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Climate Science M.S./Ph.D.

Climate Science is the study of the atmosphere, land, water cycle and how they interact. The program at USU focuses on climate variability, dynamics, water cycle, paleoclimate, and exchanges between land ecosystems and the atmosphere. These subjects impact crops, rangelands, mountain ecosystems, and water resources which are especially important to the Intermountain West.

Climate Science Demand

Climate and climate change sciences are among the most rapidly growing topics in research, crossing physical science and social science. These are quintessential interdisciplinary studies, involving not only the physical aspects of earth science, but also the science of climatic impacts to natural systems and humanity, and mitigation of rapid change in natural systems. In the Western U.S., these subjects are facing future planning not only for energy and agriculture, but also for water, soil, economics, recreation, and air pollution.

Students at USU have the opportunity to acquire both a theoretical and hands-on education, as well as learning how to make measurements outdoors. Students can work on a variety of research topics including climate prediction, modeling, hydrological cycle, surface fluxes, biometeorology, dendroclimatology, and more.

Study areas

Interactions between vegetation and atmosphere, including surface fluxes of water, CO2 and energy. Wet and dry climate cycles of the Great Basin, and connections to large-scale ocean and atmosphere features. Effects of seasonal variations in weather on dendroclimatology reconstructions of climate. Cooperating in current efforts to use various time statistical and dynamical analyses to quantify the magnitude and frequencies of drought and wet episodes.

Identifying atmospheric and oceanic features at appropriate spatial and temporal scales that connect with the cyclical variations in wet and dry extremes. Employing a synoptic climatology approach to study connections between the characteristics of these features with low and high frequency variations in climate. Connect mesoscale climate models and global climate models in the analysis of climate variability and projections.

Students enrolled in the Climate Science Degree Program are encouraged to participate in or apply for the NSF Fellowship in Climate Adaptation Science at USU, a training program that prepares graduate researchers for careers that integrate science with management and policy while advancing climate change adaptation for the threatened landscape.


Graduate Degree Application

Graduate Studies Coordinator

Dr. Astrid Jacobson

Program Contact

Dr. S.-Y. Simon Wang