Atmospheric Science Courses

In addition to the specific prerequisites listed for each course, a general prerequisite for all graduate courses offered by the department is an adequate undergraduate preparation, as described in the Requirements for Admission to the Program Leading to the Doctor of Philosophy Degree, or consent of instructor.

Atm 500 Atmospheric Dynamics (3)

Fundamentals of geophysical fluid dynamics necessary to understand atmospheric motions; conservation laws, fundamental forces, rotational effects, scaling of the equations of motion, concept of balance, circulation, vorticity and divergence. 

Atm 501 Synoptic Laboratory II (3)

Intermediate principles of weather analysis on different motion scales in middle latitudes; use of satellite products in analysis and forecasting; analysis and use of numerical weather prediction products in real time forecasting.

Atm 504 Introduction to Atmospheric Physics I (3)

The application of physical laws and principles in thermodynamics and radiation for the atmosphere; required readings and problems in these areas.

Atm 505 Introduction to Atmospheric Physics II (3)

The application of physical laws and principles in cloud physics, aerosols, chemistry and the boundary layer for the atmosphere; required readings and problems in these areas. Prerequisite: ATM 504

Atm 506 Environmental Geochemistry (3)

Industrial pollution, agricultural pesticides and fertilizers, and fossil fuel waste-products are major sources of biotoxic and phytotoxic heavy metals (e.g., As, Cd, Cu, Hg, Mo, Ni, Pb, Sb, Sc, Tl) in the environment. The mobilities and pathways of these elements into-and-through soil and groundwater are examined. Analytic methods and sampling strategies for tracing the historical trends of heavy metal fluxes in specific geographic regions are explored.

Atm 507 Atmospheric Chemistry (3)

Chemical kinetics and photochemical principles of atmospheric transformation processes; mechanisms of polluted and clean tropospheres; chemical constituents of natural and polluted atmospheres, transient species, gas- and liquid-phase reactions; fate of chemical constituents in the atmosphere; quantitative basis for understanding complex chemical interactions of the atmospheric environment. Graduate project required. Prerequisite: ATM 505 or consent of instructor. 

Atm 508 Hydrometeorology (3)

The physical processes governing the continental hydrologic cycle such as water vapor transport, runoff, evapo-transpiration, stream flow, sub-surface recharge; land/atmosphere interaction; spatial/temporal variability of hydrologic parameters.

Atm 509 Atmospheric Precipitaion Processes (3)

Fundamentals of atmospheric precipitation processes; atmospheric moisture budget; convective and stratiform precipitation; application of satellite and radar imagery to precipitation analysis and forecasting; mesoscale convective systems; mesoscale precipitation in cyclones; flash flood forecasting; quantitative precipitation forecasting exercise.  Co-requisite: ATM 500 or consent of instructor.

Atm 511 Synoptic-Dynamic Meteorology (3)

Governing atmospheric physical laws; wind in relation to pressure; influence of friction; vertical structure of wind systems; atmospheric kinematics; circulation, vorticity and divergence theorems, fronts and frontogenesis; quasi-geostropic theory and application of basic atmospheric dynamics to the observed weather behavior; required readings and problems in these areas.  Prerequisite: ATM 500 or consent of instructor.

Atm 514 Air Pollution Meteorology (3)

Analysis of physical, meteorological, and chemical processes influencing the life-cycle of harmful gaseous and particulate air pollutants.  Offered alternate Fall semesters.

Atm 515 Aerosol Physics (3)

Characterization of aerosols (size distributions, compositions, optical properties); dynamics and thermodynamic of aerosols; physical processes controlling properties of aerosols in the atmosphere; aerosol field measurements and numerical modeling; aerosol-cloud-precipitation interactions; and environmental impacts of atmospheric aerosols. Prerequisite: ATM 505 or consent of the instructor.

Atm 518 Meteorological Instrumentation (3)

Principles and performance of instruments with emphasis on the selection of instrumentation for particular measurement requirements; principles of operation and performance of various instruments; selection of recorders; introduction to the principle of digital instrumentation; integration of sensors and recorders into measurement systems; selection and installation of instruments for specialized measurements.

