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Undergraduate Bulletin 2008-2009

Program in Atmospheric Science


Professors Emeritae/i
 Duncan C. Blanchard, Ph.D. *
  Massachusetts Institute of Technology
 Ulrich Czapski, Ph.D.
  Hamburg University
 Arthur Z. Loesch, Ph.D.
  University of Chicago
 John E. Molinari, Ph.D.
  Florida State University
 Volker A. Mohnen, Ph.D.
  University of Munich
 Jon T. Scott, Ph.D.
  University of Wisconsin

Distinguished Professor
 Lance F. Bosart, Ph.D.
  Massachusetts Institute of Technology

 Kenneth L. Demerjian, Ph.D. (Ray Falconer Endowed Chair)
  Ohio State University
 Daniel Keyser, Ph.D.
  Pennsylvania State University
 Christopher Thorncroft, Ph.D.
  (Department Chair)
  University of Reading

Associate Professors
 Vincent P. Idone, Ph.D.
  University at Albany
 Robert G. Keesee, Ph.D.
  University of Colorado
 Karen Mohr, Ph.D.
  University of Texas, Austin

Assistant Professors
 Paul E. Roundy, Ph.D.
  Pennsylvania State University
 Ryan Torn, Ph.D.
   University of Washington, Seattle
 Mathias Vuille, Ph.D.
   University of Bern, Switzerland

Associated Faculty
 David R. Fitzjarrald, Ph.D. *
  University of Virginia
 Lee C. Harrison, Ph.D. *
  University of Washington, Seattle
 David Knight, Ph.D.
  University of Washington, Seattle
 G. Garland Lala, Ph.D. *
  University at Albany
 Michael Landin, M.S.
  University at Albany
 Ross A. Lazear, M.S.
  University of Wisconsin, Madison
 Qilong Min, Ph.D. *
  University of Alaska, Fairbanks
 Scott D. Miller *
   University of California, Irvine
 Richard R. Perez, Ph.D. *
University at Albany
 James J. Schwab, Ph.D. *
  Harvard University
 Christopher J. Walcek, Ph.D. *
  University of California, Los Angeles
 Wei-Chyung Wang, D.E.S. *
  Columbia University
 Kevin Tyle, M.S.
  University at Albany
 Fangqun Yu, Ph.D. *
  University of California, Los Angeles
 Qi Zhang, Ph.D. *
  University of California, Davis

Visiting Professors
 Michael J. Reeder, Ph.D.
  (resident at Monash University)
 Morris Weisman, Ph.D.
  (resident at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, NCAR)
 W. James Steenburgh, Ph.D.
  (resident at University of Utah)

*Primary appointment with the Atmospheric Sciences Research Center as Research Professors.

Adjuncts (estimated): 1
Teaching Assistants (estimated): 10

The Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences and the Atmospheric Sciences Research Center (ASRC) provide the University with the state’s largest program in atmospheric science and meteorology.

The undergraduate program provides a broad background in three fundamental areas of atmospheric science: synoptic (observations and weather forecasting), dynamic (theory and computer modeling), and physical (lightning, acid rain, cloud physics, atmospheric chemistry). Because the department has a highly active research program in these areas, many opportunities exist for undergraduate research projects and part-time jobs.

The first two years of the program provide basic training in mathematics, physics, chemistry, and introductory atmospheric science. All students are encouraged to take one or two 100-level courses for enjoyment and experience (these count as electives but not as courses for the major). In the junior and senior years, requirements in the fundamental areas of atmospheric science are combined with electives, including advanced courses on atmospheric physics, atmospheric dynamics, weather forecasting, tropical meteorology and hurricanes, solar energy, air pollution, climatology, and computer applications. Highly qualified students are eligible to enter an accelerated degree program in their junior year that leads to a combined B.S./M.S. degree.

Many opportunities exist for students to become involved in department activities. Each semester, numerous students take part in an internship program with the on-campus office of the National Weather Service (NWS), gaining experience with weather forecasting and familiarity with the responsibilities of a NWS meteorologist.

In addition, a weather forecasting competition is held in the department each semester while classes are in session. The forecasting, along with concurrent weather discussions led by a faculty member, are open to all undergraduate majors. Undergraduates hired part-time and during the summer through research grants have the chance to work closely with a faculty member while contributing to current meteorological research. The Eastern New York Chapter of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) meets regularly and provides speakers of general interest on a variety of meteorological topics. Through these and other activities, the department offers exciting and varied opportunities to any student curious about the science of the atmosphere around us.

