The Important Work of Forensic Meteorologists01 May , 2012 | 9
I thought I had covered most meteorology career paths, until one of my blog visitors reminded me of the very important work of forensic meteorologists. Forensic meteorologists are useful in reconstructing past weather events at a certain time and location. We’re all used to ‘meteorologists’ forecasting the weather…but forensic meteorologists are experts in knowing what weather has already occurred.
Most forensic meteorologists are private consultants, or work in part of a group at large weather companies. The data compiled by a Forensic Meteorologist is typically used by lawyers, insurance companies, airlines, or government agencies. And these are generally the specific sectors that will usually hire forensic meteorologists for any analysis/reconstruction work that would need to be performed.
Forensic meteorologists are largely responsible for helping in civil cases around the country…and sometimes even criminal cases. It’s pretty fascinating how meteorologists can be used for so many legal proceedings.
Let’s just take a few examples…
1) Murder Trial: About 10 years ago in the state of NY…a man was accused of murdering 2 people to death. Part of the accused murder’s alibi was that a cut on his hand did not happen at the time of the murder…but when he was snowboarding with his son. So a meteorologist was called to determine if there was any snow on the ground at the time (and if it was indeed snowing). Once a forensic meteorologists identified the facts…it was determined there was no snow, and it was raining. It was also determined that light rain was significant enough to melt any snow. Therefore, it was determined the accused murderer was lying and, the jury convicted the accused of murder. Wow!
2) Car Accidents: Forensic meteorologists are generally involved in analyzing many car accidents that are blamed/or due to a weather event. From icy road conditions, to flooding on the roadways, to glare from the Sun, or even foggy conditions reducing visibilities are some of the examples that have occurred. This makes forensic meteorology work very important to insurance companies who are gauging whether weather was to blame in an accident (or if the driver was at fault).
And of course there are many more examples of how forensic meteorology is used today. To see a list of more samples of cases, you can visit Weather Consultants website, here.
But here’s what I’m baffled about. And just so you’re aware in advance…what I’m about to share with you will probably make your jaw drop. According to the website Law Crossing….a 4 year BS degreed forensic meteorologist on average makes just under $1.5M annually!? A 4 year MS degreed forensic meteorologists makes over $1.5M annually!? And a PHD forensic met apparently brings in over $2M annually!!
Oh wow, are we all in the wrong weather sector or this information completely ludicrous?? In case you think I’m making this up…here’s the link where I found this information. I’m personally not buying this (or maybe it’s the case for a select few)…but then again I’d like to be given confirmation this is wrong by an actual forensic meteorologist.
Professional Forensic meteorologists out there….is this salary range accurate? And in addition to the salary range, feel free to offer any perspectives for how a young graduate or working meteorology professional can become a forensic meteorologist. Thanks!