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Study atmospheric science fieldwork

Dates: 12-24 May 2024
Location: Blencathra Field Studies Council Centre, Cumbria

Applications close 29 February 2024.

The Atmospheric Measurement & Modelling Summer School provides the key skills required for practical fieldwork with guidance from leading researchers. We also help you to appreciate the linkages between modelling and observations in a digital ecosystem.

Atmospheric science can only deliver and address the pressing issues through the implementation of such an ecosystem. This means training and developing the next generation scientists around this idea.

In the beautiful Lake District, we will provide students with a fast-paced and friendly fieldwork experience. You will work in a team to investigate a big science question through design and execution of field experiments.

You will gain confidence, experience, and in-depth knowledge of how real fieldwork takes place and learn how to use models and observations to test hypotheses that improve our understanding of the world and allow us to make better forecasts.

Take note, the Atmospheric Measurement & Modelling Summer School isn’t just for practical scientists. Anyone who works with observational data will benefit from a better understanding of how data is collected.

We encourage applications from PhD students, early career researchers, and anyone with an interest in measurement-based fieldwork. We aim to provide Summer School places for as many applicants as possible. Should we be oversubscribed we will be using voluntary Equality Diversity and Inclusion data to ensure a broad representation of students. On this course you will take part in both outdoor practical measurement activities and computer modelling activities. We are committed to making the course inclusive and accessible to all potential participants and we would encourage anyone with an interest in practical fieldwork and modelling to apply. We aim to provide reasonable adjustments, for example to the physical environment or activity design, to enable full engagement with the planned activities through effective consultation. If you want to request adjustments, or flexibility with the course schedule, have any questions or need support with your application please contact training@ncas.ac.uk

How to apply


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Learning outcomes

By the end of the course students will be able to:

  1. Design and manage a large project, i.e. a field experiment to answer scientific questions;
  2. Calibrate and use atmospheric measurement equipment to acquire measurements;
  3. Make collected data findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable following FAIR principles;
  4. Interpret atmospheric prediction model data;
  5. Define errors in measurement, as well as uncertainty in models based on the acquired data.


In order for students to get the most out of their time on the Atmospheric Measurement and Modelling Summer School we require some background knowledge. This may be obtained through previous study or experience, attendance on an NCAS training course or some pre-course study via e-learning. Access to the pre-learning materials will be provided via the learning management system once registration on the Atmospheric Measurement and Modelling Summer School has been confirmed.

Required knowledge – students should be able to:

  1. Interpret surface pressure charts to produce a weather forecast;
  2. Calculate and explain errors and uncertainty in observations;
  3. Explain how data should be managed and stored to provide high quality data in a consistent format;
  4. Explain the background to atmospheric modelling;
  5. Explain the background to the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model;
  6. Demonstrate an understanding of diversity, equality and inclusion when related to fieldwork;
  7. Demonstrate an understanding of sustainability when related to fieldwork;
  8. Demonstrate an understanding of risk and risk assessment when related to fieldwork;

Pre-study options, via attendance on NCAS courses or provided via the LMS:

  1. We strongly encourage students to attend the Introduction to Atmospheric Science course for a broad background in atmospheric science, including weather forecasting basics. Where students are unable to attend the course they will be asked to view videos of the relevant sessions;
  2. Complete the Errors and Uncertainty in observations learning module;
  3. Watch the data stewardship elearning module;
  4. Watch the introductory videos about the fundamentals in atmospheric modelling;
  5. Watch the introductory video about the WRF Modelling System;
  6. Complete the DEI elearning module;
  7. Complete the sustainability elearning module;
  8. Complete the risk assessment elearning module.

Teaching staff

The Atmospheric Measurement & Modelling Summer School is taught by researchers with experience in field campaigns across the globe, from Borneo to Cape Verde, and using models to forecast the impact of volcanic eruptions.

Our teaching staff will be confirmed by September 2023.

Course schedule

The Atmospheric Measurement & Modelling Summer School runs a fast-paced and full-on programme. We run activities from 08:30 to 20:00 on most days, but there is scheduled free time so you can unwind and adjust to the fieldwork experience. We often start the day with short lectures, but most of the time you’ll be carrying out hands-on measurements and working in outdoor locations around the local area.

Days 1-2: Setting up a science problem, planning safe and sustainable science, introduction to instrumentation, planning your measurement strategy
Day 3: Introduction to modelling and comparing field measurements to model data
Day 4: All day measurement campaign (walk up nearby hill or accessible level path)
Day 5: Free time
Day 6: Measurement campaign data analysis and model comparison
Days 7-9: Measurements using unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) equipment, weather balloons and greenhouse gas (GHG) instruments.
Day 10: Free time
Day 11: Final presentations
Day 12: Depart


There is a charge to attend the Atmospheric Measurement & Modelling Summer School. Once you have been offered a place on this course, you will be asked to pay the course fees via the University of Leeds online store. The course fee includes all tuition, activities and materials, and accommodation in shared rooms at the field centre and all meals.

Full academic rate: £2,503
Educational discount rate: £1,669

The discounted rate may be available to students and post-doctoral researchers who are not eligible for the for the subsidised rate.

NCAS Subsidised rate: £1,117

This is available for UK and EU students attending UK universities or students supervised by National Centre for Atmospheric Science staff members.

Travel and accommodation


Accommodation is provided at the Blencathra Field Studies Council Centre, in shared rooms.


Attendees are responsible for arranging and paying for their own transport to and from Penrith train station.

All students are expected to attend all aspects of the Atmospheric Field Measurement & Modelling Summer School.

Terms and conditions


Attendees are required to pay in full by credit/debit card or provide a valid purchase order from their home organisation by the confirmation deadline. All payments and refunds are processed by the University of Leeds.

Cancellations/ refunds

Attendee cancellations are subject to a £50 administration fee, plus any accommodation cancellation costs incurred by us, where the cancellation is made more than six weeks (twelve weeks for the Atmospheric Measurement Summer School) before the date of the training course. The remaining balance of the course fee will be refunded.

No refund is payable for a cancellation made within six weeks (twelve weeks for the Atmospheric Measurement Summer School) immediately prior to the training course – in this event the full course fee will remain payable. In the event that a place can be filled by another student then the full fee (less the £50 administration fee) will be refunded once the replacement student has paid in full.

All cancellations must be sent in writing to training@ncas.ac.uk.

Amendments and cancellations

It may be necessary for us to change the content and timing of a course, the staff, the date or the venue. In the unlikely event of the course being cancelled, we will provide a full refund. For all bookings, the liability of the National Centre for Atmospheric Science/University of Leeds shall be limited to the amount of the fee paid to the National Centre for Atmospheric Science/University of Leeds by the delegate.