Predict the Future: Climatologist
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Climatologists study climate conditions averaged over a period of time. They use climate models for a variety of purposes, from the study of the dynamics of the weather and climate system to projections of future climate. In contrast to meteorology, which focuses on short term weather systems lasting up to a few weeks, climatology studies the frequency and trends of those systems. Climatology considers the past and can help predict future climate change.

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Climatologists need to have a strong background in mathematics and science. In fact, a bachelor’s degree in mathematics provides excellent preparation for graduate study in climatology. Climatologists often pursue higher education by obtaining a master’s degree and a Ph.D.

Math Required: 

College Algebra Trigonometry Calculus I, II, III Probability and Statistics Linear Algebra Ordinary Differential Equations Partial Differential Equations Complex Analysis Numerical Methods

When Math Is Used: 

A climatologist uses mathematical skills in collecting climate data, investigating climate indicators, and making predictions regarding climate patterns. They may use computer models to study how Earth's climate changes with time, and sophisticated computer software programs that assist them in modeling the Earth's climate and check that data against known information. They conduct research to determine if humans are affecting Earth's present and future climate.

Potential Employers: 

About 37 percent of atmospheric scientists are employed by the Federal Government; most of these work in the National Weather Service. Others worked for professional, scientific, and technical services firms, including private weather consulting services; radio and television broadcasting; air carriers; and State government.


Climatologists are able to study and research special occurrences of the Earth’s climate. For example, in 1995 climatologists declared that year “the hottest year on record.” Four years later, the 1990s were confirmed as the hottest decade in 1,000 years.


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Salary figures from
the current US Bureau of Labor of Statistics website and represent the
90th percentile.

The most common question students ask math teachers at every level is “When will I use math?” is a non-profit website that helps to answer this question. This website describes the importance of mathematics and many rewarding career opportunities available to students who study mathematics.



Figures represent salary potential.


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