The Norman Transcript

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December 5, 2013

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NORMAN — When you were a child and you looked up at the clouds what was your first thought, your daydream? Did any of those thoughts and daydreams include the desire to grow up to be a meteorologist? Or, did you look up and wish very hard to become an astronaut and travel the universe, something like the crew of the Enterprise?

If your choice was a more earthbound path with an interest in the sciences and how things worked, you could very well have aspired to become the first wizard whose weather predictions would be dependable and accurate.

According to the American Meteorological Society the following is an official description of a meteorologist:

“A meteorologist is an individual with specialized education who uses scientific principles to explain, understand, observe or forecast the earth’s atmospheric phenomena and/or how the atmosphere affects the earth and life on the planet. This specialized education would be a bachelor’s or higher degree in meteorology or an atmospheric science. Individuals who have little formal education in the atmospheric sciences, or who have taken only industry survey courses, and who disseminate weather information and forecasts prepared by others, are properly designated weathercasters.”

Some may think that the job of broadcast meteorologists is easy and glamorous because they are on television. All that is required of them is to look reasonably attractive, which means no “radio faces” allowed, and interpret and report the weather.

Unfortunately, it can be a thankless job when the prediction is off the mark because people are unkind. Consequently, bad-mouthing the “weather guy” has become almost a national pastime. Something similar to Monday morning quarterbacking.

Perhaps because staring at cloud formations and weather patterns on a map may be perceived as unexciting and geeky, some meteorologists and weathercasters try to engage children in their forecasts by encouraging them to send in weather related drawings which they show on television. Or, they inject humor into their forecasts, sometimes inadvertently.

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