Masters degrees in Land-Atmosphere Interactions offer advanced study of the interface between terrestrial, marine and atmospheric processes, such as the exchanges of moisture and energy.
Specialisations include Hydrology, Hydrometeorology, Meteorology and Micrometeorology. Entry requirements normally include an undergraduate degree in a relevant subject such as Environmental Science.
Land-Atmosphere Interactions Masters explore the interactions between the lithosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere. Courses are highly dynamic, and include methodologies from disciplines such as Soil Science, Biology, Environmental Science and Geology.
For example, you might investigate how an understanding of the Earth’s weather systems (Meteorology) is advantageous for industries such as agriculture and aviation. For the former, you could analyse topics such as soil moisture plant physiology. For the latter, you’d likely examine turbulence, convection and atmospheric circulation.
It is also possible to examine processes within different ecosystems which are formed by Land-Atmosphere Interactions, such as biogeochemical cycling within rainforests. On the same hand, you could analyse how the combination of these systems are effected by climate change and phenomena such as natural disasters.
Careers may include roles in environmental monitoring, off-shore engineering, renewable energy, and humanitarian aid.
This programme aims to introduce students to the concepts of soil for the 21st century and is suitable for students wishing to pursue a career in land-based management or environmental protection.
Soils underpin the sustainability of terrestrial ecosystems and are key to food production. Soils form the basis of all agricultural production, but they also store water, mediate the impact of pollutants, provide biological habitats, have an impact on the accumulation of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere, are involved in dealing with society’s waste, are a source of extractable minerals and provide the foundations for the housing and roads on which society depends.
You will learn about soil function and management, and soil classification, assessment and analysis, with a strong emphasis on practical skills. You will gain expertise in the relationship between soil and sustainable approaches to land resource use.
This programme is run in collaboration with Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC).
Applicants who applied after 12 December 2016 receiving an offer of admission, either unconditional or conditional, may be required to pay a tuition fee deposit. Please see the fees and costs section for more information.
This programme involves two semesters of compulsory and option taught courses followed by a period of individual dissertation project work.
Compulsory courses typically will be:
In consultation with the Programme Director, you will choose from a range of optional courses^. We particularly recommend:
Courses are subject to timetabling and availability and are subject to change.
An integral, week-long study tour lets you refresh skills learned on the programme and develop new tools and techniques, useful during the dissertation process. The tour has historically been held in Mende, France. In addition to the formal taught component, students had the opportunity to go rafting and visit the Aven Armand caves.
There may also be a short tour during induction week, to give students a chance to get to know each other.
A recent report by the British Society of Soil Science (BSSS) identified soil science as an area in which there are critical skills shortages, meaning graduates will be in high demand.
Soil scientists are employed in a broad range of vocations including environmental consultancy, research, overseas development, environmental impact assessment and analysis, site reclamation and remediation, and conservation as well as advising on government policy, archaeological excavations and laboratory analyses, forensics, and landscape design.
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The programme is has been ranked No.1 overall in the UK for Agriculture, Veterinary and Food Science (REF 2014). Soil science is now an important area of environmental science which specifically addresses the challenges of managing soil now and in the future for food production, sustainable methods of food production, and environmental hazards and toxins. You also learn about, GIS and global soil geography and remediation methods. You analyse soil and understand changing environments and the challenges that come with them. This discipline will grow in importance due to its alignment with environmental science, climate science and geology and the growing awareness of challenges within these areas in the future. You are well placed to study the subject in Aberdeen. The department is highly regarded internationally with an established soil centre,. Aberdeen is also known for the The Hutton Institute (formerly McCauley) situated on the outskirts of the city.
Graduates have chosen a variety of careers which include agricultural consulting, mining, forestry, laboratory analysis and utilities. across Scotland, the UK and internationally. Environmental and food security concerns have grown and with them the industry has required more experts to support optimal methods of soil management. You will learn with the James Hutton Institute about soil management and field experiments which explore food security.
Core Skills in Environmental Science
Global Soil Geography
Soils for Food Security
Applications of GIS
Land use and the Changing Environment on Deeside
Environmental Impact Assessment
Ecological and Environmental Modelling
Project in Soil Science
Find out more detail by visiting the programme web page
Find out about fees:
*Please be advised that some programmes have different tuition fees from those listed above and that some programmes also have additional costs.
