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The Atmospheric and Geological Sciences Department is housed in the Shineman Science Center. The meteorology program has three outdoor observation decks and one internal observation room with glass walls facing north and west over the lake. Weather observation equipment constantly monitors changes in the weather both on campus and through a local meso-network. In addition, the meteorology program has a software program, GARP, that displays current weather, model forecasts, satellite and radar imagery, and a host of additional meteorological information.

Professor Steiger and student analyzing weather patterns


The Weather Station at Oswego receives all the standard weather data including observations across North America, weather maps, model output, satellite images and radar images, as well as forecasts from the National Weather Service. Students access these data over 30 computers available in the synoptic lab. Software to view these data includes the programs RAOB, GARP, IDV, NTRANS and Bufkit.

Chermack weather station


A 10-meter tower is located 30 meters from the Lake Ontario shoreline on the campus and measures temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, wind, visibility, precipitation type and amount. Mobile rawinsonde and tethersonde systems are used to measure the vertical profiles of temperature, humidity, and wind to research phenomena such as lake-effect snowstorms. Recently we acquired a mobile sodar, ceilometer, weather-in-a-tank, and wind tunnel to help students better learn about how the atmosphere works. A multitude of hand-held instruments are also available for student projects.

Scott Steiger talks to CNN about the unique lake-effect weather conditions at Oswego.


Oswego's location, on the shores of Lake Ontario, provides excellent opportunities for study of many spectacular weather events including lake breezes, water spouts and lake-effect snow. From the Shineman Center, we have access to three weather decks, as well as a room on the fourth floor with an expansive view of the lake that allows us to see weather phenomena from far off. Oswego's snow is legendary.


Equipment and labs

The structural geology lab houses petrographic and binocular microscopes, mineralogy and petrology specimens, and a variety of geophysical equipment (magnetometer, resistivity meter). There is also an all new microscopy lab with Zeiss Axio microsopes. Each microscope has a digital camera that allows students to photograph their sample and send the file directly to the instructor.

Our sedimentology laboratory contains a ro-tap and sieving equipment, as well as a variety of hydrological field gear, while the paleontology laboratory houses specimen collections, maps, and microscopes. The geochemistry laboratory contains a Frantz magnetic separator, vented laminar flow bench, a pair of electronic microbalances, and geochemical sample preparation items (Teflonware, trace metal-clean acids, ion exchange columns).

Our computer lab runs the latest versions of ArcGIS, RockWorks, GeoChemist Workbench, Canvas-GIS, and Surfer. Additional space houses rock preparation equipment, including diamond saw, rock splitter, jaw crusher, disk mill, ball mill, tumbler, and lapidary tools. In storage we retain a large collection of field geology and camping gear dedicated to the Geological Field Camp.