The Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science, part of the Earth Sciences Program that includes the collocated Earth System Sciences InterdisciplinaryCenter (ESSIC), offers graduate degrees in atmospheric and oceanic sciences, and climate and earth sciences. Our curriculum allows each student a choice ofone of three areas of concentration (Dynamics of the Atmosphere and Oceans, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, and Climate and Earth Sciences), with 6 core courses and about 20 elective courses. Most students devote their first year to the core courses, covering the three areas, and take a comprehensive exam duringthe second year. The Master degree program generally takes two years to complete, and the Ph. D program about 5 years.
The Department is particularly strong in Atmospheric Chemistry and Air Pollution, Mesoscale to Global Numerical Weather Prediction, Data Assimilation, EarthSciences and Climate, Physical Oceanography, Remote Sensing, and Dynamics with Predictability. These strengths are reinforced by strong collaborations leading to joint research topics with NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Maryland Departments of the Environment and of National Resources, the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) of the National Weather Service, the NOAA Satellite (NESDIS) and Air Research Laboratories, all of which are located near thecampus. Interdisciplinary programs with the Departments of Geology, Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Computer Sciences, Geography, the Marine-Estuarine Environmental Science, and Hydrology (within the School of Engineering) are also encouraged. The Department has two members of the National Academy ofEngineering and a member of the Academia Europaea.
Students and faculty members in the department enjoy access to extensive research facilities. The department operates a network of workstations and PCs, with access to both local (such an 32 node IBM SP2) and remotely accessed supercomputers, allowing state-of-the-art computing and interactive graphics. Real-time 4-km mesoscale forecasts for the region are routinely generated. The Department has an instrumented weather station and is a NOAA cooperative observing station. For air chemistry, surface sites and local flights in an instrumented research aircraft provide data on the composition and chemistry of gaseous andparticulate pollution as well as the role of long-range transport. The local office of the state climatologist provides an extensive data collection and research opportunities. In addition, the students enjoy access to the nearby national facilities such as Goddard, NCEP and NESDIS, together with their libraries.