Does the Weather Forecaster on TV have a Green Job?

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I don’t have a TV in the kitchen. I wonder, when you see the weather forecaster over the first cup of coffee, does that make the weather more real? More so than looking out the window, craning your neck to see if your neighbor is wearing a rain jacket over his bathrobe? Is there more to knowing what the day holds weather-wise, than looking out the window?

Weather professionals are trained in meteorology, the study of weather. The Weather Channel popularized this profession so significantly, elevating truly local knowledge about where storms come from in your town, and what the behavior of cows, and other livestock, means in terms of what the day will hold. Being able to read these natural signs was particularly vital when most work was done outside, and when there weren’t dryers to dry clothes. Cars, buildings and inventions have changed our relationship with weather. But so has climate change. What scientists agree is that a warming planet will be subject to more extreme weather – so, for example,  if you live someplace that gets rain, you’ll likely get more rain, heavier rain, rain at times of year when in the past it didn’t come.  What they agree is that we’re at the beginning of a time of increasingly unpredictable weather. And so the question is: Does predicting and then describing the weather in a time of climate change make the profession of meteorology a green occupation?  Check out the information about Atmospheric and Space Scientists, one of the alternate titles for the job of weather forecaster on O*NET OnLine; this information describes that tasks and qualifications of this work.

As we know, a green job is a job that protects or preserves the environment in some way. It can be a job in which the process or outcome contributes to greater environmental well-being. Green jobs are often defined as jobs that increase efficient use of resource; that perhaps even conserve resources. And for many of us, green jobs are jobs that pay enough to support a family, that provide room for advancement in terms of skill, responsibility and wages.

We can also parse occupations by the ways in which they respond to climate change, and use that as a way to see if an occupation is green, or not. Does the work of that job contribute to increasing greenhouse gas emissions, or does it reduce those emissions.  Or, alternatively, does it help us adapt to the effects of climate change in some way? It might be in this way that work in meteorology – at this time of climate change – could be understood as a green job.

The weather forecaster might be doing more than forecasting the day’s weather. In their job, meteorologist can bolster our knowledge of weather and how it is changing, supporting us to be more sophisticated in our understanding of our vulnerabilities to powerful storms, parching droughts and the ways that a warming planet confound what we have thought of as typical weather. If it is more than a forecast, more than “bring your umbrella to work today,” if it is the bigger picture of how weather is changing due to a warming planet, then perhaps you could say that weather forecasters have green jobs.

Whether you’re a weather forecaster or not, consider the ways climate influences your work? And how might a changing climate affect your work? Comment here – we’re all curious!

Interested in a career as a meteorologist? Check out the American Meteorological Society information about careers here.

This week, as with other weeks, some thinking on what our eco system role as residents on a planet facing climate changes can look like. More thinking can be found at Finding Earth Works.  

You can comment on any of these perspectives, and it would be welcomed. Particularly, tell us all about your eco system role.


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