Princeton university

Princeton university is a private coeducational research university located in Princeton, New Jersey. It is one of eight colleges and universities that belong to the Ivy League.

Originally founded at Elizabeth, New Jersey, in 1746 as the College of New Jersey, it relocated to Princeton in 1756 and was renamed "Princeton University" in 1896. Princeton was the fourth institution of higher education in the United States to conduct classes. Princeton has never had any official religious affiliation, rare among American universities of its age. At one time, it had close ties to the Presbyterian Church, but today it is nonsectarian and makes no religious demands on its students. The university has ties with the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton Theological Seminary, and the Westminster Choir College of Rider University.

Princeton has traditionally focused on undergraduate education and academic research, though in recent decades it has increased its focus on graduate education and offers a large number of professional master's degrees and Ph.D. programs in a range of subjects. The Princeton University Library holds over six million books. Among many others, areas of research include anthropology, geophysics, entomology, and robotics, while the Forestall Campus has special facilities for the study of plasma physics and meteorology.

The Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences Program is a unique collaboration between a renowned academic institution, Princeton University, and a world-class climate research laboratory, the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The program hosts graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and visiting senior researchers, as well as permanent research staff and faculty. The highly flexible graduate program offers students opportunities for research and courses in a wide variety of disciplines related to climate, including the physics and dynamics of the atmosphere and ocean, atmosphere and ocean chemistry and biological processes, global climate change, and paleoclimate. Through the in Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy (STEP) program at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs students can explore climate- [and air pollution] related policy. Students benefit from an unusually low student-to-faculty ratio and access to GFDL's supercomputing resources.

The Program in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (AOS) offers graduate study under the sponsorship of the Department of Geosciences. An understanding of the complex behavior of the atmosphere and oceans requires a balanced effort in theoretical analysis, numerical modeling, laboratory experiments, and analysis of observations. The AOS program benefits from the research capabilities of the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which is located on the Forrestal Campus. GFDL has a major in-house supercomputer facility to which students have direct access for their research. Many GFDL scientists are active in the AOS program as lecturers with the rank of assistant through full professor. The geosciences department, with its activities in physical and chemical oceanography, paleoceanography, and paleoclimatology, collaborates with GFDL in providing an academic program of courses and seminars.

The program is internationally recognized for its development of models of atmospheric and oceanic circulation and climate, particularly studies related to global warming. Additionally, it is world renowned for its development of earth system models, specifically as related to the global carbon cycle, and for its training of graduate students and postdocs. The student to postdoc to faculty ratio is typically about 1:1:1, which provides graduate students and postdocs with a highly stimulating environment for learning and carrying out their research.

Courses offered by the department which focus on climate change include:

Introduction to Physical Oceanography: Study of the oceans as a major influence on the atmosphere and the world environment. The theoretical and observational bases of our understanding of ocean circulation and the oceans' properties.

Introduction to Atmospheric Science: Atmospheric composition and thermodynamics including effects of water. Simple radiative transfer, elementary circulation models, phenomenological description of atmospheric motions, structure of the troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere, and thermosphere, chemistry of ozone, and comparison with atmospheres on other planets.

Atmospheric Radiative Transfer: The structure and composition of terrestrial atmospheres. The fundamental aspects of electromagnetic radiation, absorption and emission by atmospheric gases, optical extinction by particles, the roles of atmospheric species in the Earth's radiative energy balance, the perturbation of climate due to natural and anthropogenic causes, and satellite observations of climate systems are also studied.

Atmospheric Chemistry: Natural gas phase and heterogeneous chemistry in the troposphere and stratosphere, with a focus on elementary chemical kinetics; photolysis processes; oxygen, hydrogen, and nitrogen chemistry; transport of atmospheric trace species; tropospheric hydrocarbon chemistry and stratospheric halogen chemistry; stratospheric ozone destruction; local and regional air pollution; and chemistry-climate interactions are studied.

Atmospheric Thermodynamics and Convection: The thermodynamics of water-air systems. The course gives an overview of atmospheric energy sources and sinks. Planetary boundary layers, closure theories for atmospheric turbulence, cumulus convection, interactions between cumulus convection and large-scale atmospheric flows, cloud-convection-radiation interactions and their role in the climate system, and parameterization of boundary layers and convection in atmospheric general circulation models are also studied.

Introduction to Geophysical Fluid Dynamics: Physical principles fundamental to the theo retical, observational, and experimental study of the atmosphere and oceans; the equations of motion for rotating fluids; hydrostatic and Boussinesq approximations; circulation theorem; and conservation of potential vorticity; scale analysis, geostrophic wind, thermal wind, quasigeostrophic system; and geophysical boundary layers.

Atmospheric and Oceanic Wave Dynamics: Observational evidence of atmospheric and oceanic waves; laboratory simulation; surface and internal gravity waves; dispersion characteristics; kinetic energy spectrum; critical layer; forced resonance; and instabilities.

Physical Oceanography: Response of the ocean to transient and steady winds and buoyancy forcing. A hierarchy of models from simple analytical to realistic numerical models is used to study the role of the waves, convection, instabilities, and other physical processes in the circulation of the oceans.

Numerical Prediction of the Atmosphere and Ocean: Barotropic and multilevel dynamic models; coordinate systems and boundary conditions; finite difference equations and their energetics; spectral methods; water vapor and its condensation processes; orography, cumulus convection, subgrid-scale transfer, and boundary layer processes; meteorological and oceanographic data assimilation; dynamic initialization; verification and predictability; and probabilistic forecasts.

Current Topics in Dynamic Meteorology: An introduction to topics of current interest in the dynamics of large-scale atmospheric flow. Possible topics include wave-mean flow interaction and nonacceleration theorems, critical levels, quasigeo-strophic instabilities, topographically and thermally forced stationary waves, theories for stratospheric sudden warmings and the quasi-biennial oscillation of the equatorial stratosphere, and quasi-geo-strophic turbulence.

Weather and Climate Dynamics: An examination of various components of the Earth's climate system. Dynamics and physical interpretation of principal tropospheric circulation systems, including stationary and transient phenomena observed in middle and low latitudes. Reviews of phenomena of topical interest, such as El NiƱo, seasonal climate anomalies, and natural and anthropogenic climate changes.

sEE ALsO: Climate Change, Effects; Global Warming; Oceanography.

BIBLIOGRAPHY. Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, (cited November 2007); Princeton University, (cited November 2007).

Fernando Herrera University of California, San Diego

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