Meteorology, oceanography and climate

About the subject

Will the greenhouse effect cause stronger storms in the future? Will the Gulf Stream stop? How do you make weather forecasts? By studying meteorology, oceanography and climate you will learn how storms are created, how ocean currents are forced by winds, and how air pollution affects the climate.This is the basis for predicting weather and climate.

The earth is heated by the sun, more at the equator than at the poles. The heat is redistributed by winds and ocean currents, until it disappears to space as heat radiation. In meteorology, oceanography and climate we use mathematics, physics and chemistry to understand how all this works. With mathematics and physics, you can explain how winds and ocean currents are created, and how greenhouse gases affect the heat radiation. With chemistry you can explain how air pollution affects clouds and solar radiation.

Simulation models in super-computers encapsulate our knowledge of the atmosphere and the ocean. By combining them with observations from satellites, ships, balloons and ground stations one can predict both weather and climate. In this way it is now possible to make reliable forecasts of hurricanes up to a week in advance. This saves many lives. One can also make seasonal forecasts for the coming 3-9 months in many tropical regions, which is very valuable for agriculture and water management. But we still need to increase our knowledge of the atmosphere and ocean in order to improve the forecast models, and to predict how the climate will change in the future.

By studying meteorology, oceanography and climate you will learn how the most essential parts of the climate system work. In the Bachelor’s program in Meteorology you will first study mathematics and physics for two years and then take courses about the atmosphere and climate in the third year. In the Master’s program in Atmospheric Sciences, Oceanography and Climate you will study the various parts of the climate system in depth. You will also learn to program and work with computer models for weather forecasts and climate studies.

Career opportunities

Meteorologists, oceanographers and climate experts are needed in many places. After the BSc and further studies in our master’s program you can work with weather forecasting or issues about the sea, the environment or the climate. Many work at SMHI, the air force or other government agencies, and with private employers such as insurance companies or energy companies. Our master’s program makes you well qualified for PhD studies in several subjects in the area of climate and environmental studies.

Courses and programmes

Degree

A bachelor’s degree within the subject can only be obtained through enrolment in the bachelor program listed under Educations within the subject.

The bachelor’s degree within the subject is only offered in Swedish.

Learn more about Swedish language qualification

A master’s degree whitin the subject can only be obtained through enrolment in the master program listed under Educations within the subject.

More information about degrees at Stockholm University

Research

At the Department of Meteorology, we do research on various parts of the climate system, from the deep ocean to the stratosphere and the mesosphere. We use computer simulations and theory, and do observations from satellites, ships and ground stations. Here are some questions that we try to answer:

  • The climate of the earth has become one degree warmer during the last 100 years. This is the net result of warming by emission of greenhouse gases, and cooling by emission of particles. How strong is this cooling effect? The answer is crucial for predicting how much the temperature will increase in the future.
  • Climate change is more rapid in the Arctic than elsewhere, and the area covered by sea-ice during summer has decreased by more than a third during the last 30 years. Why? Will the sea-ice soon disappear completely there in the summer?
  • European storms are caused by low-pressure systems travelling across the Atlantic. How will this storm track change in the future climate? How can we improve forecasts of these storms?
  • The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased from 280 parts per million (ppm) to more than 400 ppm since the middle of the 19th century. But during the last ice age the concentration was only 180 ppm, much lower than after the ice age. Why was it so low?