View all funding options on our funding database via the programme page
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Society urgently needs experts with a multidisciplinary education in atmospheric and Earth System sciences. Climate change and issues of air quality and extreme weather are matters of global concern, but which are inadequately understood from the scientific point of view. Not only must further research be done, but industry and business also need environmental specialists with a strong background in natural sciences. As new regulations and European Union directives are adopted in practice, people with knowledge of recent scientific research are required.
Upon graduating from the Programme you will have competence in
Further information about the studies on the Master's programme website.
The six study lines are as follows:
Aerosol particles are tiny liquid or solid particles floating in the air. Aerosol physics is essential for our understanding of air quality, climate change and production of nanomaterials. Aerosol scientists investigate a large variety of phenomena associated with atmospheric aerosol particles and related gas-to-particle conversion using constantly improving experimental, theoretical, model-based and data analysis methods.
Hydrospheric geophysics studies water in all of its forms using physical methods. It includes hydrology, cryology, and physical oceanography. Hydrology includes the study of surface waters such as lakes and rivers, global and local hydrological cycles as well as water resources and geohydrology, the study of groundwater. Cryology focuses on snow and ice phenomena including glacier mass balance and dynamics, sea ice physics, snow cover effects and ground frost. Physical oceanography covers saline water bodies, focusing on describing their dynamics, both large scale circulation and water masses, and local phenomena such as surface waves, upwelling, tides, and ocean acoustics. Scientists study the hydrosphere through field measurements, large and small scale modelling, and formulating mathematical descriptions of the processes.
Meteorology is the physics of the atmosphere. Its best-known application is weather forecasting, but meteorological knowledge is also essential for understanding, predicting and mitigating climate change. Meteorologists study atmospheric phenomena across a wide range of space and time scales using theory, model simulations and observations. The field of meteorology is a forerunner in computing: the development of chaos theory, for example, was triggered by the unexpected behaviour of a meteorological computer model. Meteorology in ATM-MP is further divided into dynamic meteorology and biometeorology. Dynamic meteorology is about large-scale atmospheric dynamics, modelling and observation techniques, whereas biometeorology focuses on interactions between the atmosphere and the underlying surface by combining observations and modelling to study the flows of greenhouse gases and energy with links to biogeochemical cycles, for example.
Biogeochemistry studies the processes involved in cycling of elements in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems by integrating physics, meteorology, geophysics, chemistry, geology and biology. Besides natural ecosystems, it also studies systems altered by human activity such as forests under different management regimes, drained peatlands, lakes loaded by excess nutrients and urban environments. The most important elements and substances studied are carbon, nitrogen, sulphur, water and phosphorus, which are vital for ecosystem functioning and processes such as photosynthesis. Biogeochemistry often focuses on the interphases of scientific disciplines and by doing so, it also combines different research methods. It treats ecosystems as open entities which are closely connected to the atmosphere and lithosphere. You will thus get versatile training in environmental issues and research techniques. As a graduate of this line you will be an expert in the functioning of ecosystems and the interactions between ecosystems and the atmosphere/hydrosphere/lithosphere in the context of global change. You will have knowledge applicable for solving global challenges such as climate change, air pollution, deforestation and issues related to water resources and eutrophication.
Remote sensing allows the collection of information about the atmosphere, oceans and land surfaces. Various techniques are applied for monitoring the state and dynamics of the Earth system from the ground, aircraft or satellites. While Lidar and radar scan from the surface or mounted on aircraft, instruments on polar orbiting or geostationary satellites permit measurements worldwide. In atmospheric sciences remote sensing has found numerous applications such as observations of greenhouse and other trace gases, aerosols, water vapour, clouds and precipitation, as well as surface observations, for example of vegetation, fire activity, snow cover, sea ice and oceanic parameters such as phytoplankton. Synergistic satellite data analysis enables the study of important processes and feedback in the climate system. Remote sensing advances climate research, weather forecasting, air quality studies, aviation safety and the renewable energy industry.
Atmospheric chemistry studies the composition and reactions of the molecules that make up the atmosphere, including atmospheric trace constituents and their role in chemical, geological and biological processes, including human influence. The low concentrations and high reactivity of these trace molecules place stringent requirements on the measurement and modelling methods used to study them. Analytical chemistry is the science of obtaining, processing, and communicating information about the composition and structure of matter and plays an essential role in the development of science. Environmental analysis consists of the most recent procedures for sampling, sample preparation and sample analysis and learning how to choose the best analytical methods for different environmental samples. Physical atmospheric chemistry studies focus on the reaction types and reaction mechanisms occurring in the atmosphere, with emphasis on reaction kinetics, thermodynamics and modelling methods.