Atmospheric Science B.S.

Graduates obtain employment in weather forecasting, environmental engineering, radio and TV broadcasting, scientific consulting, and other private firms; in university departments and research laboratories; and in federal and state agencies such as the National Weather Service, U.S. Air Force, and NY State Department of Environmental Conservation. Graduate school and the pursuit of an advanced degree is an expected option for our graduates. (The department offers full financial support and a complete tuition waiver to most students accepted into our graduate program.)

Degree Requirements for the Major in Atmospheric Science

General Program B.S.: A combined major and minor sequence including A Atm 210 (or 210Z), 211, 315, 320, 321, 350, 410, 411; at least  12 additional credits from A Atm 305 and higher level courses as advised; A Chm 120 or 130, ; A Mat 111 or 112 or 118, 113 or 119, 214, 311; A Phy 140 or 141, 145, 150 or 151, 240 or 241. No more than 6 credits from A Atm 490, 497, 498 or 499 may be applied toward the major requirements; further, a maximum of 3 credits from A Atm 490 will apply.

A solid foundation in physics and mathematics is recommended for all students planning to major in atmospheric science. It is recommended that all students considering this major meet with a representative of the department before each of the freshman and sophomore registration sessions.

Departmental Honors Program
Students who have by the end of their fourth semester attained a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.25 and a grade point average of at least 3.5 in courses required of the major in atmospheric science may apply to the department chair for the program leading to a B.S. degree with honors in atmospheric science. Applications must be submitted before the end of the first semester of the student’s junior year and must be accompanied by letters of recommendation from at least two faculty members.

To be admitted to the program, a student must have completed three semesters of physics (A Phy 140 or 141, 145, 150 or 151, 240 or 241), three semesters of mathematics (A Mat 111 or 112 or 118, 113 or 119, 214), and must be enrolled in or have completed A Atm 315. These requirements may be altered, upon request, for qualified transfer students. At the end of the junior year, the student’s program will be reviewed by the Honors Committee to see if satisfactory progress is being made.

To be eligible for a degree with honors, students must complete a minimum of 74 credits specified as follows: (1) the physics, mathematics, and chemistry requirements of the major; (2) the core sequence in atmospheric science (A Atm 210 or 210Z, 211, 315, 320, 321, 350, 410 and 411) plus any three A Atm courses at the 400 or 500 level; (3) a coherent core of three upper-division courses in any discipline besides atmospheric science; and (4) 6 credits of A Atm 499 taken over at least two semesters culminating in a significant undergraduate thesis and an honors seminar in the student’s final semester. Students in the program must maintain both a minimum grade point average of 3.25 overall and 3.5 in atmospheric science courses taken to satisfy major requirements during the junior and senior years.

Upon completion of the requirements, the honors committee will make its recommendation to the faculty to grant the degree with honors in atmospheric science based upon the candidate’s (1) academic record, (2) research project report, (3) honors seminar, and (4) faculty recommendations.

Combined B.S./M.S. Program 
The combined B.S./M.S. program in atmospheric science provides an opportunity for students of recognized academic ability and educational maturity to fulfill simultaneously undergraduate and graduate course requirements in their senior year, thereby accelerating progress toward the M.S. degree. A carefully designed program can permit a student to complete the B.S. and M.S. degrees one year sooner than is otherwise possible.

The combined program requires a minimum of 138 credits, of which at least 30 must be graduate credits. In qualifying for the B.S., students must meet all University and college requirements, including the requirements of the undergraduate major described previously, the minimum 60-credit liberal arts and sciences requirement, the general education requirements, and residency requirements. In qualifying for the M.S., students must meet all University and college requirements as outlined in the Graduate Bulletin, including completion of a minimum of 30 graduate credits and any other conditions such as a research seminar, thesis, comprehensive examination, professional experience, and residency requirements. Up to 9 graduate credits may be applied simultaneously to both the B.S. and M.S. programs.

In the summer following the senior year, the student will begin work on his or her graduate research. In preparation for this accelerated research program, the student will be required to take two semesters (6 credits) of A Atm 499, Undergraduate Research, during the junior or senior year. These 6 credits may be counted toward the undergraduate elective requirement from either of the following requirements: (1) from any four additional A Atm courses at the 400 or 500 level as advised or (2) from 6 additional credits in mathematics or sciences as advised.

Students may apply for admission to the combined degree program in atmospheric science at the beginning of their junior year or after the successful completion of 56 credits. A cumulative grade point average of 3.2 or higher and three supportive letters of recommendation from faculty are required for consideration.