Trajectories and reconversions of the Center for Weather Forecasting and Climate Studies (CPTEC)

Forming the meteorological science elite in Brazil


  • Thales de Andrade Federal University of São Carlos
  • Paulo Escada National Institute for Space Research


Brazil, climatology, climate change, public weather service, numerical weather prediction, reconversion, Brazilian meteorology, scientific elites


The process that created the Center for Weather Forecasting and Climate Studies (CPTEC) in Brazil in the 1980s and 90s, which introduced Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) models, was also a moment for reconversion of a meteorological science elite in the country. This double-sided process occurred in view of a series of favorable historical conditions, such as the institutionalization of space research, as well as of the implementation of new scientific policies in Brazil. CPTEC was formed by young scientists from the National Institute for Space Research (INPE) who had recently obtained their doctoral degrees abroad. While defending the modernization of Brazilian meteorology, through the creation of this new meteorological center, these scientists, based on their trajectories and attributes of scientific excellence, constituted a group of science elite. The introduction of research on climate change would be a new opportunity for recognition of part of these researchers as members of this elite. This study describes how the trajectories of certain scientists shaped their careers, producing what we call reconversion of science elites, as well as the scientific field in the implementation of the first NWP center in Brazil.