Department of Atmospheric Sciences | University of Illinois
Atmospheric Sciences | RESEARCH

Climate and Climate Change

Evidence continues to mount that human activities are altering the Earth’s climate on a global scale. The greatest challenge in understanding the global climate system is that our research must reach far beyond the atmosphere—to the oceans, land surfaces, vegetation, cryosphere, and even to the sun, the source of energy for our atmosphere. The rapid changes that have occurred in the earth’s climate system in the last two decades have brought a new sense of urgency in climate research. The University of Illinois is deeply involved in climate research at many levels, both within the department and in interdisciplinary research across the campus.

Faculty and students in the department carry out a number of research projects directed toward understanding climate variability and climate change. Students work with professors to conduct research to help explain the interactions between climate and the biosphere, ocean, and human activities, as humans alter the cycles of greenhouse gases such as carbon and methane. Students use global climate models to make projections of future changes under various plausible economic scenarios, and simulate important geophysical processes, such as the past, present, and possible future behavior of the Atlantic thermohaline circulation. Students also conduct research on how energy, water, and carbon are transported between the land surface and the atmosphere in systems ranging from agroecosystems to rainforests. Quantifying and understanding the causes of climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time. Students will lead the way as climate change research progresses.  Are you ready?

Want to learn more? See these faculty websites:

Ryan Sriver Larry Di Girolamo Atul Jain
Greg McFarquhar Michael Schlesinger John Walsh
Don Wuebbles