The work deals with the modelling of a nonequilibrium spherical microwave discharge. An effect of the higher modes of the incident electromagnetic waves on the properties of the discharge plasma is investigated. Numerical experiments are carried out for the discharge in an argon at atmospheric pressure. Results are presented for the characteristics of the discharge plasma against the external parameters (the mode, frequency and power of the applied electromagnetic field and the size of the discharge chamber). (c) 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.