Become a Meteorologist

 

The weather affects every aspect of life in New Zealand.  MetService meteorologists keep a 24/7 watch on our seas and skies to ensure the safety of the public, and the aviation and marine communities.

Understanding the Earth’s atmosphere is at the heart of our meteorologists’ expertise. Their ability to apply this scientific knowledge to forecast the impact of these forces and translate it into meaningful weather and environmental insights is vital to keep New Zealanders safe.

It’s a hugely fulfilling role and one that is becoming more vital in a changing climate.

 

Prior study

Meteorology is an applied science that requires postgraduate study and training. You need to have achieved a Bachelor, Honours or Master of Science degree (BSc, BSc (Hons) or MSc) in mathematics or physics. Other majors are considered, provided your university maths/physics background is strong.

 

Why mathematics or physics?

The atmosphere is a thin film of fluid bound by gravity to the Earth. The Earth is a rotating sphere, heated more by the sun near the equator than near the poles. Circulations in the atmosphere transport excess heat away from the equatorial region. These circulations, some of which are weather systems, are well described using highly non-linear fluid-dynamical equations.

Most meteorologists employed by MetService don't spend their days solving equations; computers do that for us. But we do spend a lot of time thinking about how weather systems will affect our customers. For this, a sound understanding of the atmosphere as a fluid is required. So, you'll get to use the scientific thinking you developed at university.

 

Trainee Meteorologist Programme

MetService runs a training programme for typically 8 to 10 future meteorologists, in partnership with Te Herenga Waka - Victoria University of Wellington.  Together, we provide New Zealand’s only Master of Meteorology (MMet) degree.

If you are selected for the programme, MetService will pay you a salary and your university fees while you're learning. This significant investment means we believe you will complete the 14-month programme successfully if selected, and that you have the potential to become a meteorologist.

The programme is run to World Meteorological Organization (WMO) standards, providing you with an internationally recognised qualification.

The programme is a mixture of meteorological theory and forecasting practice. You’ll work cooperatively as a group, guided by a team of skilled meteorological instructors.

 

The MMet consists of six 400-level meteorology papers, two 500-level practicums, and a three-month research project. Lecturers include academic staff from Victoria University of Wellington and subject matter experts from MetService.

GPHS 420

Introduction to Dynamical Meteorology

GPHS 421

Mid-Latitude Weather Systems

GPHS 422

Radiation and Thermodynamics for Meteorology

GPHS 423

Cloud Physics and Boundary Layer Meteorology

GPHS 425

Numerical Weather Prediction

GPHS 426

Climatology and Remote sensing

GPHS 520

Professional Weather Observing, Analysis, and Synoptic Diagnosis

GPHS 521

Professional Weather Diagnosis and Forecasting

GPHS 589

Project

 

 

On-the-job training

On successful completion of the course work and testing (via exams and competency-based assessments), the remainder of your second year is spent effectively as an internship.  As a paid intern you will spend time in one of three main areas of the forecast room (public, marine or aviation) where you’ll work alongside our meteorologists on shift in MetService’s national forecasting centre in our Wellington or Auckland office.

After your second year MetService will confirm that you've met the requirements to be a graduate meteorologist trained to WMO standards.

 

Career progression

MetService has a team of approximately 65 operational meteorologists who provide the nation’s weather forecasts, warnings and consultancy services to business, government and all New Zealanders.

Early in their careers, meteorologists generally spend a few years dedicated to working in each of the meteorological areas of aviation, marine or public. They can then progress to a general meteorologist role, and then advance through our career structure to lead and expert roles. It’s the expert meteorologists who work the very specialised area of severe weather.

Of MetService's approximately 300 staff, about 90 are qualified meteorologists. Most of these work as operational meteorologists, but some are involved in computer modelling, marketing, consulting, development, management and instructing.

 

How to apply

The Trainee Meteorologist Programme is run approximately every other year.

The next course begins in July 2021, applications for the next course have now closed.

If you have any questions, email recruitment@metservice.com