Lack of meteorologists could become roadblock in growth of weather services industry
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports there are only 10,700 meteorologists employed in the U.S.
A new report from business experts highlights the booming weather forecasting services market, but experts caution the industry could have a tough time keeping up with the increased demand.
According to Research and Markets, the global weather forecasting services industry was valued at around $1.63 billion in 2020 and is projected to reach $4.19 billion by 2030.
Analysts associate the growth to several industries in the realm but highlight aviation and shipping businesses for driving the additional need for weather experts.
Meteorologists are commonly relied on by various companies for their expertise for not only ensuring delivery delays are kept to a minimum but also keeping workers safe during adverse weather.
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The expected increase in growth of the weather forecasting services market was not a surprise to the head of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, a consortium of more than 120 colleges and universities that offers research and education programs.
"In an increasingly competitive and connected economic environment, businesses are gaining a competitive edge by turning to advanced forecasting technologies and emerging areas such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, many of which were derived from basic research at NCAR [U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research] and our partners," Antonio Busalacchi Jr., president of UCAR, stated.
What used to be only a few industries that relied on weather experts has expanded because of the adoption of new technologies and the quest to stay ahead of Mother Nature.
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The Colorado-based consortium is at the forefront of research and technology being evaluated for future use by the education and private sectors.
"These include evaluating the effectiveness of cloud seeding, helping airlines avoid severe turbulence, providing specialized wind and solar energy forecasts for utilities, improving the efficiency of electric autonomous vehicles, and developing high-resolution forecasts for drones, among others," Busalacchi said.
With the increased knowledge and technology comes a need for specialists, and that has some experts in both the business and science communities worried that the atmospheric science field will won’t be able to keep up with the demand.
Asked whether there are enough individuals that could fill the expected vacancies in the industry, Busalacchi responded, "the answer, unfortunately, is no."
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The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates there are around 10,700 atmospheric scientists, including meteorologists, in the workforce.
The agency anticipates around 1,000 openings per year for specialists in the weather industry.