Atmospheric physics is the application of physics to the study of the atmosphere. Atmospheric physicists attempt to model Earth's atmosphere and the atmospheres of the other planets using fluid flow equations, chemical models, radiation balancing, and energy transfer processes in the atmosphere (as well as how these tie in to other systems such as the oceans). In order to model weather systems, atmospheric physicists employ elements of scattering theory, wave propagation models, cloud physics, statistical mechanics and spatial statistics which are highly mathematical and related to physics. It has close links to meteorology and climatology and also covers the design and construction of instruments for studying the atmosphere and the interpretation of the data they provide, including remote sensing instruments. (from Wikipedia, the free encyclopeda)
Spectrometry is the spectroscopic technique used to assess the concentration or amount of a given species. In those cases, the instrument that performs such measurements is a spectrometer or spectrograph. Spectroscopy/spectrometry is often used in physical and analytical chemistry for the identification of substances through the spectrum emitted from or absorbed by them.
For more information on the various topics covered by Atmospheric physics, you may wish to visit the Wikipedia Atmospheric Physics page.
The focus of research at StFX is on the characterization of the optical properties of gases by spectroscopic techniques, with the goal of a better understanding of Earth and planetary based atmospheres.
Department members working on atmospheric physics and spectroscopy:
Karine Le Bris