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.
Degree: BSc with appropriate subjects - most universities. The course, Geography, Geoinformatics and Meteorology can be taken at UP, Soil-, Crop- and Climate Sciences - UFS
The Department of Environmental Affairs employs meteorological technicians. Full salary is received during in-service training and a contract must be signed with the Department of Environmental Affairs to work for them for four years after the completion of training.
Meteorological Instrument Technician
Meteorological instrument technicians work with sophisticated meteorological instruments and are responsible for developing, installing and maintaining the computer systems, radar, automatic weather stations and electronic airport systems that meteorological technicians use in gathering information for weather forecasts.
Instrument technicians liaise frequently with meteorological technicians and they work in a team to gather information in order to achieve a high standard of weather forecasts that are as accurate as possible.
Diploma: Prospective meteorological instrument technicians follow the N.Dip. Electrical Engineering: Light Current, and then the BTech Electrical Engineering: Light Current - CUT and TVET Colleges.
Dept of Environmental Affairs
Tel: (012) 290-2930
Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism
Tel: (012) 310-3661 Fax: (012) 322-0082
P O Box 395
Tel: (012) 841-2911 Fax: (012) 349-1153
Bethlehem Weather Office
Private Bag X15
Tel: (058) 303-5571/2 Fax: (058) 303-2352
South African Weather Service:
Irene Weather Office
Private Bag X 08
Tel: (012) 665-1591/2/3/4/5/6 Fax: (012) 665-1594