The Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences at SD Mines has a rich history of research going back to 1959, when a special resolution created the Institute of Atmospheric Sciences. At that time, the emphasis was on weather modification and hail damage research. Today, areas of scientific emphasis have broadened to include aspects of atmospheric and environmental studies varying from air quality and convection in the atmosphere to ecosystem structure and the effects of climate on our earth's ecosystems. In addition to creating a research facility, it was also necessary to create a teaching unit that allowed master's degree students to complete the work required by the scientists while they earned their graduate degree in meteorology (now atmospheric and environmental sciences). These students, then and now, work as colleagues of the research scientists.

The expanded mission of the Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences is to study the physical, chemical, and biological processes that affect the composition and dynamics of the earth's atmosphere. Our research and educational programs focus on regionally relevant issues of national concern and global importance. Research conducted at the department is linked to undergraduate, master of science (MS) and doctor of philosophy (PhD) degree curricula that provide a fundamental understanding of the atmosphere, biosphere, and hydrosphere. Together our research and educational programs provide opportunities for students to conduct theoretical and applied research and training related to earth-atmosphere systems and their interactions.

Our vision is to create opportunities for students to become colleagues with the research faculty, conducting leading-edge science to determine how the Continental Earth System functions, and transforming this science into products and services of value to society. Our researchers convert observations made across scales of time and space, from atmosphere to leaf, into fluxes of heat, moisture, material, and momentum. These fluxes are then incorporated into numerical models that describe the behavior of natural systems and that can predict their behavior in the future.

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