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Meteorologists forecast a healthy job market

Today's edition of the Boston Globe is running an article describing the bright future for forecasting. The article quotes several meteorologists in the Boston area, which the article calls ''the biggest city with the biggest weather challenges in the country,'' says Michaels. ''This is the meteorological Mecca.''

Other excerpts include:
"More meteorologists, about 850, work in Massachusetts than in any other state."

"The Bureau of Labor Statistics says median income for meteorologists was almost $71,000 last year as a result. The undergraduate meteorology degree often serves as a stepping stone to careers in atmospheric science and other fields."

"Still, meteorology is a small profession. UMass-Lowell [which has the oldest meteorology degree program in New England] graduates 7 to 12 a year, a number that hasn't changed much in the past 20 years, says Frank Colby, professor of meteorology in the Department of Environmental, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences.

Colby says there's 'certainly a wider diversity' in opportunities, however. 'The percentage of hiring is definitely greater in the private sector.'

'There's no question,' he says, that the uses of weather data 'have exploded, not only in sports, lightning prediction for golf courses, but also there are now companies that specialize in yacht races. Ten years ago there was nothing like that.'

Keith L. Seitter, executive director of the Boston-based American Meteorological Society [and former/adjunct UMass-Lowell professor], agrees.

'The area of growth has been in the private sector companies for two reasons. One is that these consulting areas have had continual growth,' he said. 'The other is that we can exploit the forecasting capabilities better now for areas that are weather- and climate-sensitive.

'Some are less obvious. There's a company that makes cushions for lawn chairs. They sell those cushions at Lowe's or Home Depot. They actually hired a consulting firm that gave them the forecast for upcoming weekends. They would use that forecast to predict which of the Lowe's or Home Depots across the country would have nice weather to send cushions. During a crummy weekend nobody would buy them.'

- Read the full article here -


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