digplanet beta 1: Athena
Share digplanet:


Applied sciences






















Atmospheric sciences is an umbrella term for the study of the atmosphere, its processes, the effects other systems have on the atmosphere, and the effects of the atmosphere on these other systems. Meteorology includes atmospheric chemistry and atmospheric physics with a major focus on weather forecasting. Climatology is the study of atmospheric changes (both long and short-term) that define average climates and their change over time, due to both natural and anthropogenic climate variability. Aeronomy is the study of the upper layers of the atmosphere, where dissociation and ionization are important. Atmospheric science has been extended to the field of planetary science and the study of the atmospheres of the planets of the solar system.

Experimental instruments used in atmospheric sciences include satellites, rocketsondes, radiosondes, weather balloons, and lasers.

The term aerology (from Greek ἀήρ, aēr, "air"; and -λογία, -logia) is sometimes used as an alternative term for the study of Earth's atmosphere. Early pioneers in the field include Léon Teisserenc de Bort and Richard Assmann.[1]

Atmospheric chemistry[edit]

Atmosphere composition diagram.svg
Main article: Atmospheric chemistry

Atmospheric chemistry is a branch of atmospheric science in which the chemistry of the Earth's atmosphere and that of other planets is studied. It is a multidisciplinary field of research and draws on environmental chemistry, physics, meteorology, computer modeling, oceanography, geology and volcanology and other disciplines. Research is increasingly connected with other areas of study such as climatology.

The composition and chemistry of the atmosphere is of importance for several reasons, but primarily because of the interactions between the atmosphere and living organisms. The composition of the Earth's atmosphere has been changed by human activity and some of these changes are harmful to human health, crops and ecosystems. Examples of problems which have been addressed by atmospheric chemistry include acid rain, photochemical smog and global warming. Atmospheric chemistry seeks to understand the causes of these problems, and by obtaining a theoretical understanding of them, allow possible solutions to be tested and the effects of changes in government policy evaluated.

Atmospheric dynamics[edit]

Atmospheric dynamics involves the study of observations and theory dealing with all motion systems of meteorological importance. Common topics studied include diverse phenomena such as thunderstorms, tornadoes, gravity waves, tropical cyclones, extratropical cyclones, jet streams, and global-scale circulations. The goal of dynamical studies is to explain the observed circulations on the basis of fundamental principles from physics. The objectives of such studies incorporate improving weather forecasting, developing methods for predicting seasonal and interannual climate fluctuations, and understanding the implications of human-induced perturbations (e.g., increased carbon dioxide concentrations or depletion of the ozone layer) on the global climate.[2]

Atmospheric physics[edit]

Main article: Atmospheric physics

Atmospheric physics is the application of physics to the study of the atmosphere. Atmospheric physicists attempt to model Earth's atmosphere and the atmospheres of the other planets using fluid flow equations, chemical models, radiation balancing, and energy transfer processes in the atmosphere and underlying oceans. In order to model weather systems, atmospheric physicists employ elements of scattering theory, wave propagation models, cloud physics, statistical mechanics and spatial statistics, each of which incorporate high levels of mathematics and physics. Atmospheric physics has close links to meteorology and climatology and also covers the design and construction of instruments for studying the atmosphere and the interpretation of the data they provide, including remote sensing instruments.

In the United Kingdom, atmospheric studies are underpinned by the Meteorological Office. Divisions of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) oversee research projects and weather modeling involving atmospheric physics. The U.S. National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center also carries out studies of the high atmosphere.

The Earth's magnetic field and the solar wind interact with the atmosphere, creating the ionosphere, Van Allen radiation belts, telluric currents, and radiant energy.


Regional impacts of warm ENSO episodes (El Niño).
Main article: Climatology

In contrast to meteorology, which studies short term weather systems lasting up to a few weeks, climatology studies the frequency and trends of those systems. It studies the periodicity of weather events over years to millennia, as well as changes in long-term average weather patterns, in relation to atmospheric conditions. Climatologists, those who practice climatology, study both the nature of climates – local, regional or global – and the natural or human-induced factors that cause climates to change. Climatology considers the past and can help predict future climate change.

Phenomena of climatological interest include the atmospheric boundary layer, circulation patterns, heat transfer (radiative, convective and latent), interactions between the atmosphere and the oceans and land surface (particularly vegetation, land use and topography), and the chemical and physical composition of the atmosphere. Related disciplines include astrophysics, atmospheric physics, chemistry, ecology, physical geography, geology, geophysics, glaciology, hydrology, oceanography, and volcanology.

