Curriculum Development in Atmospheric Instrumentation for Undergraduates

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Tuesday, 31 January 2006: 4:45 PM
Curriculum Development in Atmospheric Instrumentation for Undergraduates
A402 (Georgia World Congress Center)
Melanie Wetzel, Desert Research Institute, Reno, NV; and W. P. Arnott

Presentation PDF (187.9 kB)

Modern observational techniques for atmospheric monitoring and research incorporate a growing variety and complexity of optical, acoustical, chemical and other sensing technologies. In-depth training with atmospheric instrumentation provides undergraduates with the skills to succeed in a variety of careers that rely on environmental measurements, as well as to pursue graduate study in a wide range of atmospheric research topics. A course in atmospheric instrumentation is being developed as part of a new B.S. degree program in Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Nevada, Reno. The degree curriculum is focused on atmospheric physics, and the new instrumentation course will incorporate activities in atmospheric sensor principles, signal processing, use of computers for instrument design and control, as well as creation and use of real-time web accessible instrumentation datasets. Hands-on training will introduce the students to a wide variety of instruments such as a direct-beam spectral radiometer, acoustic wind sensor, sodar, Fourier Transform infrared spectrometer, optical particle counters and gas concentration monitors. Lecture and practicum activities will include education on detector components, air sample collection techniques, physical principles of operation (both in situ instrumentation and remote sensing systems), sensor response functions, sources and treatment of error, calibration procedures, field network design, data collection programming, statistical treatment of datasets, and software for analysis and presentation of results. Student teams will carry out research projects that emphasize instrument design, detector characterization, and field measurement strategy.