Department of Earth Sciences

Department of Earth Sciences


The Department of Earth Sciences offers comprehensive programs of study leading to Bachelor of Science degrees in Meteorology, Ocean Sciences and Coastal Studies, and Geology. We also offer a program for earning a Bachelor of Arts in Earth Sciences, with an option in Environmental Geology, and a Bachelor of Science in Education in Earth Science with a teaching certification in Earth and Space Science. In 2012 the Department launched a Master of Science in Integrated Scientific Applications with specializations in Weather Intelligence and Risk Management, Climate Science Applications, Geoinformatics, and Environmental Systems Management.

Department News

DES faculty and students participate in WACS II


Dr. Robert Vaillancourt, Evan Ntonados (OSCS/MET) and Jeremiah Stone (BIOL/OSCS) participated in a NOAA-sponsored project, the West Atlantic Climate Study (WACS II) aboard the research vessel (RV) Knorr, a 279-foot global class research ship, from May 18 to June 7. The focus of WACS II was to determine the links between surface ocean phytoplankton and the production of freshly-emitted sea-spray aerosols, organic compounds produced by phytoplankton that are then ejected to the lower atmosphere and impact Earth’s climate by attenuating incoming solar radiation and providing cloud condensation nucleii. The multi-investigator study site extended from just south of Nova Scotia Canada to the waters around Bermuda, and was headed by NOAA scientist Dr. Patricia Quinn, of the Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, Seattle WA. The Millersville University contribution was to measure phytoplankton biomass and species composition in the ocean’s upper mixed layer.

Meteorology students take part in lake-effect snow study


Fierce wind speed at 50-60 mph, snow accumulation of 5 inches/hr, and a wind chill of ‐40 F, while launching sounding balloons at 3:00am were just a few of the challenges that a group of 22 students from Millersville University had to face during a two-month field project to study lake-effect snow systems in upstate New York. Read more & visit snow flake photo gallery >>

Dr. DeCaria Authors Book on Numerical Modeling

decaria bookDr. DeCaria has recently published a book titled A First Course in Atmospheric Numerical Modeling, along with co-author Glenn Van Knowe who was a full-time, temporary faculty member at Millersville during the 2001-2002 academic year. Their book is published by Sundog Publishing, and is based on a course that Dr. DeCaria developed and teaches at Millersville. Learn more >>

Millersville University Becomes UCAR full member

In 1991, the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) created the Academic Affiliates Program (AAP) to provide a mechanism for participation for non-Ph.D. granting institutions offering programs in atmospheric and related science. Millersville University was a founding member of the AAP and has remained an active member in good standing for the past 22 years, with our faculty serving in leadership positions in the organization as members and chairs of governing committees, including as member of the UCAR Board of Trustees. Our level of involvement in UCAR has been at a level equal to that or exceeding many of the most active Ph.D. granting institutions. Yet, the AAP institutions had no voting power within UCAR and our presence was not necessary for a quorum. All this changed on 9 OCT 2013 when, as part of an ongoing effort by many within the organization, full members and AAP members alike, passed by two-thirds majority a change in the bylaws in favor of a unified membership. As regular members, the former AAP institutions will now enjoy all the rights and privileges of the Ph.D. granting members, most notably the right to a vote, but more importantly, the deserved recognition that we are equal partners in the UCAR community.