The Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences present the challenge of a wide variety of problems of compelling scientific interest and increasing social relevance. This is exemplified by the current concern over Planet Earth and Global Change, including issues regarding climate change, greenhouse warming, air pollution, the ozone layer, the attempts to control or modify weather phenomena, the demand for reliable long-range weather forecasts on both local and global scales, and the expanding frontiers of space science as we continue to explore the atmospheres of other planets.
Since its inception in 1940 under the leadership of the late Professor Jacob Bjerknes, originator of the polar-front theory of cyclones, the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at UCLA has been at the forefront of atmospheric research and education. A broad curriculum is offered in Dynamic and Synoptic Meterology, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, Physical and Biogeochemical Oceanography, and Upper Atmosphere and Space Physics.
Departmental research is led by twenty ladder faculty and supported by a variety of extramural grants and contracts with a total annual budget of approximately seven million dollars. The majority of graduate students receive financial support from these grants, thus permitting early involvement in research leading to the dissertation. Project research often involves extensive collaboration with faculty in other departments at UCLA and with industrial and governmental research groups. Such collaboration has proved to be particularly benefical to our students by exposing them to practical research that many will encounter upon graduation. Recognizing the value of an interdisciplinary approach to learning, UCLA has developed research programs and curricula outside the usual departmental structure, with research facilities that include institutes, centers, projects, and interdepartmental laboratories.