ATMO 105: Introductory Meteorology

Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Fall 2018


This is a lecture and labratory course that introduces students to the atmosphere, weather and climate phenomena, and their controlling physical processes. Topics covered include: the structure of the atmosphere climate and climate change, air pollution, clouds and precipitation, pressure and wind systems, severe weather, and weather forecasting.
Upon completion of the course, you will be able to:

  • Know the physics and forces controlling atmospheric motion and various weather phenomena
  • Understand basic meteorological charts including surface analyses, radar and satellite
  • Explain how clouds form and describe the mechanisms that produce precipitation
  • Prepare simple weather forecasts based on the evolution and movement of weather systems
  • Recongnize human impacts on climate and be aware of scenarios describing potential climate change
  • Identify common features of severe and hazardous weather

ATMO 505: Weather Forecasting

Fall 2018


This course introduces you to the culture of meteorology: the terms, charts, tools and a few of the fundamental concepts. This class is meant to be a bridge between the introduction to meteorology course and the more mathematically rigorous courses of physical, dynamic, and synoptic meteorology. Specific topics include interpreting meteorological observations, weather maps and soundings, and use of numerical weather prediction models to diagnose and predict the weather.
Upon completion of the course, you will be able to:

  • Prepare a forecast based on sound meteorological principles using effective written and oral communication
  • Understand, assess, and interpret basic meteorological observations and remote sensing products
  • Apply simple atmospheric dynamics and thermodynamic principles to analyze weather maps and soundings
  • Use observations and numerical models to diagnose the current weather and predict vertical velocit
  • Participate in a national forecasting competition
  • Comprehend salient properties of weather systems and show real-world examples of concepts and phenomena learned in ATMO 105

ATMO 630: Synoptic Meteorology

Spring 2018


This is a course that bridges physical understanding and mathematical descriptions of the kinematics, dynamics, and energetics of mid-latitude, synoptic meteorology with an emphasis on the development extratropical cyclones. Specific topics may include fronts and frontogenesis, synoptic climatology, jet stream dynamics, barotropic and baroclinic waves, instabilities, the diagnosis of vertical motion, and the dynamics of mid-latitude cyclones from both the omega-centric and potential vorticity perspectives.
Upon completion of the course, you will be able to:

  • Describe processes that lead to significant ageostrophic circulations in the atmosphere such as the formation and strengthening of fronts and/or jet streak dynamics
  • Diagnose and predict the presence of upward and downward vertical motion using quasi-geostrophic theory and/or potential vorticity
  • Apply the standard synoptic models for extratropical cyclone development and recognize any significant deviations from typical cases
  • Assess and interpret the dynamics of the atmosphere in the context of mid-latitude systems
  • Synthesize peer-reviewed literature and review a case study or other topic from synoptic meteorology

ATMO 697: Senior Seminar

Fall 2016, Spring 2017


This course is your time to shine! Current research in atmospheric science will be discussed and students are encouraged to research any problem of interest in meteorology, climate, or a closely-related social science. The course culminates with students presenting 45-minute seminars on an original topic of their choice.
Upon completion of the course, you will be able to:

  • Use professional databases to search for and find examples of peer-reviewed, scientific literature
  • Read, synthesize, and understand recent work from multiple sources regarding a complex problem in physical and/or social sciences
  • Prepare and deliver a 45-minute seminar on a topic of your choice
  • Demonstrate critical thinking by asking and responding to questions during seminar talks
  • Write a short proposal and seminar abstract that successfully communicates the importance of your results and/or others’ work

ATMO 731: Clouds, Climate & Precipitation

Fall 2017


This is a special topics graduate elective course that bridges cloud physics, physical climatology, and climate dynamics with a central theme regarding how clouds and precipitation interact with a central theme regarding how clouds and precipitation interact with the Earth's climate system. Specific topics include aerosol-cloud interactions, large scale convective organization in the tropics and mid-latitudes, diabatic feedbacks on the general circulation, natural climate variability, and cloud effects in global climate models. How cloud systems have changed in recent decades, in addition to future model scenarios, are also discussed.
Upon completion of the course, you will be able to:

  • Explain the impacts of natural and anthropogenic aerosols on clouds and precipitation
  • Understand how convective and stratiform rain are generated in the tropics, mid-latitudes, and polar regions and their associated effects upon the general circulation
  • Recognize and discuss potential cloud trends in observations and climate models
  • Know the climate sensitivity of different cloud regimes across the Earth
  • Recognize the overall impacts of clouds and be aware of scenarios describing potential climate change