AOS Research Overview

Areas of Research

The UCLA Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences offers five areas of research: Climate & Weather, Chemistry & Radiation, Oceanography, Space Physics, and Biogeochemistry.

Atmospheric Chemistry & Physics

The Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences has a longstanding tradition of experimental and theoretical research in atmospheric chemistry and physics. The department is indeed built around a 9 story high precipitation shaft used by Hans Pruppacher to study the growth of water drops.

Atmospheric Dynamics and Climate

UCLA is a world-class center for weather and climate research. Over the past 40 years, UCLA researchers have made historic contributions to our understanding of the fluid dynamics of the atmosphere and oceans, teleconnections between weather regimes all over the globe, and the development of techniques to simulate weather and climate.


Biogeochemists in the AOS Department work at the intersection of Chemistry, Biology, Geology, and Physical Sciences to study processes and reactions that are important to the Earth system, our changing environment, and past, current, and future life on earth.


The still largely unexplored vastness of the ocean, covering about 2/3 of the surface of earth and with an average depth of almost 4 kilometers, has fascinated humans for as long as we have records for. Its currents, chemical composition, and ecosystems are all highly variable at different locations and times.

Space Physics

Above 100 km altitude, the Earth’s atmosphere becomes highly ionized, collisions cease to be important, and dynamics are largely controlled by the terrestrial magnetic field. This field is distorted by the continuous flow of solar wind plasma from the Sun into a cavity know as the magnetosphere, which forms the uppermost region of the Earth’s atmosphere.