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School of Environment, Education and Development

BSc Geography and Geology with a year abroad

Year of entry: 2018

Course unit details:

Unit code EART30551
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by School of Earth and Environmental Sciences
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


Develop practical skills in analyzing and interpreting weather charts and data. Learn how the dynamics of the atmosphere produces the jet stream, low-pressure systems, fronts, thunderstorms, and tornadoes. Find out how clouds and precipitation are formed.


The course is open to environmental scientists, geographers, Earth and planetary scientists, and others interested in developing practical knowledge of weather phenomena.




What Skills I Hope You Will Learn:


Obtaining a basic understanding of how weather happens.

Understanding how environmental predictions are made, specifically weather forecasts.

Developing the ability to read and interpret weather data and maps.

Learning outcomes

After successful completion of this course unit, students will have an understanding of:

•       The driving factors for weather patterns across the Earth,

•       How to read and interpret standard weather charts, such as those available on the Internet,

•       The circulations and weather phenomena that occur when the atmosphere responds to unequal distributions of energy, momentum, and moisture,

•       How a weather forecast is made.


Tentative Lecture Schedule

Week 1: Introduction to meteorology and forecasting, weather observations

Week 2: How numerical weather prediction works and how to use the portal

Week 3: Air masses, fronts and cyclones 1

Week 4: Air masses, fronts, and cyclones 2, Test 1

Week 5: Convective storms 1


Week 7: Convective storms 2

Week 8: Numerical weather forecasting 1, Test 2

Week 9: Numerical weather forecasting 2

Week 10: Environmental prediction, air-quality forecasting

Week 11: Communicating uncertainty, Test 3


Assessment methods

Evaluation:            75% Three tests   10% Homework assignment on weather data            15% Forecasting contest (weeks 2-11)






Feedback methods


¿          You will be given the following forms of feedback over the duration of the course.

¿          Also, you may ask the instructor at any time for the status of your grades and how you

¿          are progressing in the course. Meetings may be scheduled for individual feedback.

¿          1. Returned tests and comments, including answer key available in the Student

¿          Support Office, Williamson 1.42.

¿          2. Written comments on the homework.

¿          3. Weather forecasts scored by the next week and posted on Metcast.


Recommended reading

Recommended Text:

¿          Ackerman and Knox (2006): Meteorology: Understanding the Atmosphere, 2nd/3rd/4th ed.

¿          Supplementary animations and applets:




Other Useful Resources:

¿          • Any introductory meteorology textbook by Donald Ahrens in the library.

¿          • Wallace and Hobbs (2006): Atmospheric Science: An Introductory Survey, 2nd ed.

¿          • Markowski and Richardson (2009): Mesoscale Meteorology in Midlatitudes.

¿          • Inness and Dorling (2013): Operational Weather Forecasting.

¿          • COMET Modules- Located at



Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 22
Independent study hours
Independent study 78

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
David Schultz Unit coordinator

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