skip to main content



The Department of Atmospheric Science was established in the College of Engineering at Colorado State University in 1962 and the Ph.D. degree program was authorized in 1963. Two hundred and ninety seven Ph.D. and 668 M.S. degrees have been awarded by Fall of 2012. The B.S. degree is not offered in the Department of Atmospheric Science; however, several undergraduate courses are available.

The Department enjoys a modern facility dedicated to research in the atmospheric sciences. Located on the Foothills Campus, the four-story Atmospheric Science Building and supporting structures provide 30,000 square feet of research and office space. A 3-story addition, the Atmospheric Science-CIRA Research Center (ACRC) provides approximately 10,000 additional square feet of office, lab and classroom space in the Department. A 13,000 square-foot Atmospheric Chemistry Building consolidates the Department’s activities in atmospheric and aerosol chemistry into a modern, single facility located adjacent to the main Department building. This facility provides additional office space: chemistry laboratories, walk-in cold chamber; dynamic cloud chamber; and a vertical dilution tunnel. In 2009, a new building, ATS West, was added to house the NSF Science and Technology Center, CMMAP (Center for Multi-scale Modeling of Atmospheric Processes). ESMEI (Earth Systems Modeling and Education Institute) is now the institutional legacy of CMMAP and continues to engage in earth system modeling with an atmospheric focus. A reading room resides in the Department, containing a selection of the Department's 8,000 volumes and 5,000 technical reports. The Department has its own computer facilities, but also has direct access to the computing facility at the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

The Department of Atmospheric Science was designated as a Center of Research and Scholarly Excellence for consecutive four-year periods in 1991, 1995, 1999, 2004, 2008, 2012, and 2016. In 2012 and 2016 ATS was recognized jointly with Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA). This selection was made by the university administration and is based upon a consistent record of superior accomplishments in research and graduate education. Key elements in the nomination were: the Department maintains a strong, federally funded research program; over the past eight years 43% of the department's Ph.D. graduates have accepted positions at other universities; nine atmospheric science faculty members are Fellows of the American Meteorological Society; eight atmospheric science faculty members have served or are serving as editors of major scientific journals; several faculty have received major awards in the past decade; many ATS students have received best paper awards at AMS conferences; and many of our students have received AMS scholarships and fellowships.

Real-time conventional weather data are available for use in the classroom, particularly for weather lab instruction. Other facilities include a 10 cm dual-Doppler polarization radar (the CSU-CHILL national radar facility), a laser ceilometer, surface and boundary layer observing systems, a Doppler-DIAL lidar, a mobile rawinsonde receiving system, an acoustical radar, meteorological towers, and a sizable inventory of meteorology, physics, and chemistry instrumentation for conducting field programs. The Department maintains two weather stations-one each on the main and foothills campuses and is also the home of the Colorado Climate Center. The Department also supports a weather laboratory.

The Department is currently engaged in cutting-edge research across a broad spectrum of the atmospheric sciences. The sponsors of these research projects include the National Science Foundation, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Office of Naval Research, State of Colorado, Department of Interior, Department of Defense, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Transportation, Department of Energy, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

At present the staff consists of nineteen academic faculty members, 120 research associates/scientists, and 12 supporting technical and clerical personnel. 80 graduate students were enrolled for the 2016 Spring semester. A vigorous affiliate faculty program is maintained; affiliate faculty are selected from among distinguished scientists in the academic and research communities. Included among the research faculty participating in ongoing department research programs are individuals recognized internationally as authorities in the following fields:

Next: II. Graduate Study --> Masters of Science

Last Updated: 11 August 2016. Contact the Webmaster