Facing up to the challenges of global environmental change will be aided by the development of a skilled “climate workforce”, according to a new study by the American Meteorological Society (AMS) Policy Program.
The study is based on two AMS Policy Program workshops held in 2022. Experts from academia, government and the private sector convened to examine challenges and opportunities related to the use of climate knowledge within the workforce. The purpose of the study was to help provide a foundational understanding of future workforce needs in Earth system observations, science and services.
The report concluded that the weather, water and climate community will be essential in navigating the various physical and societal transformations that global environmental change will bring. As the need for Earth system observations, science and services expands, it is important to continue to identify and address emerging workforce needs in order for society to be well-equipped to meet the challenges of the coming decades.
Climate knowledge is increasingly embedded throughout a large portion of the workforce, the study found. The AMS report proposes a set of categories that relate climate knowledge to a wide range of workforce roles, whether that be in advancing understanding, translating knowledge for those who need it, or applying knowledge for new and effective uses.
The study also found that while there is no singular set of educational requirements for those in the climate workforce, a familiarity with interdisciplinary methodologies and techniques for community engagement, as well as data management skills, will likely be highly beneficial for professional success.
Paul Higgins, director of the AMS Policy Program, said, “Meeting the challenges of rapid global environmental change will take a transformation of the workforce. The changes in climate that people are causing are larger and faster than any humanity is known to have endured since we went from hunting and gathering to agriculture.”
“Societal well-being is intrinsically linked to a capable and well-supported workforce,” added Emma Tipton, Policy Program Fellow and author of the report. “Investing in the training and development of the climate workforce will enable all people to thrive in a rapidly changing world.”
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