The NCAS Introduction to Atmospheric Science Course covers three main areas of atmopsheric science:

Atmospheric Physics

  • Introduction to Weather systems: Extratropical cyclones; tropical cyclones and hurricanes; deep convection and tornadoes
  • Atmospheric thermodynamics
  • Cloud physics including cloud condensation nuclei and ice nuclei
  • Atmospheric Dynamics
  • Atmospheric Boundary Layer

Atmospheric Composition

  • Atmospheric composition time evolution 5 billion years of change.
    • Pre-oxygen atmosphere, oxygen in the atmosphere, ozone layer, present day.
  • Composition and chemistry of the stratosphere
    • Why should we care? Chapman chemistry, Ozone layer, Circulations, Catalytic Ozone loss, CFCs, Ozone hole, Montreal protocol, Recovery, Research
  • Composition and chemistry of the troposphere
    • Why should we care? Ox, HOx, NOx chemistry, Ozone production / destructions, VOC vs NOx limited, Isoprene chemistry, Halogen chemistry
    • Aerosols in the troposphere, Sources, sinks, Size, Processes
  • Air pollution
    • Why should we care? Different pollutants, Regulatory limits, Measurements, Issues


  • What is climate, recent observations, palaeo observations, ice ages, brief history of the science
  • Radiative forcings, feedbacks, climate sensitivity, simple energy balance models, uncertainties
  • Atmospheric chemistry & climate, ozone, aerosols, volcanoes
  • Climate models - what are they? Projections of future climate, detection & attribution
  • Climate variability - ENSO, AMO, PDO, NAO, monsoons, stratosphere, role of ocean


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