Swayam Central

Introduction to Atmospheric and Space Sciences

By Prof. MV Sunil Krishna   |   IIT Roorkee
This course introduces the basics of Earth’s atmosphere to graduate and post-graduate students.It starts from the evolution of atmosphere and gives understanding of various physical and chemical processes responsible for the observed changes we see in weather and climate. It gives a comprehensive understanding of neutral atmosphere, ionosphere and various plasma processes. This course will introduce the fundamentals of the various interrelations in atmospheric and space physics, the basic scientific methods and techniques.

INTENDED AUDIENCE : M.Sc (Physics), MSc (Chemistry),
                                                MSc (Mathematics),
M.Tech (Atmospheric Science),
                                                B.Tech (Civil), B.Tech (Mechanical),
PREREQUISITES : BSc level Physics / B.Tech (I) level Physics course

Learners enrolled: 516


Course Status : Upcoming
Course Type : Elective
Duration : 12 weeks
Start Date : 27 Jan 2020
End Date : 17 Apr 2020
Exam Date : 25 Apr 2020
Enrollment Ends : 03 Feb 2020
Category :
  • Physics
  • Level : Undergraduate/Postgraduate
    This is an AICTE approved FDP course


    Week 1 : Atmospheric evolution, solar radiation, present day atmospheric constituents, various stages in the evolution of earth’s
    atmosphere, formation of ozone, carbon budget, oxygen chemistry and life on earth.
    Week 2 : Variation of temperature with height, density and ionization with altitude, classification of atmosphere based on
    temperature and pressure, hydrostatic equation, hypsometric equation
    Week 3 : Fundamental forces, non-inertial forces, momentum equations governing the motions in atmosphere, curvature effect,
    various scales of atmospheric motions.
    Week 4 : Thermodynamics of earth’s atmosphere, humidity variables, moist air, potential and virtual temperatures, air parcel
    theory, adiabatic expansion of unsaturated air, various lapse rates, vertical mixing of atmosphere,
    Week 5 : Stability of atmosphere, buoyancy effects, expressing stability in various parameters, thermodynamic diagrams,
    convective available potential energy,atmospheric radiation, saturated lapse rate and significance in thermodynamic variables
    Week 6 : Atmospheric absorption and greenhouse effect, atmospheric aerosols, origin and characterization of aerosols,
    physical and chemical characteristics of aerosols, cloud condensation nuclei
    Week 7 : Forced lifting of air, cloud formation and growth, cloud morphology, growth of cloud droplets, terminal velocity of rain droplets
    Week 8 : Physics of lightening, radiative transfer and budget, atmospheric equations of motion, atmospheric absorption, albedo
    Week 9 : Earth’s upper atmosphere, Ionosphere, various layers and chemistry of ionosphere, types of reactions,
    Week 10 : Composite F layer, single particle motion in homogeneous fields
    Week 11 : Single particle motion in in homogeneous electric and magnetic fields
    Week 12 : Chapman’s theory of layer production, airglow and aurora, Earth’s magnetosphere, reconnection and measurement
    techniques using ground based and space borne instruments.


    1.Seeds M.A., “Solar System”, Brooks/Cole Thomson Learning 2007
    2.Houghton J.T. “Physics of Atmosphere”, Cambridge Univ. Press 2002
    3.Rogers R R, “A Short Course in Cloud Physics”, Pergamon Press 1989
    4.Anastasios A. Tsonis., “An Introduction to Atmospheric Thermodynamics”, Cambridge University Press 2007
    5.Pruppacher, H.R. & J.D. Klett, “Microphysics of Cloud and Precipitation”, Springer 2010
    6. H.J. Critchfield, “General Climatology”, Prentice-Hall of India. 1994
    7. Murray L. Salby , Fundamentals of Atmospheric Physics, Academic Press. 1996
    8. Ratcliffe, J.A, “An Introduction to Ionosphere and Magnetosphere”, Cambridge University Press 1972
    9. Chen F F, “Introduction to Plasma Physics”, Plenum Press New York 1990
    10. John M. Wallace and Peter. V. Hobbs, Atmospheric science and introductory survey, International Geophysical Series, volume 92, Academic Press,


    Prof. MV Sunil Krishna

    IIT Roorkee
    1. M.Sc. (Physics) from Sri Venkateswara University, Tirupati 2. M.Phil (Theoretical High Energy Physics) from University of Hyderabad 3. Ph.D (Atmospheric and Space Physics), IIT Roorkee Assistant Professor in Physics at IIT Roorkee since 2011. I carry research in the area of atmospheric and space physics. With specific interest in understanding the space weather effects on the neutral atmosphere and ionosphere by combining satellite, ground based measurements and modeling techniques. Our research group at IIT Roorkee tries to understand how intense solar prominences such as solar flares and coronal mass ejections effect the geospace in general and the mesosphere-thermosphere and ionosphere in particular.


    • The course is free to enroll and learn from. But if you want a certificate, you have to register and write the proctored exam conducted by us in person at any of the designated exam centres.
    • The exam is optional for a fee of Rs 1000/- (Rupees one thousand only).
    Date and Time of Exams: 25th April 2020, Morning session 9am to 12 noon; Afternoon Session 2pm to 5pm.
    • Registration url: Announcements will be made when the registration form is open for registrations.
    • The online registration form has to be filled and the certification exam fee needs to be paid. More details will be made available when the exam registration form is published. If there are any changes, it will be mentioned then.
    • Please check the form for more details on the cities where the exams will be held, the conditions you agree to when you fill the form etc.

    • Average assignment score = 25% of average of best 8 assignments out of the total 12 assignments given in the course. 
    • Exam score = 75% of the proctored certification exam score out of 100
    • Final score = Average assignment score + Exam score

    • If one of the 2 criteria is not met, you will not get the certificate even if the Final score >= 40/100.
    • Certificate will have your name, photograph and the score in the final exam with the breakup.It will have the logos of NPTEL and IIT Roorkee. It will be e-verifiable at nptel.ac.in/noc.
    • Only the e-certificate will be made available. Hard copies will not be dispatched.