Atmospheres on other celestial bodies[edit]

Earth's atmosphere

All of the Solar System's planets have atmospheres. This is because their gravity is strong enough to keep gaseous particles close to the surface. Larger gas giants are massive enough to keep large amounts of the light gases hydrogen and helium close by, while the smaller planets lose these gases into space.[3] The composition of the Earth's atmosphere is different from the other planets because the various life processes that have transpired on the planet have introduced free molecular oxygen.[4] Much of Mercury's atmosphere has been blasted away by the solar wind.[5] The only moon that has retained a dense atmosphere is Titan. There is a thin atmosphere on Triton, and a trace of an atmosphere on the Moon.

Planetary atmospheres are affected by the varying degrees of energy received from either the Sun or their interiors, leading to the formation of dynamic weather systems such as hurricanes, (on Earth), planet-wide dust storms (on Mars), an Earth-sized anticyclone on Jupiter (called the Great Red Spot), and holes in the atmosphere (on Neptune).[6] At least one extrasolar planet, HD 189733 b, has been claimed to possess such a weather system, similar to the Great Red Spot but twice as large.[7]

Hot Jupiters have been shown to be losing their atmospheres into space due to stellar radiation, much like the tails of comets.[8][9] These planets may have vast differences in temperature between their day and night sides which produce supersonic winds,[10] although the day and night sides of HD 189733b appear to have very similar temperatures, indicating that planet's atmosphere effectively redistributes the star's energy around the planet.[7]

Further information: See the individual articles on each planet or moon for information about their respective atmospheres.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ [1] Ultraviolet radiation in the solar system By Manuel Vázquez, Arnold Hanslmeier
  2. ^ University of Washington. Atmospheric Dynamics. Retrieved on 1 June 2007.
  3. ^ Sheppard, S. S.; Jewitt, D.; Kleyna, J. (2005). "An Ultradeep Survey for Irregular Satellites of Uranus: Limits to Completeness". The Astronomical Journal 129: 518. doi:10.1086/426329.  edit
  4. ^ Zeilik, Michael A.; Gregory, Stephan A. (1998). Introductory Astronomy & Astrophysics (4th ed.). Saunders College Publishing. p. 67. ISBN 0-03-006228-4. 
  5. ^ Hunten D. M., Shemansky D. E., Morgan T. H. (1988), The Mercury atmosphere, In: Mercury (A89-43751 19–91). University of Arizona Press, pp. 562–612
  6. ^ Harvey, Samantha (1 May 2006). "Weather, Weather, Everywhere?". NASA. Archived from the original on 8 August 2007. Retrieved 9 September 2007. 
  7. ^ a b Knutson, Heather A.; Charbonneau, David; Allen, Lori E.; Fortney, Jonathan J. (2007). "A map of the day-night contrast of the extrasolar planet HD 189733b". Nature 447 (7141): 183–6. arXiv:0705.0993. Bibcode:2007Natur.447..183K. doi:10.1038/nature05782. PMID 17495920.  (Related press release)
  8. ^ Weaver, D.; Villard, R. (31 January 2007). "Hubble Probes Layer-cake Structure of Alien World's Atmosphere". University of Arizona, Lunar and Planetary Laboratory (Press Release). Archived from the original on 8 August 2007. Retrieved 15 August 2007. 
  9. ^ Ballester, Gilda E.; Sing, David K.; Herbert, Floyd (2007). "The signature of hot hydrogen in the atmosphere of the extrasolar planet HD 209458b". Nature 445 (7127): 511–4. Bibcode:2007Natur.445..511B. doi:10.1038/nature05525. PMID 17268463. 
  10. ^ Harrington, Jason; Hansen, Brad M.; Luszcz, Statia H.; Seager, Sara (2006). "The phase-dependent infrared brightness of the extrasolar planet Andromeda b". Science 314 (5799): 623–6. arXiv:astro-ph/0610491. Bibcode:2006Sci...314..623H. doi:10.1126/science.1133904. PMID 17038587.  (Related press release)

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atmospheric_sciences — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.
241813 videos foundNext > 

Careers In Atmospheric Science

Learn about the exciting and fun careers need to support atmospheric field campaigns! Find out more about Careers in Atmospheric Science - https://www.eol.uc...

