Education | VOL. 14, ISSUE 86, September-October 2013 |

A Career in Climate Science

Climate Change has become one of the most challenging concerns in the contemporary world. As reported in mid-September this year, the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), after analysing climate models has predicted that India is likely to be subjected to extreme rainfalls and discriminate weather conditions in the future. This will pose enhanced danger to vulnerable areas. The areas closer to Himalayan glaciers are cases in point. The emerging challenges and issues to be tackled are being recognised worldwide and the Nobel peace prize to the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is one such manifestation. There are umpteen opportunities if you would like to be a part of the community of scientists and engineers who deal with climate variability and rapid climate changes.

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Q. Where does a student aspiring to be climate scientist begin?

Students aspiring to be a climate scientist in India could start with a bachelor degree in science or engineering with good exposure to physics and mathematics and then move on to take up a post graduate programme in climate science or a related area. In case you are aspiring to go abroad you can take up various interesting undergraduate programmes in meteorology/atmospheric science/climate science and then proceed to a post graduate programme in the chosen field.


Q. What are the different academic courses available in India and internationally to a student?

In India, universities offer only post graduate courses (MSc/MTech) relating to meteorology/atmospheric science/climate science. As of now, bachelor degree in meteorology/atmospheric science/climate science is not offered by any academic institute in India. So one can pursue a bachelor degree in science/engineering with good exposure to physics and mathematics and can later take up a post graduate programme in the related area of climate science. As far as academic courses abroad are concerned, many universities in US, UK, Europe and Australia offer undergraduate courses (bachelor  of  science- BS) in earth and climate science, atmospheric sciences and meteorology. In India, postgraduate and doctoral courses are available at the Indian Institute of Technologies (IITs) in Delhi, Kanpur, Mumbai, Kharagpur, Madras; Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore; public universities such as Banaras Hindu University, Cochin University of Science and Technology, Andhra University, Jadavpur University, Calcutta University, Punjab Agricultural University, Chaudhury Charan Singh University, Hisar; Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore as well as at private universities such as The Energy Research Institute; Amity and SRM etc.

Q. What are the different options available to a student once s/he completes the course work?

The multi-disciplinary nature of the subject opens up quite a few avenues. The Indian government has recently opened up a Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) which will include atmospheric, oceanic and earth sciences related to climate change. There are other organisations under the Ministry such as the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) Pune, Indian National Centre for Ocean Information System (INCOIS) Hyderabad, newly established Climate Change Centre at Pune, National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts New Delhi (NCMWRF), Noida, National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research Goa (NCAOR), Goa, along with other organisations such as the Indian Space Research Organisation and the National Institute of Oceanography where one can apply for various administrative and academic posts. Other appropriate ministries are Department of Science and Technology, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research and Defense Research and Development Organisation.

Academic institutions such as IITs, IISc and several other universities announce various openings. In addition, there are new private companies in the area of wind and solar energy development as well as environmental issues which are looking for people trained in climate science. There are networks such as Indian Climate Research Network, a collaboration of Centre for Science and Environment in New Delhi, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, Indian Institute of Technology Madras and Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore which can be contacted for relevant information.

Latest opportunities include positions with environmental consulting firms, planning agencies, energy firms, insurance agencies, non-governmental organisations and governmental agencies addressing climate issues.

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