's Degree.


    Interpret data, reports, maps, photographs, or charts to predict long- or short-range weather conditions, using computer models and knowledge of climate theory, physics, and mathematics.

    Develop or use mathematical or computer models for weather forecasting.

    Prepare forecasts or briefings to meet the needs of industry, business, government, or other groups.

    Gather data from sources such as surface or upper air stations, satellites, weather bureaus, or radar for use in meteorological reports or forecasts.

    Formulate predictions by interpreting environmental data, such as meteorological, atmospheric, oceanic, paleoclimate, climate, or related information.

    Conduct meteorological research into the processes or determinants of atmospheric phenomena, weather, or climate.

    Prepare weather reports or maps for analysis, distribution, or use in weather broadcasts, using computer graphics.

    Broadcast weather conditions, forecasts, or severe weather warnings to the public via television, radio, or the Internet or provide this information to the news media.

    Direct forecasting services at weather stations or at radio or television broadcasting facilities.

    Measure wind, temperature, and humidity in the upper atmosphere, using weather balloons.

    Collect air samples from planes or ships over land or sea to study atmospheric composition.

    Develop and deliver training on weather topics.

    Apply meteorological knowledge to issues such as global warming, pollution control, or ozone depletion.

    Consult with other offices, agencies, professionals, or researchers regarding the use and interpretation of climatological information for weather predictions and warnings.

    Analyze climate data sets, using techniques such as geophysical fluid dynamics, data assimilation, or numerical modeling.

    Conduct numerical simulations of climate conditions to understand and predict global or regional weather patterns.

    Develop computer programs to collect meteorological data or to present meteorological information.

    Speak to the public to discuss weather topics or answer questions.

    Research the impact of industrial projects or pollution on climate, air quality, or weather phenomena.

    Prepare scientific atmospheric or climate reports, articles, or texts.

    Analyze historical climate information, such as precipitation or temperature records, to help predict future weather or climate trends.

    Teach college-level courses on topics such as atmospheric and space science, meteorology, or global climate change.

    Perform managerial duties, such as creating work schedules, creating or implementing staff training, matching staff expertise to situations, or analyzing performance of offices.

    Conduct wind assessment, integration, or validation studies.

    Design or develop new equipment or methods for meteorological data collection, remote sensing, or related applications.

    Estimate or predict the effects of global warming over time for specific geographic regions.

    Create visualizations to illustrate historical or future changes in the Earth's climate, using paleoclimate or climate geographic information systems (GIS) databases.


Whirling hygrometers

Weather observation stations

Weather balloons

Two way radios

Tipping bucket rain gauges

Temperature and humidity data loggers

Surface temperature probes

All Tools

Storm chase vehicles


Soil temperature probes

Relative humidity gauges

Rain gauges

Radiosonde launchers


Personal computers

Next Generation Weather Radar NEXRAD

Mercury barometers

Light meters

Laptop computers


Graphic tablets

Doppler radar equipment

Digital anemometers

Desktop computers

Analog anemometers

Air temperature thermometers

Air quality samplers


IBM SPSS Statistics

Practical extraction and reporting language Perl

AccuWeather Galileo

Advanced Visual Systems AVS/Express

Air quality modeling software

Aninoquisi MesoTRAC

Apple Final Cut Pro

All Technologies

Baron Services FasTrac

Baron Volumetric Imaging and Processing of Integrated Radar VIPIR


Cisco IOS

Environmental Research Services RAOB

ESRI ArcView


Flow Analysis Software Toolkit FAST

Grid analysis and display system GrADS

Image editing software

Interactive radar analysis software IRAS

ITT Visual Information Solutions ENVI

Lakes Environmental Software WRPLOT View

Maplesoft Maple

Mesoscale modeling software

Microsoft Paint

PC Weather Products HURRTRAK

Quark Xpress


Social media sites

Software development tools



Systat Software SigmaPlot

Systat Software SigmaStat

Unidata GEMPAK

Unidata Gempak Analysis and Rendering Program GARP

Unidata Integrated Data Viewer IDV

Unidata McIDAS-X


VorTek Site Assessment of Tornado Threat SATT

Wind flow modeling software


Wolfram Research Mathematica

WSI Titan

WSI TrueView Professional


Reading Comprehension

Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Active Listening

Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.


Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.


Talking to others to convey information effectively.


Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.

Critical Thinking

Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Judgment and Decision Making

Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Active Learning

Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.

Complex Problem Solving

Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

Systems Analysis

Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.

Learning Strategies

Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.

Social Perceptiveness

Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.


Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.


Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.


Teaching others how to do something.

Service Orientation

Actively looking for ways to help people.

Time Management

Managing one's own time and the time of others.


Using mathematics to solve problems.


Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.


Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.


Listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.

Cognitive Abilities › Verbal Abilities › Oral Comprehension

Read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.

Cognitive Abilities › Verbal Abilities › Written Comprehension

Communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.

Cognitive Abilities › Verbal Abilities › Oral Expression

Communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.

Cognitive Abilities › Verbal Abilities › Written Expression

Speak clearly so others can understand you.

Auditory and Speech Abilities › Sensory Abilities › Speech Clarity

Tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.

Cognitive Abilities › Idea Generation and Reasoning Abilities › Problem Sensitivity

Apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.

Cognitive Abilities › Idea Generation and Reasoning Abilities › Deductive Reasoning

Combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).

Cognitive Abilities › Idea Generation and Reasoning Abilities › Inductive Reasoning

See details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).

Sensory Abilities › Visual Abilities › Near Vision

Identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.

Cognitive Abilities › Perceptual Abilities › Flexibility of Closure

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