Meteorology, climate, air quality, sustainability
The atmosphere is the mostly gas-filled outermost shell of the Earth system. Atmospheric scientists investigate the processes that govern weather and climate and the relationships between the atmosphere and human activity. Atmospheric scientists also work collaboratively with other geoscientists to assess the interactions between the atmosphere and phenomena associated with other disciplines such as hydrology, biology, oceanography, and geology for example.
Meteorologists investigate shorter term atmospheric phenomena such as severe weather, storm systems, and pollution. Meteorologists also focus on creating more immediate forecasts that serve a variety of stakeholders including the general public, water resource managers, and farmers. Climatologists investigate longer term changes and trends in atmospheric phenomena such as global warming, El Niño, and the impact of cities on the atmosphere. Climatologists seek to make forecasts at the seasonal, annual, decadal, or even century scale. As such, climatologist often must account for both the physical processes that govern the atmosphere as well as the human-induced changes to the atmosphere.
Here at Shippensburg University, the Department of Geography Earth Science maintains an official National Weather Service/ National Climatic Data Center weather station that has collected daily data since 1932. The department also has collected higher resolution data since 2008. All Shippensburg University weather information and data can be accessed here. Data from the weather station, as well as a full suite of instruments that can be deployed on a temporary basis, are used by students regularly for both in-class assignments and independent research projects.
Students interested in atmospheric sciences can take a range of courses within the context of a Geoenvironmental Studies Major. Students outside of the department may also opt to take courses toward a minor. Interested students are encouraged to contact a faculty member or their advisor to discuss potential courses and projects.
The department is continually updating our courses to keep them current and impactful for your future success. Official course descriptions are available in the university catalog here:
Undergraduate: Earth Science | Geography
Graduate: Earth Science | Geography
However, check with your instructor for the most up to date course outline and content as updates may be made.
Example Earth Science Courses (ESS)
ESS 111: Introduction to the Atmosphere
ESS 355: Meteorology
ESS 404: Applied Meteorology and Climatology
Example Geography Courses (GEO)
GEO 105: Physical Geography
GEO 203: Climatology
GEO 450: Geography-Geology Field Studies
GEO 536: Problems of the Atmospheric Environment