Weather prediction is a complicated science! It takes a lot of skill, technology, and background knowledge to make and deliver weather predictions. Thankfully, Chief Meteorologist Eric Fisher was kind enough to tell us all about how he sciences! You may recognize him from WBZ-TV, the CBS Affiliate in Boston!
Name: Eric Fisher
Job/ title: Chief Meteorologist, WBZ-TV
Education level: College – Bachelor’s of Science in Atmospheric Science
Contact email/ professional website: firstname.lastname@example.org and www.cbsboston.com/weather
1. What do you do for work and how does it use science or STEM principles?
My job at CBS Boston is an operational meteorologist, meaning a forecaster, who just so happens to present forecasts on television! My entire day is rooted in science, from analyzing computer models and satellite images to explaining probabilities and conclusions (forecasts). The biggest part of my day is dedicated to the forecast. I search through all the available information to figure out what the atmosphere is doing, and then decide what we think it’s going to do in the future.
2. What level of schooling or training does someone need to get this job?
It’s best to go through at least four years of college studying meteorology before taking on this kind of job. Plus, it helps to take as many science and math classes as possible in high school before you even get to the college level. In my high school I took almost every science class they had available – chemistry, botany, oceanography, physics, lab science, astronomy, and geology. All are useful when talking about the weather and our environment. Then in college it’s a whole boatload of physics and calculus, as well as earth science.
The TV part comes with a lot of practice and time. Many meteorologists are shy scientists at first, and then have to learn how to communicate their forecasts and be entertaining at the same time. It’s tough and most of us stink when we first start out!
3. What is the most unique/enjoyable part of your job?
The best part of a job in meteorology is that every day there’s something different to talk about. I always find that even on a calm day in New England, there’s something fascinating going on somewhere else. Whether it’s unusual weather in other parts of the world, or a new scientific study, there’s always something to talk about. So it’s tough to have a ‘boring’ day at work.
4. How did you become interested in doing the job you have?
I knew from a very young age that I wanted to work in weather. Whenever there was a big storm I was the one who would want to be outside in it or watching all the warnings/radar images scrolling across the TV screen on the Weather Channel. Then I had to figure out what kind of a job in meteorology would be best, and decided TV was the right path. It’s one of the only meteorology careers where you can really share your passion and enthusiasm for what’s happening with a broad audience. Many other jobs in forecasting take place in offices with little interaction between you and the public. So it’s nice to ‘geek out’ about things I find interesting.
5. What advice would you give someone hoping to find a job in your profession?
You better love it! It can be a tough path to take. The classes are hard in college, and then the pay is often terrible when you get a job. You have to really work hard and enjoy what you do to make a living. But with enough passion, it works out.
6. If someone wanted to learn more about the type of work you do, where can they learn more?
Just tune in and check it out for yourself, or send an email to your local meteorologist. I’m sure you’ll find they’ll be eager to chat.
For more information on Eric and his background, visit http://boston.cbslocal.com/personality/eric-fisher/
How We Science is moderated and edited by the staff of the Natural Resources Trust of Easton.