[holding answer 24 October 2007]: At the current time, the Met Office has some 400 forecasting and observing staff working directly in weather forecast production in the UK. The Met Office also has a small number of forecasters and observers working in overseas locations. In addition there are some 300 scientists working in meteorological research and development. There are also a number of staff working in management and support roles who have a meteorological background.
The Royal Navy currently has 136 HM (hydrographic, meteorological, oceanographic) officers and 13 warrant officers and chief petty officers who have received some form of training as meteorological forecasters. Only a proportion of these will be directly employed on forecasting duties at any one time. In addition to the trained forecasters, the RN has around 70 junior and senior rates trained as meteorological observers/forecasters’ assistants, most of whom will be employed on forecasting duties at any one time.
In addition to those working at the Met Office and in the Royal Navy, the Royal Meteorological Society estimates there are approximately 550 meteorologists working in academia and industry throughout the UK.
[holding answer 24 October 2007]: On current plans the requirement for meteorologists both at the Met Office and in the Royal Navy is likely to remain broadly constant in the future although the requirement is kept under regular review.
I am unable to comment on the future requirement for meteorologists working outside of MOD.