Atmospheric Science Majors Find Success on Many Fronts

For UAlbany graduates with a degree in Atmospheric Science, not even the sky is the limit. A wealth of weather-related career opportunities are within reach ...

What is Atmospheric Science?

Take a closer look at what our Atmospheric Science program entails!

Tour the Dept. of Ocean, Earth & Atmospheric Sciences

The Department of Ocean, Earth & Atmospheric Sciences acquires and disseminates knowledge of the earth system, including the relationships among the biologic...

Yellowstone: A High Performance Architecture for the Atmospheric Sciences

Presented by Irfan Elahi, Head of Supercomputer Services, National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in the Mellanox Booth during Supercomputing Confere...

FaceTime with U: Jim Steenburgh, Atmospheric Sciences Dept. Chair

It was an epic year for snowfall in the Wasatch Mountains, with more than 700 inches recorded at the Cottonwood Canyons' resorts. We chatted with Department ...

School of Earth and Environment, Environmental and Atmospheric Sciences

Students share their experience of studying Environmental and Atmospheric Sciences at the School of Earth and Environment, Leeds.

Introduction to Our Atmosphere

This HD dramatic video choreographed to powerful music introduces the viewer/student to our Atmosphere and its impact on our lives. It is designed as a motiv...

A32D. New Atmospheric Sciences Fellows Presentations II

Squall Line Development: An Educational Module for the Atmospheric Sciences

Contribution by D. R. Johnson; T. H. Achtor; D. A. Edman; R. S. Schneider; and C. H. Wash. Produced by the Space Science and Engineering Center, University o...

241813 videos foundNext > 

1297 news items

Daily Mail

Daily Mail
Sat, 30 Aug 2014 15:06:16 -0700

Judith Curry, professor of earth and atmospheric sciences at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, said last night: 'The Arctic sea ice spiral of death seems to have reversed.' Those who just a few years ago were warning of ice-free summers by ...

Tech Times

Tech Times
Sun, 31 Aug 2014 20:45:00 -0700

"For the southwestern U.S., I'm not optimistic about avoiding real megadroughts," says Toby Ault, Cornell assistant professor of earth and atmospheric sciences and lead author of the paper. "As we add greenhouse gases into the atmosphere - and we haven ...

UW Today

UW Today
Thu, 28 Aug 2014 13:48:45 -0700

David Battisti, a UW professor of atmospheric sciences, was recognized for his work on climate variability. Battisti earned his doctorate in atmospheric sciences at the UW in 1988, then went to the University of Wisconsin before returning to the UW as ...
Washington Post (blog)
Sun, 31 Aug 2014 03:01:09 -0700

He earned an atmospheric sciences degree at UNC Asheville and has been a meteorologist in the energy weather field with MDA Information Systems in Gaithersburg. Rick works as a healthcare analyst for a contractor that supports the VHA. « Video: TV ...
The Spokesman Review
Sun, 31 Aug 2014 03:18:45 -0700

Atmospheric sciences professor Cliff Mass of the University of Washington summed up the situation on his blog earlier this month. He compared this summer to a midrange scenario for global warming, and said “this is like advancing 30 to 50 years into ...
Daily Press
Sat, 30 Aug 2014 14:33:45 -0700

Also honored during the ceremony was James Coakley, professor of atmospheric sciences at Oregon State University in Corvallis, who conducts research at NASA Langley. Coakley was awarded a Distinguished Public Service Medal.
The Week Magazine
Sat, 30 Aug 2014 13:03:45 -0700

... that if climate change continues at its current rate, the drought affecting the Southwest could become much worse. "I am not trying to say this is imminent," Toby Ault, assistant professor of earth and atmospheric sciences at Cornell, said. "But ...
Summit County Citizens Voice
Wed, 27 Aug 2014 20:33:45 -0700

“For the southwestern U.S., I'm not optimistic about avoiding real megadroughts,” said Toby Ault, Cornell assistant professor of earth and atmospheric sciences and lead author of the paper. “As we add greenhouse gases into the atmosphere – and we haven ...

Oops, we seem to be having trouble contacting Twitter

Talk About Atmospheric sciences

You can talk about Atmospheric sciences with people all over the world in our discussions.

Support Wikipedia

A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia. Please add your support for Wikipedia!