Learn more about what atmospheric science professionals do for their jobs.


The branch of science that deals with the physics, chemistry, and evolution of celestial objects, and phenomena that originate outside the atmosphere of Earth.


The branch of astronomy concerned with the physical nature of celestial bodies, and the application of physics to the interpretation of astronomical observations.

Atmospheric chemistry

The study of the chemical composition and transformations occurring in the atmosphere.

Atmospheric dynamics

Study of observations and theory dealing with all motion systems of meteorological importance, such as thunderstorms, tornadoes, and global-scale circulations.


Study of the chemical, physical, geological, and biological processes and reactions that govern the composition of the natural environment.


Study of climate variability and meteorological conditions over a specified period of time.

Computer science

The study and design of computers and computational processes that emphasizes an understanding of information transfer and transformation.


A field concerned with sharing science content and process with individuals not traditionally considered part of the scientific community.

Emergency management

A managerial function charged with creating the framework within which communities reduce vulnerability to hazards and cope with disasters.


The application of scientific, economic, social, and practical knowledge in order to invent, design, build, and improve structures, machines, systems, and processes.

Engineering, aerospace

The branch of engineering concerned with the research, design, development, construction, testing, science and technology of aircraft and spacecraft.

Engineering, civil

The branch of engineering that  designs, constructs, and maintains the physical and naturally built environment, including roads, bridges, dams, and buildings.

Engineering, environmental

The branch of engineering that uses science to improve the natural environment and provide healthy water, air, and land for human habitation and for other organisms.

Engineering, mechanical

The branch of engineering dealing with the design, construction, and use of machines.

Engineering, software

Software engineering is the study and application of engineering to the design, development, and maintenance of software.

Environmental science

Study of the interactions between the physical, chemical, and biological components of the environment, including their effects on all types of organisms.


The study of the physical features of the earth and its atmosphere, including changes due to human activity.


Study of the earth's physical structure and substance, its history, and the processes that act on it.


The study of water and its relation to the effects of precipitation and evaporation upon the occurrence and character of water in streams, lakes, and on or below the surface.


A branch of meteorology and hydrology that studies the transfer of water and energy between the land surface and the lower atmosphere.

Land-use planning

Branch of urban planning encompassing various disciplines which seek to order and regulate land use in an efficient and ethical way.


The abstract science of number, quantity, and space. Mathematics may be studied in its own right, or as it is applied to other disciplines such as physics and engineering.


The study of the physics, chemistry, and dynamics of the earth's atmosphere, including the related effects at the air-earth boundary over both land and the oceans.

Meteorology, agricultural

Meteorology and micrometeorology as applied to specific agricultural systems and of agriculture as applied to specific atmospheric conditions.

Meteorology, global-scale

The study of weather patterns related to the transport of heat from the tropics to the poles and of very large scale oscillations.

Meteorology, mesoscale

The study of atmospheric phenomena with typical spatial scales between 10 and 1000 km, including phenomena such as thunderstorms and gap winds.

Meteorology, microscale

A part of meteorology that deals with observations and processes in the smallest scales of time and space, approximately smaller than 1 km and less than a day.

Meteorology, physical

A subfield of meteorology restricted to that part of meteorology not explicitly devoted to atmospheric motions, such as optical, electrical, and thermodynamic phenomena.

Meteorology, satellite

The use of artificial earth-orbiting satellites for the purposes of imaging the atmospheric, land, and oceanic systems; providing atmospheric profiling; and collecting and relaying environmental data.

Meteorology, synoptic-scale

Synoptic meteorology has traditionally been concerned with the analysis and prediction of large-scale weather systems, such as extratropical cyclones and their associated fronts and jet streams.


The study of the sea, embracing and integrating all knowledge pertaining to the sea's physical boundaries, the chemistry and physics of seawater, and marine biology.


The branch of science concerned with the nature and properties of matter and energy, including mechanics, heat, light and other radiation, sound, electricity, magnetism, and the structure of atoms.


The study of human social relationships and institutions, including analyzing social stability and radical change in whole societies.

Weather forecasting

Weather forecasting is the application of science and technology to predict the state of the atmosphere for a given location.