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Faculty in the Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences carry out a wide range of research, organized under three main topics:
This area covers all aspects of "weather" research, including how weather varies on timescales from hours to months. Research emphasis is given to observational, theoretical, and numerical modeling studies of weather phenomena such as cyclones, fronts and jet streams in midlatitudes, and hurricanes, tropical waves and monsoons in the tropics. In response to a new sense of urgency about the impact of extreme weather events, there is an increased emphasis on studying the predictability of the weather on a range of timescales that are important for both the public and private sectors.
Climate Sciences within DAES and ASRC conducts research to understand the Earth's global and regional climate system and to assess the effects of climate change caused by both human activities and nature. We seek to improve climate predication capability with observational studies, analyses of observational data, and the development and application of climate models. Our expertise is rapidly growing and currently touches on the following areas: 1) tropical climate variability and hurricanes, 2) African monsoons, 3) regional and global climate changes, 4) hydroclimate and the global water cycle, 5) radiation and remote sensing, 5) land-air and air-sea interactions, 6) aerosol-climate interactions, 6) climate observations and data analysis, and 7) weather and climate interactions.
Atmospheric Chemistry is the study of the sources, sinks, and transformations of chemically active gases and particles in our atmosphere. Of particular interest to DAES researchers are the emissions and chemical processes that produce air pollution. Air pollution can have adverse effects on human health, can cause environmental degradation, and can affect climate and the earth's energy balance. These atmospheric and air pollution challenges can range from the global scale, as is the case with stratospheric ozone depletion; to a very local scale, as might be the case with high concentrations of wood smoke pollution pooling in a cold mountain valley on a winter night.
Research in these areas at DAES and ASRC involve the study of chemical and physical processes impacting the fate of anthropogenic and biogenic emissions and their effects on air quality, the climate system, and global cycles of atmospheric species. The atmospheric chemistry group specializes in measurements of atmospheric trace gases and aerosols; especially those involved in ozone production and airborne particulate matter. Another major area of research is aimed at developing instrumentation for the measurement of chemical composition of the atmosphere, primarily the more reactive species. We are also involved in modeling research to assess the historic relationships between planned and actual changes in emissions and pollutant concentrations, to identify avenues for the development of an objective, dynamic air quality planning framework. Another group is using sophisticated atmospheric chemical models to study the interactions between clouds and tropospheric chemistry.
The Department partners closely in its research with the Atmospheric Science Research Center (ASRC), with access to extensive resources at both ASRC and the National Weather Service, co-located on campus.
Opportunities for multi-disciplinary and cross-sector research collaboration are also expanding with the development of the Emerging Technology and Entrepreneurship Complex (E-TEC). This innovative center will be a hub for emerging technologies and entrepreneurial leadership. E-TEC will bring together academic research centers with industry partners to accelerate cooperative R&D, technology transfer, business development and workforce training.