Postgraduate Studies in Weather and Climate Modeling

Course content

The study of weather and climate is intrinsically linked. Climate on the one hand can be considered as average weather, and on the other hand, if the climate changes, the impact will be primarily felt through extreme weather cases. Scientific progress in these fields heavily depends on the development and the use of numerical atmospheric models.
Additionally, the focus in climate science is shifting from global climate change to the study of regional climate impact, which demands the development of high-resolution numerical models.

The same type of modeling techniques are used to develop models for climate studies as the ones for weather applications. The aim of this postgraduate programme is to prepare scientists in the most efficient way to become active as a researcher in the modern discipline of atmospheric modeling for weather and climate applications. The content of the program is deeply rooted in the current scientific challenges encountered within the international ALADIN and HIRLAM consortia. These consortia develop and maintain the European HARMONIE system that is used for making numerical weather predictions and climate studies.
In the first semester the programme will provide the necessary basic training in meteorology, climatology and numerical analysis, that forms the basis for the atmospheric sciences. In the second semester, the postgraduate will build further on this basis to introduce the students to atmospheric modeling, data assimilation, predictability, remote sensing and chemical air pollution models.
This postgraduate is given in cooperation with the RMI (Royal Meteorological Institute). To be in touch with the current research, the courses are given by (international) specialists working at the RMI, Belgocontrol, VITO, ALADIN, HIRLAM ...

Course structure

The first semester consists of some basic courses like general meteorology, climatology … In the second semester one will build further on this basis in more specific courses. The weekly course sessions are concentrated in two afternoons, typically Monday and Tuesday. Data assimilation and atmospheric modeling are two exceptions and are taught intensively during one or two weeks in the second semester. The schedule is made after deliberation with the students.

To make it easier to combine the studies with a fulltime job, it will be possible to follow the ’Weather and Climate Modeling’ studies in a 2-year evening programme. In this way the number of courses the students follow yearly is halved. Most of the courses are taught in the evening once every 2 years. If you enrol for the 2-year evening programme, you can follow nearly all the courses after 17h30. The 1-year program can be followed every year. On the other hand, signing up for the 2-year system is only possible every 2 years (for example in 2014-2015 or in 2016-2017 but not in 2015-2016).

Career perspectives

The ultimate goal is to prepare young scientists for research in international projects such as THORPEX (www.wmo.int/thorpex). This 10-year international global atmospheric research and development programme was established by the WMO (in 2003) and is aimed at reducing and mitigating the impact of disasters by transforming forecasts into information for decision making.
This includes:
– extending the range and accuracy of weather forecasts;
– development of warnings for decision-making;
– assessing the impact of weather forecasts in the strategies to minimize the impact of disasters.
The Postgraduate Studies in Weather and Climate Modeling offers the essential courses needed to start research in meteorology and numerical weather prediction.