University of Reading

THE university OF Reading is located in Reading, England. With a foundation made by joining the School of Art begun in 1860 and the School of Science begun in 1870, Christ Church of Oxford established an extension college in 1892. Funding and expansion ensured success and led to the University of Reading being given a royal charter in 1926. The University of Reading has several educational centers conducting research in a variety of disciplines in the arts, humanities, sciences, and social sciences, including environmental sciences and meteorology.

The environmental science degree investigates the components of the Earth system, along with providing a scientific understanding of current and future environmental issues and their management. Within the major, students may choose a pathway in consultation with a course adviser. The pathway options include earth and atmosphere (interactions between the solid Earth, the Earth's surface, the oceans, and the atmosphere through geology, soil science, and meteorology), earth systems and environmental change (changes in rates, causes, and extents of change; the contribution of human activity; and how that activity can be managed appropriately), and habitat management.

The Department of Meteorology was founded in 1965, and offers a range of courses for both undergraduates and postgraduates. The teaching facilities include a lecture hall, laboratories for practical experimentation, and a meteorological enclosure for observations and experimentation. For teaching purposes and general access, current weather data and satellite pictures stream into the department.

Active research in regional weather systems, data assimilation, global atmospheric modeling, and global circulation and climate are ongoing. Established research and teaching links with the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts and the U.K. Meteorological Office provide additional learning opportunities and access to state-of-the-art equipment.

In addition to academics, the University of Reading is the home of the National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS) Climate @ Reading Programme, the Environmental Systems Science Centre (ESSC), and the Data Assimilation Research Centre (DARC).

Based within the Department of Meteorology is the NCAS Climate @ Reading Programme. NCAS was called the Centre for Global Atmospheric Modeling from May 1990 until April 2006. NCAS Climate @ Reading provides scientific expertise, technical support, and training to address the following key challenges: increasing knowledge of climate variability and change on various timescales, using advanced computer technology for simulations; establishing the usefulness and accuracy of climate prediction models; and integrating various specialties for creating adaptability or mitigation of climate change.

NCAS Climate @ Reading is part of the Climate Programme charged with carrying out climate change research into how the climate will change by the end of the century, while taking into account natural variation and finding ways to predict climate change for the benefit of society. NCAS carries out this mission by integrating dynamics of the global climate system with earth system modeling, improved prediction, and ever-improving computer technology.

ESSC is a research center that is not involved in undergraduate teaching. It is funded as such by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). ESSC is one of the focal centers in the country for the study of remotely sensed data; the work involves coupling data with computer models of environmental processes. The wide range of interests of researchers parallels the research interests of NERC: meteorology, oceanography, geology, and hydrology. ESSC forms part of the School of Mathematics, Meteorology, and Physics.

Research interests are largely driven by the strategy of NERC, and so address problems relevant to issues within topics of global environmental change, hazard assessment and mitigation, natural resources, waste, and pollution. Research includes land surface processes, marine science, meteorology, and others.

DARC is funded under the NERC Earth Observation Centre of Excellence Initiative. The meteorology department holds the directorship and partners with Rutherford Appleton Laboratory and the universities of Cambridge, Edinburgh, and Oxford. The focus of DARC is theory development research and studying applications of data assimilation methods. This work involves the highly integrated combination of various Earth observation data sources with information available from sophisticated Earth system models and the European Space Agency Enlist satellite.

In addition to many collaborative partnerships worldwide, the University of Reading is one site of an international exchange program with the University of Oklahoma.

sEE ALsO: Climate Change, Effects; Education; University of Oklahoma.

bibliography. Department of Meteorology, "About Us," www.met.reading.ac.uk; University of Reading, "Department of Meteorology Excellence in Weather and Climate Research Since 1965," Research Summary (April 2006); University of Reading, www.rdg.ac.uk.

Lyn Michaud Independent Scholar

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