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Meteorology is the science and study of the Earth’s atmosphere and its interaction with the Earth and all forms of life.

It embraces a wide range of time and space scales, from the tiniest turbulent eddies, which survive as recognisable entities for only a second or two, to the variations in ice cover and the global climatic fluctuations, which extend over millennia.

It seeks to understand and to predict for the benefit of mankind the behaviour of weather, the climate and the atmosphere in general, from the surfaces of land and sea to the edge of space.
Meteorology, to the average person, is responsible for day to day things (such as forecasting if it's going to rain tomorrow) or large scale projects (global warming).

If you are planning on becoming a pilot, one of the required classes in ground school is Meteorology based. It is usually the longest chapter in the course, because there is so much information to sift through.

Why does a pilot need to know about the weather?

Well, the pilot's flying through the weather! It would be nice to know what you're up against. Did you know, for example, that thunderclouds contain so much turbulence that a small aircraft can literally have it's wings torn off?

The main reason for pilot knowledge in weather systems is, however, to make each pilot a miniature weather man. Having gone through the training myself, I can now look up at the sky and give you a 6 hour forecast, and an educated guess at tomorrow. This is important for a pilot, because if you were flying VFR, it would suck if you suddenly became surrounded by clouds and couldn't land. (When flying VFR, you cannot fly through clouds legally)

An aviation related meteorology course usually has the following sub-chapters of study:
  • Pressure Systems
  • Temperature, Humidity, and Lapse Rates
  • Air Masses and Fronts
  • Precipitation, Icing, Fog
  • Reading the Sequences (knowing how to interpret aviation weather reports)

  • Sources: Definition of meteorology as provided by the BBC.