Meteorology is divided into four branches: physical, dynamical, synoptic, and applied meteorology. Physical meteorologists deal with such areas as the physics of rain formation, atmospheric electricity, and atmospheric optics; dynamical meteorologists work in such areas as the mathematical representation of atmospheric flow patterns and the numerical prediction of these patterns; synoptic meteorologists are involved with the description of atmospheric disturbances and with weather forecasting; and applied meteorologists deal with the application of meteorological and climatological knowledge to such areas as agriculture, architecture, ecology, and air pollution.
The undergraduate program provides a broad overview of these branches of meteorology plus climatology, while graduate students are encouraged to specialize in one of them. Meteorologists are needed in research, forecasting, and operational positions to study, interpret and predict weather and climate processes and patterns and to relate these to human activities. Severe storms, floods, droughts and air pollution are examples of atmospheric phenomena, which influence health, safety, transportation, agriculture, and business activities.
The Meteorology program at Florida State University is the largest and most complete program in the southeastern United States. Undergraduates may pursue the Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree or a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in meteorology. Since meteorology is a quantitative science that requires extensive preparation in mathematics and physics, students planning to major in meteorology must arrange their programs carefully, starting with their freshman year. Prospective meteorology majors who enter FSU as freshmen or transfer students should be counseled by a departmental faculty or staff advisor prior to registration. All students planning to enroll at FSU either as freshmen or by transfer are advised to study the material in the FSU Undergraduate Handbook for Meteorology for important academic.
Members of the department benefit from cooperative research interests involving meteorology and oceanography, the Center for Ocean-Atmosphere Prediction Studies (COAPS), the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Institute (GFDI), and the Departments of Mathematics and Computational Science. The Tallahassee Office of the National Weather Service is located in the same building with the meteorology program.
Undergraduates in meteorology are encouraged to complete a directed research project in their senior year. For those in the FSU Honors Program and FSU Honors in the Major Program, this project may satisfy your thesis requirements. Results from these projects are often submitted to FSU, ACC, and national scientific conferences and provide an undergraduate with the unique opportunity to conduct hands-on research.
The meteorology program also offers students the ability to learn weathercasting. Many prominent weathercasters on the air today have been students in our weathercasting program. Stephanie Abrams of the Weather Channel and Janice Huff, Chief Meteorologist in New York City are just two examples.