Weather Forecasting

Is there a difference between a meteorologist and a weatherman?
Answered by HowStuffWorks
  • HowStuffWorks

    HowStuffWorks

  1. Although many people assume that meteorologists and TV weather anchors are two sides of the same coin, this is not necessarily true. Both occupations involve reporting on and predicting weather patterns, but a meteorologist is a scientist with a degree related to atmospheric science or meteorology; weather anchors do not necessarily require this level of education to do their jobs.

    There are more than 14,000 members of the American Meteorological Society, although some are students and weather enthusiasts [source: AMS]. Meteorologists usually have a bachelor's or master's degree from a university; their degrees most often are in physics, chemistry, mathematics or related science fields. Atmospheric science combines one of the physical sciences with the study of the Earth's atmosphere. A meteorologist who wants to work in television broadcasting may become certified by the society's Certified Broadcast Meteorologist program.

    Meteorologists do more than predict weather; they also work in fields such as oceanic and atmospheric research, developing technology for meteorology or in information services consumers and industries that rely on weather can use. There is even a forensic services field in which meteorologists reconstruct weather conditions for locations as expert witnesses. Many meteorologists -- about one-third of them -- work for the federal government [source: BLS].

    Weathercasters typically have journalism degrees or backgrounds. They have to audition for their jobs to show that they can present well before the cameras. There may be overlap (many weather anchors are indeed meteorologists), but there is no direct correlation between the two occupations aside from the information they work with -- weathercasters are journalists who report on information generated by meteorologists.

    Regardless of whether your local weathercaster is a meteorologist or simply reports on the forecast, one thing is clear: When the forecast is off, we're quick with blame, but weathermen say they sometimes get credit for sunny days too [source: Pittsburgh Live].

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