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Did You Know

Professor Rich Collins works with students at the Lidar Research Lab at Poker Flat Research Range to probe the atmosphere for temperature, density and concentration of species. He also teaches an online “Weather and Climate of Alaska” course for undergraduates, which allows students to become weather forecasters.

Department of Atmospheric Sciences – graduate program only


The climate of the Atmospheric Sciences Department is balmy because graduate students are heating things up with their research. For instance, Alaska was bereft of climate zones until a graduate student took the lead several years ago and worked with federal agencies to study and delineate the zones. Another graduate student in the same program worked with rural coastal communities to help with sea ice forecasting.

This graduate program offers students a unique chance to study the role of the polar atmosphere within the earth system. Students can also study in a place that is at the forefront of climate change and is leading the way in arctic research.

Our faculty members study the physical, chemical and dynamical processes of the atmosphere in polar regions and in other areas across the globe. Our students can engage in exciting field experiments, apply theoretical concepts and use cutting-edge modeling to understand our atmosphere better.

Why study atmospherics sciences with us in Alaska?

  • Studying in Alaska allows you a front and center seat to climate change
  • You’ll be viewing the atmosphere from the polar (ad)vantage point.
  • Understanding the polar atmosphere within the Earth system is vital in a time when climate change is casting ripples of concern across the world.
  • Our interests cover a broad spectrum of topics in atmospheric sciences, with research results often bearing directly on society and issues surrounding climate variability and change.

Current research involving our faculty

  • atmospheric chemistry/biogeochemistry
  • climate modeling
  • cloud and aerosol physics
  • mesoscale modeling
  • numerical weather prediction
  • aviation weather

  • atmospheric chemistry/biogeochemistry
  • climate modeling
  • cloud and aerosol physics
  • mesoscale modeling
  • numerical weather prediction
  • aviation weather

Our classes allow you to explore

Cloud physics
Atmospheric Chemistry
Atmospheric Radiation
Atmospheric Dynamics
Computational Meteorology
Oceanic-Atmospheric Gravity Waves

Environmental Fate and Transport
Synoptic Analysis and Forecasting
Geophysical Fluid Dynamics
Atmospheric Remote Sensing
Mesoscale Dynamics
And more …

Some questions researchers are asking

  • What is the role of climate in recent changes to arctic tundra vegetation and climate glaciers
  • What is the role of global arming in extreme climate and weather events
  • What is the aeronomy of the summer polar atmosphere and noctilucent clouds

Institutes, programs and labs that foster our student and faculty research

Geophysical Institute
International Arctic Research Center

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