Atm 520 Remote Sensing in Atmospheric Sciences (3)

Satellite remote sensing from UV to microwave will be covered. Techniques and physical principles of sensor and platforms are presented along with theories upon which measurements are based. Atmospheric related parameters that are accessible to remote sensing are highlighted but other ecosystem parameters are also included. Prerequisite: ATM 504 or consent of instructor.

Atm 521 Tropical Meteorology (3)

Tropical cyclone dynamics and thermodynamics; tropical cyclone formation; monsoons; tropical waves; El Niño. Prerequisite: ATM 500 or consent of instructor. 

Atm 522 Climate Variability and Predictability (3)

In this course, we will discuss major modes/patterns of climate variability, focusing on interannual to decadal time scales, including El Nino-Southern Oscillation, Pacific Decadal Oscillation, Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, Indian Ocean Dipole, Monsoon, North Atlantic Oscillation, and Annular modes (Arctic and Antarctic Oscillation), as well as sea ice variability and its impacts on weather and climate. We will review climate modes/pattern dynamics, their teleconnection mechanisms, their impacts on weather/climate and society, their evolution through time (how the behavior of these modes changed in the past, and how anthropogenic climate change may affect future mode behavior). We will also discuss predictability of climate modes/patterns on seasonal to interannual time scales (how are predictions made? what are their limitations?), and projection of climate modes/patterns. The class will be a mixture of lectures, discussions, and student presentations.

Atm 523 Large-scale Dynamics of the Tropics (3)

Variation of the structures and patterns of evolution over intra-seasonal, seasonal, and inter-annual periods for the tropical atmosphere and ocean; organization of moist, deep convection as influenced by synoptic to planetary scale atmospheric and oceanic waves; modulation of tropical cyclones and climate variations by the tropical wave state.  Offered alternate Spring semesters.  Prerequisite: Atm 500 or consent of instructor.

Atm 525 Troposphere-Stratosphere Interactions (3)

An introduction to the structure, composition, dynamics, chemistry and radiational properties of the stratosphere. An analysis of two-way interaction between the troposphere and stratosphere in the tropics, extra-tropics and high latitudes and the implications of troposphere-stratosphere interactions on timescales at the weather-climate interface. Prerequisite: ATM 500 or consent of instructor.

Atm 527 Observations and Theory of Tropical Cyclones (3)

Fundamental aspects of tropical cyclone structure and intensity change from both observational and numerical modeling perspectives: Necessary conditions for development; Eliassen balanced vortex model; WISHE; symmetric versus asymmetric processes. Prerequisite: Atm 500 or consent of instructor.

Atm 528 Basic Concepts of Atmospheric Transfer Processes (3)

An introduction to the study of atmospheric diffusion, heat conduction and convection, radiative transfer, friction, and evaporation at the Earth's surface and in the air above; measuring techniques and applications. Prerequisite: ATM 504 or consent of the instructor.

Atm 529 Atmosphere-Ocean Interaction (3)

Course will cover atmospheric and oceanic circulations, and physical, chemical and biological ocean-atmosphere couplings across a broad range of spatial and temporal scales.  Prerequisites: ATM 500 and ATM 504 or consent of instructor. 

Atm 530 Renewable Energy Issues (3)

Guided research in renewable energy issues -- subjects directly or indirectly related to weather and/or climate will be considered and discussed – e.g., solar and wind resource assessment and forecasting, renewable energy technologies, socio-economics, utility power solutions. Students will select specific subjects for in-depth research leading to class discussions and final report preparation.

Atm 533 Advanced Geophysical Data Analysis and Visualization (3)

This course will expose students to current and best practices in working with a variety of geoscience-relevant datasets and methods to analyze and visualize them. We will use free- and open-source software packages, predominantly using the Python programming language. Course assignments and projects will emphasize reproducibility of scientific research results.

Atm 534 Cloud and Precipitation Physics I (3)

Basic principles of cloud and precipitation physics, including the study of condensation processes, freezing nucleation, ice crystal growth, weather modification, and application of radar techniques. Prerequisite: ATM 505 or consent of instructor.

