Atmospheric science is the study of the air that surrounds the planet. It includes all weather phenomena and climate including the chemistry of trace constituents and cloud and particle formation, as well as quantitative studies of severe weather events such as hurricanes and tornadoes. It includes the study of the impacts of human and other biotic activity on the quality of the air we breathe. Changes in regional and global climate are also central to this field of study.
Modern meteorology is a quantitative science that is becoming increasingly computer dependent. 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 Alternatives
Atmospheric science students have participated in internships with the California Air Resources Board, various county Air Pollution Control Districts, and the National Weather Service. 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.
For further details on degree requirements, please select the degree of interest below: