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Climate scientist

Climate scientists study the influences on the Earth's climate over time and how these might affect it in the future.

Annual Salary

£27,000 to £55,000

Average UK salary in 2019 was £30,378
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

37 to 42 a week

You could work: between 8am and 6pm;

Future employment

There will be 3% more Climate scientist jobs in 2025.
In your local area

What's it all about?

Day to day tasks

Your day-to-day duties may include:

  • gathering and analysing data from the atmosphere, oceans and land
  • creating computer models to simulate the effects of changes to climate
  • designing and building scientific instruments and sensors
  • studying past climates to understand what might happen in the future
  • monitoring ice packs, sea levels and temperatures
  • looking at how global climate affects regional weather patterns
  • attending conferences and publishing research findings
  • investigating ways to tackle climate change
  • advising policy makers
  • teaching

Working environment

You could work in a laboratory or at a university.

Your working environment may be outdoors some of the time.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course

You can do a degree or postgraduate qualification in:

  • environmental science
  • geography
  • physics
  • maths and statistics
  • oceanography
  • meteorology and climate science
  • computer science

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 or 3 A levels, or equivalent, including maths and a science for a degree
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study
For more information
Volunteering and work experience

You could get work experience through an internship or work placement. This would give you an insight into the different types of work you can do as a climate scientist.

More information

Career tips

You can get information about global climate conditions through NASA and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Further information

You can discover more about working in climate science from the Royal Meteorological Society and the Natural Environment Research Council.

You could specialise in an area of climate science, for example polar research, rainfall patterns or ocean changes. You might do this through research and teaching at a university, or by working for a government department.

You could also work as a palaeoclimatologist, studying previous variations in climate and how the Earth adapted to these.

Other career options include working as a consultant for science publishers or broadcasters.

You may be able to apply for chartered environmentalist status. You can find out more about being a chartered environmentalist from the Society for the Environment.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • maths knowledge
  • knowledge of geography
  • knowledge of physics
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • science skills
  • knowledge of computer operating systems, hardware and software
  • the ability to work well with others
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to read English
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages confidently
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