How to Select a Qualified Weather Expert

Contributed by Kevin Arnold, writer for CompuWeather, & Steve Roberts, CCM, President & Forensic Weather Expert

You understand the need for a qualified forensic meteorologist to testify about the weather and to provide you with an accurate analysis of weather conditions at your location of incident.

You also understand the value that a forensic weather expert brings to your case by offering objective and reliable analysis to help you make the right decisions

But what distinguishes one weather expert from another?

How do you know which “experts” you can trust?

Before selecting a forensic meteorologist for your case, here are some important criteria to consider.

Education. A qualified weather expert should hold at least a Bachelor of Science degree (BS) in meteorology or atmospheric science. Look for degrees from colleges and universities that provide intensive four-year programs in meteorology.

Certification and Awards. The American Meteorological Society (AMS) grants a Certified Consulting Meteorologist (CCM) certification that is considered the gold standard in the industry.  The certification process is rigorous, requiring both written and oral examinations in order to meet high standards of competence and ability.  CCM candidates must demonstrate not only mastery of technical knowledge but also strong character and ethics in the field of meteorology. In order to maintain certification status, an active CCM must complete continuing professional development credits in the field and submit them to the society for review every five years.

Affiliations with Weather Societies. In addition to AMS, organizations like the National Weather Association and the Association of Certified Meteorologists have created professional groups for members to continue their training and share knowledge with their peers.  Membership in these groups indicates that a meteorologist is active in the field and engaged with a network of other experts.

Experience. There is no substitute for professional experience in forensic meteorology. You’ll want to consult with a weather expert who has extensive experience both analyzing weather data and testifying in the courtroom and at depositions. A weather expert who understands the legal process helps avoid miscues so you can feel confident that their testimony will be accepted by the courts and have the intended impact.

Character and Integrity. It’s important to establish a relationship with a weather expert before deciding to work with them. A good meteorologist should provide straightforward and unbiased analysis of your case regardless of whether that analysis is in your favor. Avoid so-called experts who seem willing to bend the truth or are too eager to offer a favorable opinion that may not be supported by science.

Give CompuWeather a call at (845) 227-8500. Speak with our Certified Consulting Meteorologists and see how their expertise can add value to your legal case or claim.