Atmospheric Sciences

Atmospheric Science is the study of the layer of air that surrounds the planet. It includes all weather phenomena, such as frontal systems and clouds, as well as severe weather events such as hurricanes and tornadoes. Concerns regarding the effects of human activity on the quality of the air we breathe, and on possible global warming are also central to this field of study.

Modern meteorology is a quantitative science that is becoming increasingly computer oriented. In addition to the study of daily weather events, the program deals with fundamental physical processes that involve the general circulation of the atmosphere; mass and energy transfers at the planetary surface and within the atmosphere; solar and terrestrial radiation; atmospheric interaction with the biosphere, climate variations; air pollution meteorology; and developments in modern meteorological instrumentation. 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.

The Graduate Group in Atmospheric Science offers both the M.S. and Ph.D. degree programs. The student can place emphasis on graduate work in one or more of the following fields: atmospheric chemistry and air quality, biometeorology and micrometeorology, mesoscale and boundary-layer meteorology, large-scale and climate dynamics, computational geosciences and extreme weather.

The diverse and extensive backgrounds of the faculty allow opportunities for interdisciplinary training and research.

Preparation. The Group encourages applications from all interested students with backgrounds in the physical or natural sciences. Basic qualifications for students entering the Atmospheric Science graduate program include mathematics to the level of vector calculus and differential equations, and one year of college-level physics. Flexibility may be allowed for students with high academic potential, but it is expected that deficiencies in preparatory material and in key undergraduate atmospheric science courses be completed within the first year of graduate study.

For more info regarding the program and admission requirements, please contact Shila Ruiz, Graduate Program Coordinator, at

Graduate Group Chair. Shu-hua Chen (530-752-1822,

Graduate Advisor. Paul Ullrich (530-400-9817,

Graduate Admissions Officer. Ian Faloona 530-752-2044