Atmospheric science is the study of the physics and chemistry of clouds, gases, and aerosols (airborne particles) that surround the planetary bodies of the solar system. Research in atmospheric science includes:
- Climatology: the study of long-term weather and temperature trends
- Dynamic meteorology: the study of the motions of the atmosphere
- Cloud physics: the formation and evolution of clouds and precipitation
- Atmospheric chemistry: the chemical composition of the atmosphere
- Atmospheric physics: the study of processes such as heating and cooling of the atmosphere
- Aeronomy: the study of the upper atmosphere
- Oceanography: the study of the Earth’s oceans and how they affect the atmosphere
Scientists in this field use satellites, rockets, radiosondes, weather balloons, and lasers to examine the atmosphere and computer models to predict and understand the complex interactions between the atmosphere and human activity, human health, crops and ecosystems. Atmospheric science is a multidisciplinary field of research that draws on environmental chemistry, physics, meteorology, computer modeling, oceanography, geology, volcanology and other disciplines.
Examples of problems which have been addressed by atmospheric science include acid rain, photochemical smog and global warming. Atmospheric science seeks to understand the causes of these problems, and by obtaining a theoretical understanding of them, allow possible solutions to be tested and the effects of changes in government policy evaluated. Typical occupations include: research and development, management, teaching, radio and television broadcasting, field research, laboratory studies, computer analysis and modeling, instrumentation and data acquisition, data analysis and modeling, or laboratory studies.