15 BRANCHES OF METEOROLOGY: What is Meteorology?
Weather and climate is all around us. It affects our work and play.
Disasters related to weather cause hundreds of thousands of deaths each year. Weather-related damage is in the billions of dollars per year.
This is why meteorology is of particular importance to us. The branches of meteorology are as follows:
- ATMOSPHERIC PHYSICS: Applying physical processes to meteorology such as aerodynamics, radiometry and geomagnetism.
- LIFE SCIENCE: Understanding how living organisms interact with meteorology.
- WEATHER & CLIMATE: Studying weather and climate from past, present and future.
You can divide meteorology in different ways. But here’s how we see the branches of meteorology.
WEATHER & CLIMATE: Short and long-term
The main focus of meteorology is the study of the chemistry and physics for weather/climate. For long term weather patterns, climatology studies the past and how climate change will affect the future.
If you specifically want to study past weather patterns, paleoclimatology examines how prehistoric climates have changed in a geologic time scale. Paleotempestology is specific to tropical cyclones.
Meanwhile, barometry studies atmospheric pressure is measured and how it relates to weather and climate. Topoclimatology focuses on topographic relief and how it influences local climate in the lower air layer.
WEATHER & CLIMATE
PHYSICS: Applying the laws of physics to meteorology
The physical processes in weather and climate can be described in one of these branches of meteorology. For example, aerodynamics describes how air circulates in the atmosphere.
We use radiometry to measure incoming solar radiation from the sun. Next, hydrometeorology focuses on how this energy is transferred between the land surface, water and atmosphere.
Finally, there are branches of meteorology dedicated to Earth’s magnetic field. For example, geomagnetism studies solar winds and how it impacts our magnetic field
LIFE SCIENCES: Impacting the biosphere
Meteorology had tremendous impacts on the biosphere. And there are several branches of meteorology that are concerned with this aspect.
For example, biometeorology measures how atmospheric conditions and short-term weather patterns impact living things. It may examine photosynthesis in plants or evapotranspiration rates in different seasons.
There’s also bioclimatology which addresses how long-term climate patterns affects living things. This includes elements from geobiology which relates the lithosphere, atmosphere and biosphere.