Paul Zandt, Meteorologist
More Career Connections
Next
time you're out for a walk in the park on a fine autumn
day, you may not have mathematics on your mind. But
believe it or not, the weather that surrounds you is
mathematics in motion. That's right. Every type of weather
 a passing cloud, a sudden summer thunderstorm, or
a wicked winter storm  can be summed up by a series
of mathematical equations.
Many,
but not all, of the weather forecasters you see on TV
are meteorologists. Some colleges offer degrees in meteorology.
To become a meteorologist, a student must take courses
in advanced mathematics. We study math to better understand
how the atmosphere behaves. Different mathematical equations
help explain which way the wind will blow and whether
the temperature will rise or fall. These equations are
programmed into giant computers, which then try to predict
the weather for the next day, the next week, even the
next month. Meteorologists rely on these computer predictions
when they make the forecasts you hear on the radio or
TV.
Unfortunately,
the weather is often too complicated to be predicted
accurately all the time. Even the most powerful computers
can't keep track of all the subtle weather changes.
Weather predictions are sometimes wrong, and forecasters
can look a little foolish.
Not
all meteorologists are weather forecasters. Some study
climate changes. They also rely on computer models.
Other meteorologists keep track of weather conditions
around the world and use math to compile weather records.
Meteorologists
could not do their jobs without a good understanding
of mathematics. So if you think you might want to be
a meteorologist some day, you'll certainly want to pay
attention in math class!