Atm 540 Applications of Subseasonal to Seasonal Dynamics (3)

Dynamics and statistics of seasonal to subseasonal variability of the atmosphere and ocean, and how decision makers and markets interact with these phenomena. Topics include coupling between air and sea, ice, and land, low frequency variability, intraseasonal variability, tropical extratropical interaction, prediction of these signals, and how markets and policy makers interact with these phenomena under risk. Students will present research projects. Prerequisites: Permission of Instructor.

Atm 543 Weather, Climate Change, and Societal Impacts (3)

Survey of the many ways high impact weather and climate change affect human society. Each topic will cover the science behind different weather or climate phenomena and also explore the economic and/or social ramifications of these phenomena. Possible topics include severe thunderstorms, hurricanes, winter storms, solar flares, anthropogenic climate change, sea level rise, and droughts/floods. Possible ramifications of these topics on society include socioeconomic losses, risk perception, transportation disruption, human history, energy usage/markets, and climate policy. Prerequisite: Permission of Instructor.

Atm 546 Atmospheric Radiative Processes (3)

Fundamental radiation laws; the theory of radiative transfer in the atmosphere with emphasis on the computation of solar and infra-red heating rates; atmospheric modulation of radiative processes; the atmospheric heat budget; effects of radiative processes on atmospheric phenomena of various scales; applications in remote sensing. Prerequisite: ATM 504 or consent of instructor.

Atm 550 Paleoclimatology (3)

This class is designed to introduce the field of Paleoclimatology and will specifically focus on the use of sediments and other biological (corals, tree rings) and geological archives (ice cores and speletothems) to reconstruct  environmental, climatic, and oceanographic change over a range of time scales with focus on the latest Pleistocene and Holocene.  In the process we will cover a range of topics in lecture that will provide an introduction to climatology, age dating techniques, climatic proxies (isotopes and trace metals), micropaleontology, and time-series analysis. In addition to lectures, the class will involve review of current and past scientific studies. Students will lead in-class discussions of scientific papers and a written review paper on a relevant topic of choice is required.

Atm 551 Fundamentals of Earth's Climate (3)

This course discusses the key physical processes of Earth's climate, beginning with the seasonal and spatial characteristics of the current climate, and the evolution of Earth's climate on geological time scales. The class then discusses the physical processes that control Earth's climate, including the global energy balance and transport, the greenhouse effect, the role of water vapor, clouds and aerosols, atmospheric and ocean circulations, air-sea and air-land interactions, and climate feedbacks. Finally, the class discusses the characteristics, formation mechanisms, and climatic impacts of the leading modes of variability, such as ENSO, PDO/IPO, and AMO, and how internal variability may affect our detection of externally-forced climate change. The class ends with an introduction to climate modeling and climate change. Prerequisite: Atm 504 or consent of instructor.

Atm 552 Climate Change (3)

This course discusses the current scientific understanding regarding anthropogenic climate change, including uncertainties and inherent limitations. Topics covered will include, among others, modeling aspects of climate change, greenhouse gas forcing and future emission scenarios, carbon cycle feedbacks, detection and attribution studies (fingerprinting), regional climate change, impacts of climate change on cryosphere, sea-level rise, extreme events, etc. and mitigation and adaptation strategies. The most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report will serve as the basis for discussions but will be supplemented with results emerging from more recent studies.

Atm 561 Applied Data Analysis in Atmospheric and Environmental Science (3)

Data analysis methods for information extraction and physical insight from the examination of environmental observations and model data; use of a "toolbox" approach to hypothesis testing, time series analysis, spectral methods, temporal and spatial filtering, eigenvector methods, regression, forecasting, and other techniques.  Offered alternate Spring semesters.  Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.

Atm 562 Numerical methods and modeling (3)

This is a hands-on course in numerical modeling, focusing on understanding numerical models and how they work. Lectures will cover atmospheric dynamics and thermodynamics in the context of numerical modeling; and numerical methods and their accuracy, consistency and stability. The principal modeling task will be to develop a two-dimensional "cloud model" and apply it to interesting phenomena. The course is taught from the perspective of mesoscale atmospheric convection, but the tools acquired and lessons learned are generally applicable to a wide range of atmospheric and oceanic phenomena on a variety of temporal and spatial scales. Prerequisites: ATM 500 or consent of instructor.

