Welcome from the Chair

Sumant Nigam

Welcome to the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science (AOSC), where students and faculty pursue science that is intellectually and computationally challenging yet of great relevance for societal well-being and the health of our planet. We analyze and model notable features of the oceans, atmosphere, land surface, cryosphere, and biosphere and develop data acquisition and assimilation strategies to improve modeling and prediction. Expertise in the interaction of these systems allows us to provide insights into the climate system's functioning, including a process-level understanding of regional Climate Change.

AOSC provides a stimulating environment for individual growth through academic rigor and quantitative analysis and modeling, seeking to train students for leadership roles in academia, industry, and government. Active research collaborations with NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Prediction, and other neighboring laboratories provide exciting opportunities for collaborative research, including joint advisement. AOSC's close ties with the University's Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center provide valuable resources for multidisciplinary research.

AOSC faculty are recognized for their seminal contributions: Fellows of the American Meteorological Society, American Geophysical Union, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science are on the roster, which also includes Fulbright, Jefferson, Leopold, and Humboldt Fellows. We are proud to have an American Academy of Arts and Sciences fellow and two of the National Academy of Engineering. AOSC students have received graduate fellowships from AMS, NSF, NASA, and NDSEG. Newly minted Ph.Ds. have found positions at GFDL/Princeton, NASA Goddard, NASA/JPL, and NCAR, among others. Young alumni have garnered prestigious awards, including the PECASE, Holton (AGU), and WMO Gerbier-Mumm awards. AOSC undergraduates are just as accomplished – we are proud to have five NOAA Hollings Scholars on our roster.

AOSC is home to 100+ exceptional graduate and undergraduate students, 16 tenure-track and 20 professional track faculty, and the Maryland State Climatologist. AOSC ranks high in the 2010 National Research Council Assessment of Research-Doctorate programs in Oceanography, Atmospheric Sciences, and Meteorology, US News and World Report's 2020 Ranking in Geoscience, and the 2020 Shanghai Academic Ranking. AOSC strives to infuse the workplace with diverse experiences, perspectives, and backgrounds, besides gender, race, and sexual orientation, enhancing creativity and innovation.

In his July 2020 inauguration, University President Darryl Pines recognized Climate Change as a defining issue of our time. The University's new Strategic Plan identifies it as one of its five grand challenges, positioning AOSC to be the lynchpin of campus efforts in Climate Change science.

We invite you to join the exciting journey of learning and discovery and our quest for a deeper understanding of the world around us.


Sumant Nigam

Professor and Chair, Department of Atmospheric & Oceanic Science
Professor, Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center
Atlantic-3413;  (301) 405-5391;  nigam@umd.edu