Advanced Atmospheric Physics

By Prof. MV Sunil Krishna   |   IIT Roorkee
Learners enrolled: 1002
This course attempts to impart knowledge on advanced aspects of atmospheric and space physics. Starting with the basics of inertial and non-inertial forces and various dynamical phenomenon it leads to understanding various important aspects such as atmospheric waves and instabilities. The second half of the course is devoted to the understanding of various phenomenon related to ionosphere, the coupling between solar energy and magnetosphere, single particle motion in a variety of electric and magnetic fields, formation of earth’s radiation belts etc. This course can be an extension to the earlier NPTEL course: Introduction to atmospheric and space sciences.

INTENDED AUDIENCE B.Tech (4th year), MSc (2nd year), MTech (1st year), Pre-PhD


INDUSTRY SUPPORT Relevant for R & D based organizations such as ISRO, NCMRWF, IMD, DRDO.
Course Status : Completed
Course Type : Elective
Duration : 12 weeks
Category :
  • Physics
Credit Points : 3
Level : Postgraduate
Start Date : 23 Jan 2023
End Date : 14 Apr 2023
Enrollment Ends : 06 Feb 2023
Exam Registration Ends : 17 Mar 2023
Exam Date : 30 Apr 2023 IST

Note: This exam date is subjected to change based on seat availability. You can check final exam date on your hall ticket.

Page Visits

Course layout

Week 1:Atmospheric dynamics, Apparent forces, effective gravity, Coriolis force, pressure gradient force, gradient wind
Week 2:Thermal wind, continuity equation, perturbation theory and atmospheric waves
Week 3:Sound waves, gravity waves and Rossby waves, Momentum and energy transports by waves in the horizontal and the vertical
Week 4:Atmospheric instabilities, Atmospheric instabilities, dynamical instabilities, barotropic instability,
Week 5:baroclinic inertial instability, Necessary condition of barotropic and baroclinic instability.
Week 6:Combined barotropic and baroclinic instability. Kelvin-Helmholtz instability
Week 7:Ionosphere: Formation of Ionosphere, Chemical processes, Ionospheric conductivity
Week 8:Planetary ionospheres, Ionospheric exploration using rockets and satellites
Week 9:Langmuir probe, temperature measurements, airglow and aurora, radio wave propagation in the ionosphere.
Week 10:Magnetosphere: Earth as a magnet, solar wind, types and theory of solar wind
Week 11:Frozen-in magnetic field, interaction of solar wind with Earth’s magnetic field and formation of magnetosphere, single particle motion in in homogeneous electric and magnetic fields
Week 12:Inter planetary magnetic field (IMF), geomagnetic storms, van-allen radiation belts, plasmasphere, coronal holes, CMEs, satellite observations of various plasma domains and plasma instabilities.

Books and references

1.Wallace J and Hobbs, P V, “Atmospheric Science”, Academic Press
2.Rees M H, “Physics & Chemistry of Upper Atmosphere”, Cambridge Univ. Press
3.Ratcliffe J A, “An Introduction to the Ionosphere & Magnetosphere, Cambridge Univ. Press
4.Smithson P, “Fundamentals of Physical Environment”, Ken Addison and Attrinson
5.Rogers R R, “ A short course in Cloud Physics”, Pergamon Press

Instructor bio

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.

Course certificate

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: 
30 April 2023 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

YOU WILL BE ELIGIBLE FOR A CERTIFICATE ONLY IF AVERAGE ASSIGNMENT SCORE >=10/25 AND EXAM SCORE >= 30/75. 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.

Once again, thanks for your interest in our online courses and certification. Happy learning.

- NPTEL team

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