Atm 563 Applications of Numerical Weather Prediction (3)

This is a hands-on course in numerical weather prediction (NWP), with an emphasis on simulating mesoscale weather systems (including thunderstorms, windstorms, and sea/land breezes), model validation, sensitivity (to initialization, resolution and other numerical aspects, and model physics), and how model physical parameterizations work. The principal tool will be the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model. The overarching goal is to understand how NWP models like WRF work, what their strengths and limitations are, and how and why they may fail. Each student is responsible for producing a final capstone project that utilizes their knowledge and understanding of this class and its direct and indirect prerequisites.

Atm 566 Marine and Estuary Systems (3)

This class is designed as an in-depth study of modern processes in marine and estuary systems, with a focus on marine/estuary sedimentology and biogeochemistry.  Topics to be covered include: water column parameters, dissolved gases in sea water, trace elements and nutrients, marine and estuarine sediment processes; and aerosol deposition. In addition to lectures, the class will involve review of current scientific studies, a class presentations by each student on papers being discussed, and a review paper on a relevant topic of choice. 2 lectures each week.

Atm 601 Synoptic Laboratory III (3)

Advanced principles of weather analysis, isentropic analysis of weather systems; vertical motion, vorticity and divergence computations, selected analyses of tropical weather systems; mesoanalysis; use of numerical guidance in weather forecasting.

Atm 611 Advanced Synoptic Meteorology (3)

Application of advanced synoptic principles to various atmospheric flow regimes; jet stream dynamics; weather systems as viewed from isentropic coordinates; application of numerical prediction models to weather forecasting; tropical weather systems; interaction of synoptic and mesoscale weather systems. Prerequisite: Atm 511.

Atm 612 Atmospheric Convection (3)

Saturation-point formulation of moist thermodynamics, mixing in cumulus clouds, virtual potential temperature relative to updrafts and downdrafts, idealized examples of downdrafts from evaporative mixing instability, unsaturated downdraft thermodynamics, simple cloud models in saturation-point coordinates. Prerequisite: Atm 511.

Atm 615 Global Biogeochemical Cycles (3)

Chemical perspectives of the cycling of elements through the Earth's atmosphere, oceans, surface waters, and solid; retrospective of biogeochemical cycles prior to the industrial revolution; biogeochemical cycles of C, N, S, P, and O and their interaction with the environment; evolution of the atmosphere and global pollution. Student seminars. Prerequisite: Atm 507 (Chm 507).

Atm 619 Seminar in Atmospheric Science I (1-3)

Report on selected research topics.

Atm 621 Structure and Dynamics of Extratropical Cyclones (3)

Overview of quasi- and semi-geostrophic models of extratropical cyclones; diagnostic methods for cyclone development and vertical circulations; conceptual models of cyclone structure and evolution. Prerequisites: Atm 511, Atm 611.

Atm 622 General Circulation of the Atmosphere (3)

Processes which maintain the general circulation of the Earth's atmosphere; investigation of observed angular momentum, energy and water vapor budgets of the atmosphere; atmospheric energetics; application of numerical methods to studies of the general circulation. Prerequisite: Atm 511.

Atm 623 Climate Modeling (3)

Investigation of fundamental climate processes through hands-on use of numerical and mathematical models. Topics may include: the global energy budget; radiation and the greenhouse effect; radiative-convective equilibrium; climate feedback analysis; orbital geometry, insolation and the seasonal cycle; heat transport and storage in the climate system; rates of transient climate change; sea ice and its coupling to the global climate system; the surface energy balance and the hydrological cycle. Emphasis on building physical understanding through active investigation with hierarchies of model complexity. Assumes some experience with computer coding in a high-level programming language (Python, Matlab, or similar). Prerequisites: ATM 500, ATM 504. Co-requisite: ATM 551 (or consent of instructor).

