The University of South Alabama is a state university consisting of ten schools and colleges. Established in 1963,
USA has steadily grown to an enrollment of approximately 15,000 students and nearly 800 faculty. The meteorology program
began in 1991 as a "Concentration in Geography" and graduated its first student in 1995. In 1999, the Alabama Commission
on Higher Education officially granted a "Bachelor of Science in Meteorology." Meteorology is taught in the College of Arts
and Sciences and is part of the Department of Earth Sciences, which also includes the disciplines of geography and geology.
Why study meteorology at the University of South Alabama?
Well, take a look at what we have to offer:
- A Sound Curriculum
- Small Classes and Individual Attention
- Unique On-Campus Weather Forecasting Center
- Gulf Coast Weather: Experiencing a Natural Laboratory
- U.S. Air Force ROTC
A Sound Curriculum
Kyle Roebling and Dallas Nix analyze an upper air sounding in Physical Meteorology 356.
The University of South Alabama offers a curriculum designed to provide each student with a thorough understanding of the laws
of atmospheric behavior. Each student is exposed to the latest techniques in weather forecasting and atmospheric remote sensing.
As a preparation for a career in forecasting, the procedures and importance of disseminating weather information to the public and
industry are stressed. Because of close ties with the National Weather Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Keesler Air Force
Base, and major area industries, students have the opportunity to visit and observe meteorologists in the field and discuss the
importance of weather with those who depend on accurate and timely weather information.
Students completing the meteorology curriculum will have a Bachelor of Science Degree in Meteorology. In order to prepare students for
the many diverse areas of meteorological employment, several tracks of study are offered that enable students to specialize in such
areas as industrial, broadcast, and environmental.
Small Classes and Individual Attention
Dr. Keith Blackwell offers suggestions to Robert Gauthreaux as he prepares his forecast briefing for Synoptic Meteorology 454.
Although the University of South Alabama has grown tremendously since its inception in 1963, classes remain small and,
contrary to many other universities, are taught only by the faculty. The small class size makes it possible for the faculty to
provide individual attention. Students are closely advised and counseled as they progress through their meteorology curriculum with
an emphasis on post graduate employment. This close supervision enables the faculty to direct each student toward an appropriate
position in what has become a field with a promising job market. With the focus on global warming, our fragile environment, and the
escalating costs of adverse and severe weather, meteorologists will play an important role in the scientific community over the next
For example, meteorologists are now found in many areas including the National Weather Service, the military, private and
governmental research centers, teaching, county and state environmental agencies, private weather services, and the media.
Unique On-Campus Weather Forecasting Center
Costal Weather Research Center Entrance (Click to enlarge in a new window)
Established in January 1988, the Coastal Weather Research Center was designed to promote and support meteorological education
and research through:
- Meteorology workshops and seminars
- A climatological and hurricane data archive
- Research on the interaction of coastal and oceanic environments
- The operation of a weather laboratory and information center
Through the interest and support of local and regional industry and the University community, the Weather Center has been able to
effectively pursue its objectives.
A strong and active part of the Weather Center's operation is a state-of-the-art information
center and weather laboratory. A variety of weather information, such as forecasts, severe weather alerts, and climate data is
provided to businesses, industries, and municipal governments in Alabama, Florida, and Mississippi. The Computerized Weather
Information Service transmits Weather Center and National Weather Service information to businesses 24 hours daily.
Costal Weather Research Center (Click to enlarge in a new window)
The Coastal Weather Research Center is located in the Mitchell Center
the main campus of the University of South Alabama. The Weather Center is a fully-operational weather forecast center, a unique facility
for any college in the nation. It plays a key role in the meteorology program by providing a nucleus for students and faculty to
gather and discuss weather and engage in research projects.
The presence of the Coastal Weather Research Center on the campus provides the meteorology student with the opportunity to experience
weather forecasting and industrial meteorology first hand. An array of equipment and workstations allows each student meteorologist to
have access to the same radar, satellite, and alphanumeric data that are used by the forecasting staff. In addition, students will have
the chance to work at the Weather Center where they can combine classroom theory with actual weather forecasting applications.
Gulf Coast Weather: Experiencing a Natural Laboratory
Waterspout over Mobile Bay - As seen from the Interstate 10 Bridge, or "The Bayway".
The Mobile area and the Alabama Gulf Coast is a virtual weather laboratory where students can experience many of the weather
phenomena studied in the classroom. What could be better than to study meteorology in Mobile, one of the wettest major cities
in the United States with one of the highest thunderstorm frequencies in the nation! Then in the summer and fall, all eyes focus
on the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean as hurricane season unfolds. Although direct hurricane landfalls on the
Mobile area are rare, the region often receives fringe effects of Gulf hurricanes as far away as Texas. Because of this threat,
hurricanes are taken seriously by the local residents and the business community and thus are given special attention in the
meteorology curriculum, as are all forms of severe weather.
U.S. Air Force ROTC
WC-130 J Departs Keesler A.F.B. in Biloxi Mississippi. Keesler is home to the 53rd
Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, known
as the Hurricane Hunters
The U.S. Air Force needs meteorologists! The mission of Air Force ROTC is to educate and prepare college graduates to be Air
Force officers, not only to fly sophisticated aircraft, but also to operate high speed weather computers, and to serve as
meteorologists. The Air Force's demand for trained meteorologists is among the highest in the nation. The meteorology program
at USA was created in part to help satisfy the Air Force's demand.
Through your meteorology studies and Air Force ROTC training at USA, you'll receive the initial training required to assume
positions of increasing responsibility in today's high-tech environment. There are presently outstanding scholarship opportunities
for high school students and university students studying meteorology. Scholarships up to 4 years are available on a competitive
basis to high school seniors and students currently enrolled may compete for 2 or 3 year scholarships. When students graduate,
they will be commissioned a second lieutenant in the Air Force. Call Air Force ROTC at (251) 460-7211 for more information or to
begin the application process.
Interested in a degree in Meteorology?
Email any one of our faculty members to begin your adventure!