Climate Scientist + Meteorologist

Climate Scientist + Meteorologist

Climate scientists and meteorologists study the atmosphere, weather and climate, so that we can understand how and why the Earth’s climate changes over time, better forecast weather patterns and predict long-term climate trends.

Meteorologists study and forecast actual weather events, whereas climate scientists are more likely to study long-term trends over the course of decades or centuries, and develop numerical models that allow us to estimate the likely effects of climate change due to human activities.

In New Zealand, most climate scientists are employed by NIWA – the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, other Crown Research Institutes such as AgResearch, and universities.

Most meteorologists work for either the MetService or for NIWA's weather forecasting service.

Pay rates depend on qualifications and experience:

  • Meteorologists at the MetService generally earn $40,000 starting salary, rising to $100,000 or more once they have completed specialist training and have more experience
  • With a PhD they can earn $70-125,000 at a university (but these jobs are limited in number and competition can be fierce).
  • With a Master’s degree or PhD they can earn $50-100,000 in a research institution (but again, roles are limited)

Key tertiary qualifications include:

  • Bachelor of Science in Maths or Physics
  • Most research positions require a Master’s degree or PhD
  • Meteorologists generally complete a specialist postgraduate qualification once in employment

Recommended school subjects:

  • Physics
  • Calculus
  • Chemistry
  • Statistics and Modelling
  • English 

Careers New Zealand: Meteorologist

Other job roles you may be interested in:

Explore industries:


Climate Scientist + Meteorologist: People who work in this role

  • Nava Fedaeff

    Climate Scientist, Nava Fedaeff at work

    Petra Pearce

    Climate Scientist, Petra Pearce at work

Climate Scientist + Meteorologist: Companies that employ people in this job role

  • Ministry for Primary Industries
    Ministry for Primary Industries

Futureintech is an initiative of Engineering New Zealand, funded by Callaghan Innovation