Atmospheric Sciences

Atmospheric sciences: behavior and dynamics of Earth’s atmosphere

  The UBC calendar page for Atmospheric Sciences has formal degree specialization details.


The atmosphere is a complex physical system. All life on Earth depends upon, and is affected by, our atmosphere. Students pursuing this degree specialization will graduate with fundamental knowledge and skills to apply mathematics, data science, physics and computation to study, monitor, and inform society about how Earth’s atmosphere works. 

  • climate change,
  • how atmospheric systems work
  • air quality,
  • environmental impacts of weather and climate, and
  • satellite, ground-based and other atmospheric and weather monitoring instruments and techniques. 

The scope of Atmospheric sciences can be seen via Wikipedia’s Atmospheric Sciences page.

For career opportunities – see our Career Pathways page.

Degrees Offered

Guidelines for current students

Faculty and Teaching

The interdisciplinary Atmospheric Sciences specialization is organized by both the Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science and the Department of Geography. Additional contributors to our program are from Chemistry, Math, Soil Science, and Engineering. Our faculty conduct research and teach in the broad fields of atmospheric science, physical & biological oceanography, climatology, glaciology, biometeorology, applied meteorology, and clean-energy engineering. 

Our faculty are experienced in modern pedagogical practices that emphasize active learning, a balance of solo and group or team learning, and project-based, application-oriented settings. We constantly innovate and collaborate on educational development with colleagues both within UBC and beyond.

Student Experiences

Students gain computational, data science and software skills that are widely applicable in academic, commercial and open-source domains, using collaborative practices that involve GitHub, Pythozzn, Jupyter notebooks and emerging cloud-based computing strategies.

Atmospheric Sciences students will benefit particularly from our …

  • Interdisciplinary courses, faculty, and research
  • Attention to students, including small classes and a vibrant student community
  • A balance of industry, public sector and academic perspectives
  • Computational emphasis at all levels
  • Connections with environment canada
  • Our own daily operational numerical weather prediction forecasts for students
  • A departmental commitment to ongoing support of course-development
  • Development and design of new meteorological sensors and systems for hands-on experiences


Courses involve hands-on labs, equipment and computing resources related to biometeorology, micrometeorology, urban meteorology, weather instruments & LIDAR, and atmospheric chemistry. Examples of the many facilities at EOAS include:

  • The Totem field climate station
  • A greenscreen for mock-TV weather briefings
  • Weather & climate displays hosted by the Pacific Museum of Earth
  • Use of Mechanical Engineering’s Aerodynamics Laboratory
  • The Engineering Design Center
  • Our own large, parallel computer cluster for numerical weather and climate simulations.