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Research and Careers in Atmospheric Sciences UW Atmospheric Sciences Outreach Weather vs. Climate Weather Time scales up to 10 – 14 days Climate Time scales of 2 weeks – hundreds of years Think of climate as “average weather” over long periods of time The Greenhouse Effect Trace gases in the atmosphere (water vapor, carbon dioxide, ozone, etc) absorb infrared radiation and reemit it toward the surface. As a results, the surface warms. Increasing the amount of these greenhouse gases increases the temperature at the Earth’s surface. 4 Careers in Atmospheric Sciences Government Policy Public Relations Teaching Software development Analysis Research Field Work / Obs Forecasting Consulting Broadcasting Academia Industry 04/26/10 Careers in Research Can conduct research at Universities Government Agencies Private Companies There are many topics in atmospheric science that people research and apply including… 7 Research topic: Climate Climatology Variability and patterns of climate Climate modeling Paleoclimate Climate change (e.g. feedbacks and sensitivity) Global warming Impacts (how different regions will be affected) Geoengineering Research topic: Planetary Atmospheres Study of atmospheres on other planets Research topics: Dynamics Physics (equations of motion) Global circulation Mid-latitude cyclones Monsoons Planetary boundary layer (PBL) Air-Sea interations Research topic: Atmospheric Chemistry Air quality (air pollution) Aerosols Anthropogenic emissions Ozone Paleoclimate proxies Instrumentation Research topic: Atmospheric Radiation Energy balance of the atmosphere Remote sensing (satellites) Planetary boundary layer (PBL) Absorption / scattering / reflection / emission Research topic: Clouds Cloud dynamics Storms Precipitation processes Aerosol interactions Research topic: Mesoscale Meteorology Hurricanes/ Tropical storms / depressions Convection Tornadoes/Supercells / Thunderstorms/Lightning Mesoscale Convective Systems Influence of topography on weather Land and sea breeze circulations Small-scale weather Precipitation bands Careers in Government: Examples of Government Agencies National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Weather Service (NWS) Climate Prediction Center (CPC) National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Military National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA) Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) What does the government do? Air quality Aviation weather Fire weather Marine weather Severe weather Weather forecasting Hydrology Climate monitoring and prediction Satellite design /operation Data collection Natural resource management Emergency Management Space weather Research Weather Forecasting Forecasters use weather models generated by the government and other sources to predict the weather Many different people have careers in forecasting TV, radio, and newspaper weathermen National Weather Service Private companies (Accuweather, Intellicast, etc) 17 Broadcast Meteorology The “weather person” you see on TV news Local TV and radio stations, national networks (ie: ABC, NBC) Local TV weather often write the weather forecast for newspapers as well Cable channels like The Weather Channel Skills in communication, public speaking and on-air presence are key! Broadcast Meteorology Private Forecasting Many industries depend on accurate, targeted and specific weather forecasting for their economic success Airlines and other transportation Shipping companies Agriculture Outdoor recreation (ski resorts, etc) Operations in extreme environments such as Antarctica Any business that must comply with environmental protection laws dealing with air or water pollution (ex: construction, manufacturing, energy) - many have their own meteorologist or hire one from a private consulting firm on a project-by-project basis Wind Energy Wind energy is an important emerging sector of atmospheric sciences as more emphasis is put on alternative energy Meteorologists help select a site that is best for a wind farm – somewhere with steady, strong winds Once the wind farm is built, meteorologists must provide accurate, real-time forecasts of wind speed and direction so that transfer to the power grid goes smoothly. Wind Energy Consulting Many different companies require the services of an atmospheric scientist. Work ranges from technical to policy consulting 23 Science Policy Governments need scientists to interpret scientific results and apply it to laws and policies. Many different political topics require the expertise of atmospheric scientists: Global warming Pollution Environmental protection Ocean acidification All levels of government (federal, state, local) have opportunities for those who want to bridge the policy and science divide. NGOs (non-governmental organizations) also help shape policy and require the expertise of scientists. 24 Science Journalism and Writing Communication of science to the public is important Science writers interpret and report scientific results for the public Science Communicators who have brought atmospheric science to the public: Carl Sagan (Astronomer) Al Gore (Politician) James Balog (Photographer) Andrew Revkin (Journalist) 25 How to Prepare In high school: Strengthen your math, science, computer and writing skills If your school offers an environmental science or weather class, consider taking it In college: Atmos. Sci. is broad, so a range of skills can make you successful – math, science, computer programming, communications, physics, oceanography, geography, political science – you get the idea! There are many paid and unpaid internship opportunities available – NOAA, NWS, NCAR, Nat'l Labs, TV stations, local agencies (air quality, etc), private companies, DoE General Tips Take EVERY advantage of opportunities to meet people you are interested in working for Internships help you get experience, and help you decide if the field is right for you It is your definition of success that matters, because it is your happiness Shameless Plug UW non-major course offerings in atmospheric sciences 101: Introduction to weather 111: Global warming 211: Climate and climate change 212: Air pollution Questions? Thank You!