Climate scientists study the influences on the Earth’s climate over time and how these might affect it in the future.
Salary range: £27,000 to £55,000
How to become a climate scientist
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
You can do a degree or postgraduate qualification in:
- environmental science
- maths and statistics
- meteorology and climate science
- computer science
You’ll usually need:
- 2 or 3 A levels, or equivalent, including maths and a science for a degree
- a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study
- equivalent entry requirements
- student finance for fees and living costs
- university courses and entry requirements
Volunteering and experience
You could get work experience through an internship or work placement. This would give you an insight into the different types of work you can do as a climate scientist.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- maths knowledge
- knowledge of geography
- knowledge of physics
- excellent verbal communication skills
- science skills
- knowledge of computer operating systems, hardware and software
- the ability to work well with others
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- to be able to use a computer and the main software packages confidently
What you’ll do
Your day-to-day duties may include:
- gathering and analysing data from the atmosphere, oceans and land
- creating computer models to simulate the effects of changes to climate
- designing and building scientific instruments and sensors
- studying past climates to understand what might happen in the future
- monitoring ice packs, sea levels and temperatures
- looking at how global climate affects regional weather patterns
- attending conferences and publishing research findings
- investigating ways to tackle climate change
- advising policy makers
You could work in a laboratory or at a university.
Your working environment may be outdoors some of the time.
Career path and progression
You could specialise in an area of climate science, for example polar research, rainfall patterns or ocean changes. You might do this through research and teaching at a university, or by working for a government department.
You could also work as a palaeoclimatologist, studying previous variations in climate and how the Earth adapted to these.
Other career options include working as a consultant for science publishers or broadcasters.
You may be able to apply for chartered environmentalist status. You can find out more about being a chartered environmentalist from the Society for the Environment.