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UMass Lowell Creates 'Atmosphere' for Unique Degree


          They delight in watching a Nor'easter, barreling up the coast. They actually know what "dewpoint" means. They are intensely curious about things like haze, ozone and particulate deposition.

          They are weather junkies, and many are flocking to an innovative advanced degree program at UMass Lowell.

The UMass Lowell master's in meteorology is unique to New England, as it concentrates on pollution issues in the boundary layer. (The only other program in Massachusetts, at MIT, focuses on climate.)

          "The boundary layer is where we live. It's the segment of the atmosphere closest to the ground," says Prof. Frank Colby, of Environmental, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences and graduate coordinator of the program. "Almost all pollution occurs in the boundary layer."

          Understanding and modeling the boundary layer is a real challenge. Every rock and hill affects the movement of air. When it comes to pollution, small motions can have large effects.

          Many UMass Lowell master's degree graduates work with environmental consulting companies. A typical assignment might be to calculate how a power plant in one state affects visibility in a national park hundreds of miles away.

Enrollment in this program is open to individuals with a baccalaureate degree in sciences, mathematics and engineering. Others may be admitted with the approval of the Graduate Coordinator.

For more information about the degree program, contact the Dept. of Environmental, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at 978-934-3900 or Prof. Frank Colby at (978) 934-3906, or on the Web at

For more information, contact or 978-934-3224