Meteorological technicians are responsible for the collection of meteorological information. Their work includes the rendering of meteorological advisory services, the operating and maintenance of a weather observation network throughout the whole of South Africa, and research and training.
Except for a few specialists, technicians render almost all of the climatological services at the Weather Bureau. Before any meteorological forecast can be made, the technician must collect a large amount of meteorological information.
Observations are made of different elements such as temperature, atmospheric pressure, visibility and clouds by using various aids such as computers, radar and automatic weather stations.
After a meteorological technician has checked all the information, it is sent to the most important weather offices with the use of meteorological codes. Sometimes observations are sent directly to air navigation and marine offices. Weather offices at all the major airports are manned by meteorological technicians who provide more than 300 flight forecasts daily to air navigation. Forecasts are also provided to agriculture, industry and the general public. Records are kept of all observations and added to a computerised data bank.
Meteorological technicians may work in weather stations at airports or at stations in isolated areas. They work shifts and some weather offices are open for 24 hours every day. Meteorological instrument technicians are responsible for the installation, maintenance and development of electronic and sophisticated equipment such as electronic airport systems and weather radar.