Atmospheric dynamics (category)
Atmospheric chemistry (category)
Weather (category) · (portal)
Tropical cyclone (category)
Climate change (category)
Global warming (category) · (portal)
Part of the nature series
Tropical cyclone (Hurricane)
Drizzle (Freezing drizzle)
Ice pellets (Diamond dust)
Rain (Freezing rain)
Rain and snow mixed
Atmospheric sciences is the study of the Earth's atmosphere, its
processes, the effects other systems have on the atmosphere, and the
effects of the atmosphere on these other systems.
atmospheric chemistry and atmospheric physics with a major focus on
Climatology is the study of atmospheric changes
(both long and short-term) that define average climates and their
change over time, due to both natural and anthropogenic climate
Aeronomy is the study of the upper layers of the
atmosphere, where dissociation and ionization are important.
Atmospheric science has been extended to the field of planetary
science and the study of the atmospheres of the planets of the solar
Experimental instruments used in atmospheric sciences include
satellites, rocketsondes, radiosondes, weather balloons, and lasers.
The term aerology (from Greek ἀήρ, aēr, "air"; and -λογία,
-logia) is sometimes used as an alternative term for the study of
Earth's atmosphere. Early pioneers in the field include Léon
Teisserenc de Bort and Richard Assmann.
1 Atmospheric chemistry
2 Atmospheric dynamics
3 Atmospheric physics
5 Atmospheres on other celestial bodies
6 See also
8 External links
Main article: Atmospheric chemistry
Atmospheric chemistry is a branch of atmospheric science in which the
chemistry of the
Earth's atmosphere and that of other planets is
studied. It is a multidisciplinary field of research and draws on
environmental chemistry, physics, meteorology, computer modeling,
oceanography, geology and volcanology and other disciplines. Research
is increasingly connected with other areas of study such as
The composition and chemistry of the atmosphere is of importance for
several reasons, but primarily because of the interactions between the
atmosphere and living organisms. The composition of the Earth's
atmosphere has been changed by human activity and some of these
changes are harmful to human health, crops and ecosystems. Examples of
problems which have been addressed by atmospheric chemistry include
acid rain, photochemical smog and global warming. Atmospheric
chemistry 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
See also: Synoptic scale meteorology
Atmospheric dynamics involves the study of observations and theory
dealing with all motion systems of meteorological importance. Common
topics studied include diverse phenomena such as thunderstorms,
tornadoes, gravity waves, tropical cyclones, extratropical cyclones,
jet streams, and global-scale circulations. The goal of dynamical
studies is to explain the observed circulations on the basis of
fundamental principles from physics. The objectives of such studies
incorporate improving weather forecasting, developing methods for
predicting seasonal and interannual climate fluctuations, and
understanding the implications of human-induced perturbations (e.g.,
increased carbon dioxide concentrations or depletion of the ozone
layer) on the global climate.
Main article: Atmospheric physics
Atmospheric physics is the application of physics to the study of the
atmosphere. Atmospheric physicists attempt to model Earth's atmosphere
and the atmospheres of the other planets using fluid flow equations,
chemical models, radiation balancing, and energy transfer processes in
the atmosphere and underlying oceans. In order to model weather
systems, atmospheric physicists employ elements of scattering theory,
wave propagation models, cloud physics, statistical mechanics and
spatial statistics, each of which incorporate high levels of
mathematics and physics.
Atmospheric physics has close links to
meteorology and climatology and also covers the design and
construction of instruments for studying the atmosphere and the
interpretation of the data they provide, including remote sensing
In the United Kingdom, atmospheric studies are underpinned by the
Meteorological Office. Divisions of the U.S. National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) oversee research projects and
weather modeling involving atmospheric physics. The U.S. National
Ionosphere Center also carries out studies of the high
Earth's magnetic field
Earth's magnetic field and the solar wind interact with the
atmosphere, creating the ionosphere, Van Allen radiation belts,
telluric currents, and radiant energy.
Regional impacts of warm ENSO episodes (El Niño).
Main article: Climatology
In contrast to meteorology, which studies short term weather systems
lasting up to a few weeks, climatology studies the frequency and
trends of those systems. It studies the periodicity of weather events
over years to millennia, as well as changes in long-term average
weather patterns, in relation to atmospheric conditions.
Climatologists, those who practice climatology, study both the nature
of climates – local, regional or global – and the
natural or human-induced factors that cause climates to change.
Climatology considers the past and can help predict future climate
Phenomena of climatological interest include the atmospheric boundary
layer, circulation patterns, heat transfer (radiative, convective and
latent), interactions between the atmosphere and the oceans and land
surface (particularly vegetation, land use and topography), and the
chemical and physical composition of the atmosphere. Related
disciplines include astrophysics, atmospheric physics, chemistry,
ecology, physical geography, geology, geophysics, glaciology,
hydrology, oceanography, and volcanology.
Atmospheres on other celestial bodies
All of the Solar System's planets have atmospheres. This is because
their gravity is strong enough to keep gaseous particles close to the
surface. Larger gas giants are massive enough to keep large amounts of
the light gases hydrogen and helium close by, while the smaller
planets lose these gases into space. The composition of the Earth's
atmosphere is different from the other planets because the various
life processes that have transpired on the planet have introduced free
molecular oxygen. Much of Mercury's atmosphere has been blasted
away by the solar wind. The only moon that has retained a dense
atmosphere is Titan. There is a thin atmosphere on Triton, and a trace
of an atmosphere on the Moon.
Planetary atmospheres are affected by the varying degrees of energy
received from either the Sun or their interiors, leading to the
formation of dynamic weather systems such as hurricanes, (on Earth),
planet-wide dust storms (on Mars), an Earth-sized anticyclone on
Jupiter (called the Great Red Spot), and holes in the atmosphere (on
Neptune). At least one extrasolar planet, HD 189733 b, has been
claimed to possess such a weather system, similar to the Great Red
Spot but twice as large.
Hot Jupiters have been shown to be losing their atmospheres into space
due to stellar radiation, much like the tails of comets. These
planets may have vast differences in temperature between their day and
night sides which produce supersonic winds, although the day and
night sides of HD 189733b appear to have very similar temperatures,
indicating that planet's atmosphere effectively redistributes the
star's energy around the planet.
Weather and climate
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^ University of Washington. Atmospheric Dynamics. Retrieved on 1 June
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Structure of Alien World's Atmosphere". University of Arizona, Lunar
and Planetary Laboratory (Press Release). Archived from the original
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Atmospheric fluid dynamics applied to weather maps – Principles
such as Advection, Deformation and Vorticity
National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Archives, documents
the history of the atmospheric sciences
Natural resource management
Human impact on the environment
Earth's magnetic field
St. Elmo's fire
Georg Wilhelm Richmann