International Journal of Biometeorology

, Volume 61, Supplement 1, pp 93–106 | Cite as

Supporting sustainability initiatives through biometeorology education and training

  • Michael J. AllenEmail author
  • Jennifer Vanos
  • David M. Hondula
  • Daniel J. Vecellio
  • David Knight
  • Hamed Mehdipoor
  • Rebekah Lucas
  • Chris Fuhrmann
  • Hanna Lokys
  • Angela Lees
  • Sheila Tavares Nascimento
  • Andrew C. W. Leung
  • David R. PerkinsIV
Special Issue: IJB 60th anniversary (invited only)


The International Society of Biometeorology (ISB) has covered significant breadth and depth addressing fundamental and applied societal and environmental challenges in the last 60 years. Biometeorology is an interdisciplinary science connecting living organisms to their environment, but there is very little understanding of the existence and placement of this discipline within formal educational systems and institutions. It is thus difficult to project the ability of members of the biometeorological community—especially the biometeorologists of the future—to help solve global challenges. In this paper, we ask: At present, how we are training people to understand and think about biometeorology? We also ask: What are the current tools and opportunities in which biometeorologists might address future challenges? Finally, we connect these two questions by asking: What type of new training and skill development is needed to better educate “biometeorologists of the future” to more effectively address the future challenges? To answer these questions, we provide quantitative and qualitative evidence from an educationally focused workshop attended by new professionals in biometeorology. We identify four common themes (thermal comfort and exposures, agricultural productivity, air quality, and urbanization) that biometeorologists are currently studying and that we expect to be important in the future based on their alignment with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Review of recent literature within each of these thematic areas highlights a wide array of skill sets and perspectives that biometeorologists are already using. Current and new professionals within the ISB have noted highly varying and largely improvised educational pathways into the field. While variability and improvisation may be assets in promoting flexibility, adaptation, and interdisciplinarity, the lack of formal training in biometeorology raises concerns about the extent to which continuing generations of scholars will identify and engage with the community of scholarship that the ISB has developed over its 60-year history.


Biometeorology Interdisciplinary Education Sustainable Development Goals 



The authors would like to thank the International Society of Biometeorology and Tromp Foundation for funding the 2nd Student and New Professional Workshop Enhancing the Teaching and Learning of Biometeorology in Higher Education. Special thanks to Dr. Scott Sheridan for his mentorship and insight into the discipline and Dr. Francis Adams, Dr. Emily Eddins, and the Old Dominion University College of Arts and Letters for onsite support. The authors also thank two anonymous reviewers for their constructive feedback that improved the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© ISB 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael J. Allen
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jennifer Vanos
    • 2
    • 3
  • David M. Hondula
    • 4
  • Daniel J. Vecellio
    • 5
  • David Knight
    • 6
  • Hamed Mehdipoor
    • 7
  • Rebekah Lucas
    • 8
  • Chris Fuhrmann
    • 9
  • Hanna Lokys
    • 10
  • Angela Lees
    • 11
  • Sheila Tavares Nascimento
    • 12
  • Andrew C. W. Leung
    • 13
  • David R. PerkinsIV
    • 14
  1. 1.Department of Political Science and GeographyOld Dominion UniversityNorfolkUSA
  2. 2.Climate, Atmospheric Science, and Physical Oceanography Department Scripps Institution of OceanographyUC San DiegoSan DiegoUSA
  3. 3.Department of Family Medicine and Public Health, School of MedicineUC San DiegoSan DiegoUSA
  4. 4.School of Geographical Sciences and Urban PlanningArizona State UniversityTempeUSA
  5. 5.Climate Science Lab, Department of GeographyTexas A&M UniversityTexas, USA
  6. 6.Department of Engineering Education, Virginia TechVirginiaUSA
  7. 7.Department of Geo-Information Processing, Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC)University of TwenteEnschedeThe Netherlands
  8. 8.School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation SciencesUniversity of BirminghamBirminghamUK
  9. 9.Department of GeosciencesMississippi State UniversityMississippi StateUSA
  10. 10.Climatology Group, Institute of Landscape EcologyUniversity of MünsterMünsterGermany
  11. 11.School of Agriculture and Food Sciences, Animal Science GroupThe University of QueenslandGattonAustralia
  12. 12.Agronomy and Veterinary MedicineUniversity of BrasíliaBrasíliaBrazil
  13. 13.Climate Laboratory, Department of Physical & Environmental SciencesUniversity of Toronto ScarboroughTorontoCanada
  14. 14.Center for Climate Change CommunicationGeorge Mason UniversityFairfaxUSA

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