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Alpana Chandrashekar standing outside and smiling

Alpana aspires to develop a career in sustainable living, focusing on urban or coastal flooding and the environmental impact of rising sea levels. To achieve this ambition she plans to undertake a PhD in climate change, however, to do this Alpana has identified that she needs to enhance her skillset in programming and coding. The MSc Climate Change and Artificial Intelligence course at Reading allows her to develop these skills alongside her understanding of our changing climate.

Discovering a passion for programming

Prior to joining the University of Reading, Alpana studied in India, acquiring an undergraduate degree in mathematics and a master’s in atmospheric science. She also completed a summer internship at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology.

“During my internship I developed an interest for programming and was getting comfortable using software like GrADS and Python. I formed an understanding of different phenomena like ENSO and IOD and how these climate drivers influence the climate in the Indo-Pacific region. This was a really crucial moment for me and I knew that I would be happy to code for a living.

“I knew that I needed to improve my skills in Python, which is when I thought of applying for the MSc Climate Change and Artificial Intelligence course at Reading. I really wanted to learn coding and apply it together with my knowledge of atmospheric science.”

The University of Reading has one of the largest academic communities of atmospheric, ocean and space physicists in the world, and we are ranked 4th in the world for Atmospheric Science (ShanghaiRanking 2022 Global Ranking of Academic Subjects).

Our internationally-renowned staff have expertise in a wide variety of topics, including: extreme weather, long-term climate change, atmospheric and space physics, oceanography and renewable energy.

“Before coming to the UK, I knew that the University of Reading was one of the top institutions in the world to pursue a degree in meteorology and climate science. I am looking forward to doing a PhD in climate change more than ever now!

Artificial intelligence and climate science

Alpana recognises that artificial intelligence is a rapidly growing subject, transforming how we collect and use data. It has the potential to help solve and understand complex global challenges, including the climate crisis.

“AI can be used for better prediction of weather and climate events. My dissertation focuses on predicting floods and lake levels with the help of rainfall data. By using a Long Short-Term Memory (LSTM) algorithm, we are able to make better predictions of when natural disasters might occur – helping to protect lives.”

Interdisciplinary learning

MSc Climate Change and Artificial Intelligence is the first postgraduate course of its kind in the UK to offer a complementary combination of disciplines, drawing expertise from Reading’s Department of Meteorology, Department of Computer Science, the Walker Institute and the triple-accredited Henley Business School.

“I have had so many interesting debates with other students, especially when discussing climate change in relation to values, ethics and justice in a module delivered by the Walker Institute.

“The modules from various departments have been so helpful in different ways, and I am now able to communicate climate data in a universal way so that end users can understand how climate might affect their businesses.

“I expanded my knowledge of climate science and international organisations that exist to provide research on climate change, such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Learning about causal and statistical interference helped me with my dissertation, as I was taught how to use Graphviz software in Python. I received insight into organisational behaviour and hierarchy within business and developed networks with other students within the Henley Business School as a result of group work.”

Learn about our MSc Climate Change and Artificial Intelligence course