Job opportunities for undergraduate meteorology students are decreasing. An innovative course in applied climatology has been designed and tested to help prepare such students for the career options developing in the private sector. Students are trained to use their meteorological knowledge and analytical skills to work interactively with weather-sensitive users in utilities, agribusinesses, water-resource agencies, recreation firms, and transportation companies. The students develop and test climate relationship-decision models in a real-world environment for these organizations. The models they develop bridge existing information “gaps” between climatologists and weather-sensitive managers who 1) do not understand climate information, and/or 2) do not know how to apply it to their environmental or economic decisions. As a result, students receive applied research experience and important “education-to-career” opportunities; that is, students can apply what is learned through direct and often beneficial interactions with decision makers. These efforts address problems similar to those they likely will encounter after employment. Other long-term objectives of this course are to develop a more effective information flow between climatologists and weather-sensitive users and to assist climatologists by identifying the types of needs for climate information.

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