Topics: Physical Geography - 5. Atmospheric Sciences
5. Atmospheric sciences
Atmospheric sciences is an umbrella term for the study of the atmosphere, its processes, the effects other systems have on the atmosphere, and the effects of the atmosphere on these other systems. Meteorology includes atmospheric chemistry and atmospheric physics with a major focus on weather forecasting. 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 variability. 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 system.
Experimental instruments used in atmospheric sciences include satellites, rocketsondes, radiosondes, weather balloons, and lasers.
The term aerology is sometimes used as an alternative term for the study of Earth's atmosphere.
Climatology is the description and scientific study of climate. It is a quantitative description of climate showing the characteristic values of climate variables over a region. Climate is understood as the average of weather over at least a 30-year period. Note that the climate taken over different periods of time (30 years, 1000 years) may be different. The old saying is climate is what we expect and weather is what we get. Climate Systems are systems consisting of the atmosphere (gases), hydrosphere (water), lithosphere (solid rocky part of the Earth), and biosphere (living) that determine the Earth's climate.
Atmospheric dynamics involves observational and theoretical analysis of all motion systems of meteorological significance, including such diverse phenomena as thunderstorms, tornadoes, gravity waves,tropical hurricanes, extratropical cyclones, jet streams, and global-scale circulations. The immediate goal of dynamical studies is to explain the observed circulations on the basis of fundamental physical principles. The practical objectives of such studies include improving weather prediction, developing methods for prediction of short-term (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.