Sunday, November 27, 2022

Meteorologists and State Licensing

There is a surprisingly lively discussion on Twitter today pertaining to whether meteorologists should be required have degrees or even occupational licenses. Currently, no state nor the federal government licenses us. You can read the discussion here. The downside of this is that anyone can call themselves a "meteorologist."

I believe that, in general, too many occupations require licensing. It absurd that many states require a license to wash hair. 

In meteorology, I do not think there should be licensing for forecasting. Where I believe licensing should perhaps be required is for storm warnings; tornado warnings, ice storm warnings, hurricane warnings, et cetera. These are literally life and death situations and there are people who issue their own tornado warnings who have few to no formal qualifications. 

While there is no licensing, the American Meteorological Society has its certified consulting meteorologist program along with its certified broadcast meteorologist program. The former is quite rigorous. I was #368 and was formally certified in the 1980's and continued with the program (including the required continuing education) until I retired in 2018. A state storm warning licensing program could be build around the CCM program. 

As for on-air meteorologists, there should be no required licensing unless they are going to issue their own storm warnings. Here in Wichita, I've seen Lisa Teachman and Jay Prater issue their own tornado warnings (they don't use the word "warning," however) and I'm fully comfortable with that. They are certified broadcast meteorologists and have tremendous experience (other meteorologists in town may do it, but I haven't personally witnessed it). 

My primary concern about licensing meteorologists is that, inevitably, there is a risk of global warming zealots turning a meteorology licensing program into a global warming "wokeness" measure. 

So, any state licensing program, if one is tried, will have to be carefully crafted.

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