Climate Sciences (CS)

Climate Sciences concerns the study of the climate system of the earth with emphasis on the physical, dynamical, and chemical interactions of the atmosphere, ocean, land, ice, and the terrestrial and marine biospheres.

Climate Sciences encompasses changes on seasonal to interannual time scales and those induced by human activities, as well as paleoclimatic changes on time scales from centuries to millions of years.

Examples of current research activities include:

  • Interannual climate variability
  • Physics and dynamics of El Niño
  • Studies of present and future changes in the chemical composition of the atmosphere in relation to global warming and ozone depletion
  • Effects of cloud and cloud feedbacks in the climate system
  • Paleoclimate reconstructions from ice cores, banded corals, tree-rings, and deep-sea sediment
  • The origin of ice ages
  • Air-sea interactions
  • Climate theory
  • Terrestrial and marine ecosystem response to global change

Requirements for Admission

In addition to the general requirements for admission to the PhD program listed here, students are admissible if they satisfy the requirements of the physical oceanography, geophysics, or marine chemistry and geochemistry curricular programs. Biology and geology majors may also be admissible if the Scripps faculty determine that they have a sufficiently strong background in mathematics and physical science.

Program of Study

PhD:

Students admitted to Climate-Ocean-Atmosphere Program (COAP) choose a curricular group by the end of the fall quarter. This choice is aided by the student’s guidance committee, which includes a chair from one of the COAP curricular groups. The guidance committee will help to arrange an individually tailored set of first-year courses for the student, and to ensure that the student has taken all necessary courses to prepare for the departmental exam. During the year, students may be supported in a variety of ways, but by the end of the spring quarter students must choose a research adviser. After the first year the guidance committee is dissolved, and the research adviser, and eventually the dissertation committee, provide guidance.

The emphasis of the Climate Sciences curricular program is on education through interdisciplinary research. All students are responsible for material in the following "core" courses: SIO 210, 260, 217A, 217B, and 217C.  Students are required to enroll and actively participate in at least two quarters of a seminar course.  Students are required to specialize in a specific subdiscipline or track. Additional courses required for this track should be worked out soon after the student's arrival through consultation with his or her advisors. The following pre-approved tracks are offered at this time:

  • Atmospheric dynamics and physics
  • Atmospheric chemistry
  • Paleoclimate studies

MS:

The emphasis of climate sciences is on education through interdisciplinary research. Though the group stresses interactions across disciplines, students will specialize in a particular subdiscipline or track that will be chosen by the student following discussions with their guidance committee soon after arrival. Examples of current tracks include: (1) atmospheric/ocean/climate dynamics and physics; (2) atmospheric chemistry (emphasizing climatic interactions); and (3) paleoclimate studies. Additional course requirements for these tracks will be tailored to the needs of the individual student.

Required course work:

  • SIO 210. Physical Oceanography (4 units)
  • SIO 217A, SIO 217B, and SIO 217C. Atmospheric and Climate Sciences I-III (4 units each)
  • SIO 260. Marine Chemistry (4 units)

Elective course work:

Students may fulfill the remaining units of required course work through elective course offerings selected in consultation with the students’ guidance committee. For most climate sciences students this includes at least one additional quarter of fluid dynamics.

MAS:

The Master of Advanced Studies (MAS) degree in Climate Science and Policy equips professionals with the knowledge they need to improve society's response to climate change. Like the existing Marine Biodiversity and Conservation program, the CSP program is focused on development of local capacity and science-based management tools. The program is designed to teach current and future professionals about climate science from the scientific, economic and policy perspectives, as well as provide important cultural and communications skills. In addition to Scripps courses, students also have the benefit of enjoying interdisciplinary studies by taking course offerings from a variety of top-ranked departments at UCSD, including the Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies, the Department of Economics, Communications, Visual Arts, and other departments.

For more information, please visit: https://scripps.ucsd.edu/masters/mas/climate-science-and-policy

Research in Climate Sciences

Of the sixteen categories of research at Scripps, the CS group is most closely associated with the following integrated research themes:

Climate Sciences Faculty and Researchers: