Mapping Your Future logo

Career Profile: Atmospheric and Space Scientists

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.

Salary and Outlook

According to the US Department of Labor, there are 10,700 people employed as atmospheric and space scientists in the United States. The median annual salary is $99,700. Entry level employees earn approximately $52,350 per year and senior employees earn approximately $153,150 per year.

Estimates do not include other potential benefits such as health insurance, overtime pay, or retirement benefits that may be offered by employers.

Job Duties

  • Apply meteorological knowledge to issues such as global warming, pollution control, or ozone depletion.
  • Perform managerial duties, such as creating work schedules, creating or implementing staff training, matching staff expertise to situations, or analyzing performance of offices.
  • Design or develop new equipment or methods for meteorological data collection, remote sensing, or related applications.
  • Measure wind, temperature, and humidity in the upper atmosphere, using weather balloons.
  • Direct forecasting services at weather stations or at radio or television broadcasting facilities.
  • Research the impact of industrial projects or pollution on climate, air quality, or weather phenomena.
  • Collect air samples from planes or ships over land or sea to study atmospheric composition.
  • Conduct wind assessment, integration, or validation studies.
  • Teach college-level courses on topics such as atmospheric and space science, meteorology, or global climate change.
  • Create visualizations to illustrate historical or future changes in the Earth's climate, using paleoclimate or climate geographic information systems (GIS) databases.
  • Estimate or predict the effects of global warming over time for specific geographic regions.
  • Prepare weather reports or maps for analysis, distribution, or use in weather broadcasts, using computer graphics.
  • 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.
  • Formulate predictions by interpreting environmental data, such as meteorological, atmospheric, oceanic, paleoclimate, climate, or related information.
  • Prepare forecasts or briefings to meet the needs of industry, business, government, or other groups.
  • Analyze historical climate information, such as precipitation or temperature records, to help predict future weather or climate trends.
  • 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.
  • Conduct meteorological research into the processes or determinants of atmospheric phenomena, weather, or climate.
  • Consult with other offices, agencies, professionals, or researchers regarding the use and interpretation of climatological information for weather predictions and warnings.
  • Prepare scientific atmospheric or climate reports, articles, or texts.
  • Speak to the public to discuss weather topics or answer questions.
  • Develop computer programs to collect meteorological data or to present meteorological information.
  • Develop and deliver training on weather topics.
  • 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.
  • Gather data from sources such as surface or upper air stations, satellites, weather bureaus, or radar for use in meteorological reports or forecasts.
  • Develop or use mathematical or computer models for weather forecasting.

Career List

Job Outlook


Total Current Jobs:
10,700
Annual Openings:
1,000
Increase in Openings by 2030:
8%
Annual Salary Range:
$52,350 - $153,150
Education Requirements:
Bachelor's degree