How To Become A Meteorologist
The term Weather Expert currently being used in Malawi in
referring to the weatherman is not a widely used name, but
was coined here in Malawi by the mass media according to the
way they look at the people who do weather forecasting. The
profession of monitoring and understanding weather and
climate forecasts is formally called Meteorology. The
men and women behind the profession are formally called
2. Definition of Meteorology
The word meteorology is derived from the Greek word meteors,
meaning lofty or elevated and logos meaning study or
learning. Meteorology therefore means the study of that
which takes place in the atmosphere and underlying surface.
3. How does one become a Meteorologist?
From the definition, meteorology is a science of the
atmosphere and so the prerequisite for the job is a flare
for science. A good combination of Mathematics and Physics
is the main prerequisite for the job.
There are three levels of entry into the profession.
Straight from secondary school, someone with Mathematics and
Physical Science at Junior Certificate or Malawi School
Certificate of Education (MSCE) level is recruited as a
weather observer. This is the person who is responsible for
weather monitoring, a function which is an indispensable
input into weather forecasting. On recruitment the person is
given a six-month training in meteorological observations,
coding, plotting, data collection and transmission, and
meteorological instrumentation. If the recruit has good
credits in Mathematics and Physical Science, at MSCE he or
she is considered for a two year Diploma course in weather
forecasting at any one of World Meteorological
Organisation's regional training centres in Africa such as
Nairobi in Kenya or Lagos in Nigeria.
The second entry level is for on with GCE advanced lever ( A
level) in Mathematics and Physics. The person is sent
straight for the diploma in meteorology. Thereafter,
depending on the strength of the A level the fellow is also
considered for a Bachelor of Science Degree course in
Meteorology, a course that is attainable abroad.
The third entry point is at graduate level. Bachelor of
Science graduates from the University of Malawi majoring in
Mathematics and Physics are recruited ad sent for a
postgraduate diploma in meteorology abroad. This is an
intensive ten-month course, which actually demands the
Mathematics, and Physics mentioned earlier on. After this
diploma course the recruit is given on the job training.
At both diploma and bachelor s degree level the main
subjects are Dynamic, Physical and Synoptic Meteorology,
which are combined with Mathematics, Physical and Statistics
phasing out gradually during the third year for BSc, when
meteorology now becomes the major subjects.
4. Further studies
After the initial the fellows are supposed to work for
sometime to gain experience before they are considered for
further training for higher degrees such as Master of
Science (MSc) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). This is where
specialisation starts. Fellows are free to opt for any of
the several areas in meteorology such as Dynamic
Meteorology, Agricultural Meteorology, Climatology and
In recent years training of Meteorologists has been done in
the United Kingdom United States of America, Australia,
Ireland, India, Egypt, Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya.
5. Section in Meteorological Service
In the Malawi Meteorological Service staff work in the
various sections such as Monitoring, Prediction, Aviation
Weather Services, ~ Climatological Service and Public
~Weather Services which includes television weather
6. International Relationship
Meteorologists also participate in international
meteorological issues such as climate change, global
warming, ozone depletion, desertification, regional drought
monitoring and air pollution. Some have had chances to be
attached at specialised meteorological centres such as
Climate Prediction Centre in Washington DC, African Centre
for Meteorological Applications for Development (ACMAD) in
Niger, and Drought Monitoring centres in Nairobi and Harare.
7. Employer of Meteorologists
The sole employer of meteorologists in Malawi is currently
the government. A few institutions operate subsidiary
weather stations in the country but these employ weather
observers only for monitoring purposes. Elsewhere
meteorologists are employed in the agricultural, water and
education sectors and a good number get absorbed by the mass
media, mostly radio and television.
8. Further Information
Further information on how to become a meteorologist can be
obtained from the address below:
P. O. Box 1808
Tel: +265 1 822 014
Fax: +265 1 822 215
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