Steve's Main Topic Is the Weather ...; ACCORDING to Samuel Johnson "When Two Englishmen Meet the First Talk Is of the Weather." Centuries on, We Are Still a Nation Obsessed by Sunshine and Showers. on the 75th Anniversary of the Broadcast of the First Weather Forecast RICHARD GIBSON Finds out What Is Involved in Modern Meteorology

Article excerpt

DO any of us fail to mention the weather at least once a day?

Steven Crampton talks about little else. After all, it is the 25-year-old's job to discuss the weather's patterns and cycles and predict what the heavens have in store for us.

Steven has been a fully fledged "weather man" at The Birmingham Weather Department for almost two years and reckons any youngster wanting to enter a career in meteorology should know all the facts of the job before taking the plunge.

He is quick to warn that although we see household names like John Kettley, Michael Fish and Bill Giles appearing on our television screens each night, the real work is done behind the scenes.

The glamour of standing in front of the cameras is merely the finishing touches to a process of continual monitoring of the weather around the world.

"Those guys look at the computer screens and charts just the same as us. The major difference is that they then go on screen and present," he says.

The former pupil at Oldswinford School, Stourbridge, first became interested in meteorology in geography lessons.

"I found meteorology the most interesting aspect of geography and decided I wanted to go into weather forecasting. "

Steven took a geography degree at the University of London and then a Masters degree in Applied Meteorology at Birmingham University. The knowledge he gained was the first step towards getting his current job.

He says: "You need some sort of training before you begin forecasting. One of the ways you learn is to shadow a forecaster for two or three months."

According to Steven the best thing about the job is that, just like the weather, it is never the same one day to the next.

One day Steven will be writing a report on the weather in Europe, the next he may be looking at Asia or Africa.

And that's the real excitement of monitoring the world's weather. The vast improvement in computer technology in the last 15 years and the increasing number of satellite dishes recording changes in the global atmosphere has enabled Steven and his colleag ues to monitor the rainfall in Rowley Regis and predict hurricanes in Hawaii.

All from a weather centre in the middle of Birmingham.


Training: Many universities run meteorology courses. Then it is on-the-job training.

Qualities: Good mathematical and analytical skills, enthusiasm, patience and common sense.

Qualifications: Although the majority of weather forecasters have degrees , it has been known that people can start their career with just a few GCSE's. Enthusiasm and commitment count for a lot.

Starting salary: Between pounds 15,000 and pounds 16,000 a year.

Further information: Royal Meteorological Society, 104 Oxford Road, Reading, Berkshire, RG1 7LL.

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Job opportunity for Polish speakers

THE BIRMINGHAM Weather Department is looking for an enthusiastic individual to join their meteorological ranks - providing they can speak Polish! …