Career Information: A Guide to Meteorology Resources

Meteorology is the study of the atmosphere with a focus on different processes of weather, and short-term weather forecasting. In addition to forecasting, there are also several other aspects of meteorology, including the use of meteorology in the military, the production of energy, agriculture, and even in monitoring of water qualities around the world.

History of Meteorology

Meteorology has been around since 350 B.C. when Aristotle wrote his treatise called Meteorology. As the years have gone by and technology has improved so has the discipline of meteorology. In the 1700’s and 1800’s meteorology was largely based on myths. The 1940’s brought the development of radar, satellites, and weather stations, which made forecasting the weather much more accurate. Computers have once again advanced the study even more.

History of Radar Meteorology -A detailed time line of the history of radar meteorology. The article starts before WWII and states the time line up to 1980.

Forecasting Through the Ages – A history of weather forecasting dating back as far as 650 B.C. 

Absolute Astronomy – This page gives a history of meteorology and Aristotle’s part in it.

Meteorology – The history – The history of meteorology and modern meteorology.

Meteorology – A time line of meteorology.

The History of Meteorology – An in depth look at the history of meteorology.

Equipment

Each aspect of meteorology has its own set of equipment. There are tools for measuring rain and other precipitation along with tools for measuring the speed of winds. There is also specialized equipment for forecasting storms and weather systems such as radar and satellites, along with equipment used in measuring the strength of these systems. All these tools have become a key part of predicting everything from the weather to forest fires.

Qualimetrics – An article on the different tools used to study the weather.

Meteorological Radar – This is an article on how radar is used in meteorology. .

Meteorology Tools – An explanation of what meteorology is. This includes a list of tools used in meteorology.

Weather Tools – How forecasters can predict localized weather. This page also describes the tools forecasters use.

Scales

The study of meteorology is divided into several scales depending on the size and scope of what scientists are observing. The smallest of these scales is microscale meteorology, which deals with studying processes that last less than a day, and are smaller than 1 kilometer. On the other end of the spectrum is synoptic scale meteorology, which deals with systems that are over 620 miles in length.

The Saffir – Simpson Scale – This page is dedicated to the scale used to measure the strength of hurricanes. It gives details o the levels and a description of each.

Tornado Scales – Information on the scale used to measure tornadoes.

Temperature Scales – This includes a list of the different temperature scales with descriptions. It also teaches how to convert between them.

The Synoptic Scale – This is an explanation of the synoptic scale including warm fronts and cold fronts.

Mesoscale Meteorology – An explanation of mesoscale meteorology.

Mircoscale and Mesoscale Meteorology – This page includes a description and information about an experiment to study the effects of these systems on weather.

Meteorology Sub Disciplines

There are many applications for meteorology. Although the most commonly known use is weather forecasting, meteorology is also used in many other ways. It is used to help aircrews determine their flight plans and shipping companies and boat captains determine their routes to avoid bad weather. Meteorology is used in agriculture to determine water levels along with water quality for crops, and in forecasting areas that are at risk for flooding and other water problems. 

Agrometeorology – This is a website dedicated to agricultural meteorology.

Aviation Meteorology – This is an explanation of aviation meteorology and why it is important.

Hydrometeorology – This site gives information on how hydrometeorology is used.

Maritime Meteorology – An overview of maritime meteorology and its importance.

Clouds and Precipitation

Clouds are made up of water droplets and ice crystals. They have many different shapes and sizes and are classified according to their appearance and height. The precipitation forms differently in warm clouds as opposed to cold clouds. Precipitation falls to the ground in both types of clouds because the particles of the cloud become too heavy and gravity takes over.

Observing Clouds – A list of different types of clouds and the kinds of precipitation that will occur. .

The University of Texas Introduction to Clouds and Precipitation – A site with links to information about clouds. There is information on cloud types, precipitation types, and exercises to help the learning process.

Cloud Formation – A model showing how a cloud forms and how the precipitation forms. This has a good model showing the layers and temperatures of a cloud.

Clouds and Precipitation – The physics behind a cloud and how they play a role in the amount of water on the earth.

Air Masses and Fronts

An air mass is a large body of air with the same amount of moisture and temperature. When different air masses collide, they produce what would be considered a weather event. The type of weather that occurs because of these collisions depends on the type of air masses. A front is a boundary that separates air masses. There are different kinds of fronts such as warm fronts and cold fronts, which also contribute to weather events.

Classification of Air Masses – An introduction to air masses and how they are classified.

Physical Geography – This is a basic introduction to air masses and fronts. 

Air Masses and Fronts – An article on the two fundamentals of weather. This has detailed information on what an air mass is and what a front is.

North American Air Masses – A map showing the air masses of the United States. .

Severe Storms

Meteorology has come a long way in its ability to predict a severe storm. A severe storm could be a thunderstorm, a supercell, a tornado, or a combination of all three. There are different dangers associated with each kind of storm including damaging hail and flash floods. Modeling has become an important part of predicting these storms and warning the people in the areas near the storm.

National Weather Association - An article about the impact of violent tornadoes. This also goes into how forecasters need to be able to see the patterns of past tornadoes in order to predict future ones.

National Weather Service – This is the storm prediction center for the NOAA. It shows watches, reports, and an overview of potential storms.

The Birth of A Storm – A step by step observation of the formation of a tornado.

The Severe Storms Research Center – This is information on the research that is being done to develop new methods for predicting storms.

Light and Optics

Many different things we see in the sky are the result of atmospheric optics. Rainbows are reflections of light, as well as sunsets and sunrises. When you see a halo around the moon, it is because light is passing through ice crystals. All these sights are because light is being absorbed, reflected, or scattered by different particles.

Atmospheric Optics – This is an article on how rainbows, sunsets, and other visual lights in the sky are a result of sunlight entering the atmosphere.

Light and Atmospheric Optics – A chapter from a textbook about light, color and optics in the atmosphere. It has basic information on what optics and scatterings are.

An Optics Glossary – This page offers an extensive list of atmospheric terms and definitions.

Rainbows – An explanation of what a rainbow is and how it forms.