What Does a Chief Meteorologist Do?

A chief meteorologist is in charge of weather forecasting for an employer such as a news organization, a government agency, or another organization concerned with climate change. This usually necessitates a master’s degree in meteorology, as well as prior experience with weather forecasting and related tasks. It can help to be a member of professional meteorological organizations and to have a track record of publication credits and other professional accomplishments. For chief positions, employers may prefer candidates with strong track records, and in some cases, recruit from within promoting an existing staff meteorologist who is familiar with the company’s standards and practices.

This job title is particularly common at news organizations, which keep a chief meteorologist on staff to provide regular weather forecasting and updates to the public. Reviewing weather data, making predictions, and providing broadcast information to customers are all part of the job. This can include live television presentations with graphics, which may require collaboration with another presenter on a large station. Other staff members, such as administrative support, some broadcasts, and forecast development, can be overseen chief meteorologists.

The chief meteorologist at government agencies and other organizations that need to plan activities based on weather prediction primarily focuses on preparing internal reports for the organization. Short and long-term forecasts, discussions of weather trends, and reviews of major weather events are all possible. For an airline, for example, the chief meteorologist can assist with severe weather planning to keep planes on schedule and to ground planes when conditions are no longer safe to fly.

Some organizations may make reports from their chief meteorologist available to subscribers or the general public. Agricultural insurance agencies, for example, may provide internal reports to their policyholders so they are aware of impending weather issues. Similarly, government agencies may have a public duty to make weather information, warnings, and advice available to the public. Although the chief meteorologist may not personally prepare all of these publications, he or she oversees the development and distribution of them.

Depending on the position, good communication skills for members of the general public who may not understand advanced science as well as a thorough understanding of weather topics may be required. A chief meteorologist also supervises other employees, and good management and people skills are required to keep everyone on track. Attending conferences to make professional connections, exchange information about the profession, and learn about new trends can be part of the job.