Atm 628 Boundary Layer Meteorology (3)

Properties of turbulent shear flows in the atmosphere surface and boundary layers; the turbulent kinetic energy budget in stable and convective conditions; similarity hypotheses and spectral analysis; observations and models of boundary layer development including consideration of internal sources of heat, momentum and chemical constituents; observational techniques. Prerequisite: Atm 528 or consent of instructor.

Atm 631 Mesoscale Dynamics (3)

Dynamical descriptions and analysis of ageostrophic circulations on the mesoscale in the absence of moist processes; primary emphasis on frontogenesis and symmetric instability. Prerequisite: Atm 511.

Atm 632 Geophysical Fluid Dynamics (3)

An introduction to fluid dynamics as it applies to geophysical phenomena including general properties of viscous fluids; vorticity dynamics; introduction to thermal convection and the stability of atmospheric and oceanic flows. Prerequisite: Atm 511.

Atm 639 Independent Study (1-3)

Independent reading on a specialized topic. Prerequisite: By advisement only.

Atm 641 Mesoscale Processes (3)

Role of moisture and inhomogeneities of the Earth's surface in forcing and modifying mesoscale circulations; mesoscale organization of precipitation systems; thermally and topographically forced circulations. Prerequisite: ATM 500 or consent of instructor.

Atm 652 Atmospheric Predictability (3)

Overview of chaotic dynamical systems, stability and error growth, deterministic and ensemble forecasting, data assimilation, sensitivity analysis, optimal observation locations. Prerequisite: Atm 562.

Atm 698 Research in Atmospheric Science I (1-9)

Independent research. Prerequisite: By advisement only.

Atm 699 Masters Thesis (1-6)

Independent research leading to an acceptable thesis. Satisfactory completion of a master's thesis seminar on principal research findings. Prerequisite: By advisement only.

Atm 719 Seminar in Atmospheric Science II (1-2)

Reports on selected research topics. Prerequisite: By advisement only.

Atm 721 Special Problems in Synoptic Meteorology (2-4)

Considers advanced topics in synoptic meteorology. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.

Atm 722 Special Problems in Dynamic Meteorology (2-4)

Considers advanced topics in dynamic meteorology. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.

Atm 723 Special Problems in Climatology (2-4)

Considers advanced topics in climatology. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.

Atm 724 Special Problems in Atmospheric Electricity (2-4)

Considers advanced topics in atmospheric electricity. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.

Atm 725 Special Problems in Aerosol Physics (2-4)

Considers advanced topics in aerosol physics. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.

Atm 726 Special Problems in Aeronomy (2-4)

Considers advanced topics in aeronomy. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.

Atm 727 Special Problems in Limnology and Oceanography (2-4)

Considers advanced topics in limnology and oceanography. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.

Atm 728 Special Problems in Micrometeorology (2-4)

Considers advanced topics in micrometeorology. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.

Atm 732 Special Problems in Geophysical Fluid Dynamics (2-4)

Considers advanced topics in geophysical fluid dynamics. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.

Atm 733 Special Problems in Atmospheric Chemistry (2-4)

Considers advanced topics in atmospheric chemistry. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.

Atm 734 Special Problems in Cloud and Precipitation Physics (2-4)

Considers advanced topics in cloud and precipitation physics. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.

Atm 735 Special Problems in Instrumentation (2-4)

Considers advanced topics in instrumentation. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.

Atm 736 Special Problems in Atmospheric Radiation (2-4)

Considers advanced topics in atmospheric radiation. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.

Atm 737 Special Problems in Mesoscale Meteorology (2-4)

Considers advanced topics in mesoscale meteorology. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.

Atm 741 Special Problems in Tropical Cyclone Research (1-3)

Considers advanced topics in tropical cyclone research. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.

Atm 898 Research in Atmospheric Science II (1-9)

Advanced independent research. Prerequisite: By advisement only.

Atm 899 Doctoral Dissertation (1)

Advanced independent research. Prerequisite: By advisement only. Registration for this course is limited to doctoral students who have been admitted to candidacy. Course grading is Load Only and does not earn credit.