Course Spotlight: ATMS 517 - Data Science for the Geosciences

Interested in learning and applying cutting-edge data science techniques in Python to key weather and climate problems?  Then ATMS 517: Data Science for the Geosciences is for you! It is one of the cornerstone courses for both the online graduate certificate and master’s degree in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences!

Many petabytes of exciting geosciences data have been observed and curated by NASA and NOAA in anticipation of new tools designed to yield insights and improve forecasts of Earth processes, especially of high-impact climate and weather phenomena.

headshotTeaching Assistant Professor Alicia Klees, the creator of this course and the instructor, emphasizes that “this course is focused on so much more than simply learning lines of Python codes and functions; students will also learn key underlying statistical principles, best practices, and caveats, so that they can rigorously and successfully apply these tools.”

In this unique course, you’ll learn Python tools for data science and analytics that will help you thoughtfully select, process, analyze, interpret, and visualize these types of data!

Topics in the course include:

  • data and data ethics

  • basic coding syntax and techniques – you do not have to have prior experience programming in Python*

  • applying basic statistics

  • using Pandas, Xarray, and other powerful scientific packages

  • smoothing, interpolating, grouping & cleaning data

  • running correlations & linear regressions on data

  • smartly visualizing your data

In ATMS 517, all lessons are pre-recorded, offering students flexibility to work through material on their own schedule, which these busy students have appreciated.  To provide opportunities for peer interactions, and to address coding challenges, Dr. Klees leads a weekly lab over Zoom (with evening scheduling options).  During lab, students often tackle tricky coding tasks in a small group setting, providing a unique opportunity to learn from peers, too!  There’s also a heavily-used course Slack for questions that arise in between labs!

ATMS 517 culminates in a project for which each student applies the data science process to answer an interesting, geoscience-related question of their choice.  Students are encouraged to showcase this project as a part of their portfolio –an excellent addition to any job or promotion application!

Want to learn more about ATMS 517 and/or ATMS’s online programs?  Feel free to reach out directly to Dr. Klees at  ATMS 517 is typically offered in fall semesters, including Fall 2022!

*Having some prior experience in any programming language, and/or in quantitative data analysis in general, is helpful.

Share this post:
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin