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The Major Program

Atmospheric science is the study of the air that surrounds the planet. It includes all weather phenomena and climate including global and regional climate change, the chemistry of trace constituents and cloud and particle formation, interactions between ecosystems and the atmosphere, as well as quantitative studies of climate extremes and severe weather, including droughts, floods, hurricanes and tornadoes. The study of the impacts of human and other biotic activity on the quality of the air we breathe are important topics in the major..

The Program. Modern atmospheric science is a quantitative science that is reflected in the major's curriculum. In addition to the study of daily weather events, the program deals with fundamental dynamical and physical processes that involve the general circulation of the atmosphere; turbulent mass and energy transfer at the planetary surface as well as within the free atmosphere; the transfer of solar and terrestrial radiation throughout the atmosphere; atmospheric interaction with the biosphere; climate variations; and developments in remote sensing using satellites with modern meteorological instrumentation. In addition, the program has significant expertise in the areas of air quality and its related atmospheric chemistry. As well as providing a broad background in meteorology, the major includes an informal minor area to be chosen from mathematics, computer science, environmental studies, resource management or a physical or biological science.

Internships and Career Opportunities. Atmospheric science students have participated in internships with the California Air Resources Board, various county Air Pollution Control Districts, the National Weather Service, and performing research. Job opportunities include: national weather services, weather forecasting for broadcast media or private forecasting firms, environmental consulting firms (such as environmental impact reports, wind farm siting), government agencies at all levels from local (air quality districts, planning departments, etc.) to state (Air Resources Board) to national (NOAA), and companies whose operations are impacted by weather (such as airlines, futures markets). About half of our graduates continue their education by seeking the M.S. or Ph.D. degree in atmospheric science or related areas.

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Updated: November 21, 2017 12:17 PM