PAOC oversees a broad program of education and research in atmospheric, oceanic, and climate sciences. We are engaged in some of the most intellectually challenging and important problems in science, such as the physics of hurricanes, and the dynamics of ice ages. PAOC is part of the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at MIT and includes members from other MIT departments and from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

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image credit: Nadine and Dick Lindzen.  The 2013 PAOC Retreat: Sun and Science on Jiminy Peak


The phenomena under study involve a large array of scientific disciplines - geophysics, geochemistry, physical and chemical oceanography, meteorology, atmospheric chemistry, and planetary science. The program carries out research and gives instruction in all of these principal areas. Perhaps more than any other program in the world, PAOC offers its students unique opportunities for interdisciplinary study and research. In all areas we emphasize a combination of theoretical, observational and modeling approaches.

Students and researchers come from all over the world attracted not only by our programs but also the city of Cambridge and its environs which contain many institutions active in atmospheric and oceanographic research; Harvard University, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and the Boston Office of the National Weather Service, as well as many private companies.

Contact with all of these institutions is maintained through seminars and symposia. Moreover students can formally take subjects at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Harvard University. The research and educational programs of PAOC also benefit from the larger intellectual milieu provided by MIT with its strengths in science and engineering. In research there are no departmental boundaries and we collaborate freely across discipline. PAOC is also involved in undergraduate education within the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences.