Courses in Atmospheric Science
A ATM 100 The Atmosphere (3)
Non-technical survey of the atmosphere; the physical environment of society and its historical development; intentional and unintentional modifications of the environment; cloud types and structure; severe storms; weather forecasting; air pollution; major wind and weather systems. Does not yield credit toward the major in atmospheric science.
A ATM 101 The Upper Atmosphere (3)
Elementary survey of the properties and geophysical phenomena of the upper atmosphere; ionosphere, magnetosphere, and interplanetary space, ionospheric and magnetic storms; aurora and airglow; observational techniques including rockets and satellites. Does not yield credit toward the major in atmospheric science. May not be offered in 2023-2024.
A ATM 102 Science and Major Environmental Issues (3)
Study of the role of science in creating, defining, evaluating, and resolving major issues relating to energy production and its use and impact on the physical environments; case studies of such issues as change in climate, air pollution, the fluorocarbon/ozone link, etc. Does not yield credit toward the major in atmospheric science. May not be offered in 2023-2024.
A ATM 103 Introduction to Climate Change (3)
An introduction to the current scientific understanding of Earth's climate, climate change and climate variability; factors that determine climate, climate in the past, and Earth system connections; exposition of scientific observation, theory, and modelling that are used to make scientific predictions of climate outcomes and potential societal choices; examination of climate change impacts at local, regional, and global scales including environmental, societal and economic impacts; consideration of different approaches to deal with climate change, including mitigation and adaptation. Does not yield credit toward the major in atmospheric science.
A ATM 107 The Oceans (3)
Introductory survey of the physical, chemical, geological, and biological processes in the marine environment; promise and problems of the oceans as a natural resource. Does not yield credit toward the major in atmospheric science.
T ATM 110 Weather and Climate Issues for the 21st Century (3)
You can't avoid it; everyone experiences the weather and climate in their daily lives! This course will examine the physics that explains weather and climate variability as well as climate change. Topics of discussion will include the nature of weather systems (e.g., fronts and cyclones, hurricanes, tornadoes and thunderstorms, lightning, rain processes, etc.), observations and theory of climate variability and change (including introduction to the climate system, water and energy cycles, the greenhouse effect and anthropogenic climate change) as well as key environmental issues (e.g., pollution, ozone hole, etc.). The science will inform classroom discussions and projects focused on 21st century issues related to weather and climate. Open to Honors College students only. May not be offered in 2023-2024.
A ATM 199 Contemporary Issues in Atmospheric Science (1)
Issues from the current literature in selected areas of atmospheric science. Particular areas of study to be announced each term. Intended for students interested in exploring in depth themes covered in large lecture courses. Prerequisite(s): permission of instructor. S/U graded. May not be offered in 2023-2024.
A ATM 200 Natural Disasters (3)
Disasters due to natural phenomena such as climate change, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, tsunami, volcanic eruptions, asteroid/comet impacts, and mass extinctions are examined from an environmental perspective; each type of event will be characterized in terms of its origin, evolution, warning potential, range of significant environmental impacts and possible mitigation strategies; historical case studies will be analyzed; additional student selected topics may include ice storms, blizzards, landslides, avalanches, floods, drought, fire, heat and cold waves. Does not yield credit toward the major in atmospheric science.
A ATM 209 Weather Workshop (1)
Applications in weather analysis, including meteorological data decoding (METAR and RAOB), thermodynamic diagrams, cloud types, precipitation and visibility obscurations, and an introduction to meteorological instrumentation. Corequisite(s): A ATM 210. Offered fall semester only.
A ATM 210 Atmospheric Structure, Thermodynamics, and Circulation (3)
Technical survey of the atmosphere with application of elementary physical and mathematical concepts to the horizontal and vertical structure of the atmosphere; planetary, regional and local circulations; weather systems; atmospheric radiation; precipitation physics and thermodynamics. Prerequisite(s): A MAT 111 or A MAT 112 or A MAT 118. Prerequisite or corequisite: A PHY 140 or T PHY 141 or A PHY 142.
A ATM 211 Weather Analysis and Forecasting (4)
An introduction to the use and interpretation of observed weather data, satellite and radar imagery, and atmospheric soundings; horizontal atmospheric forces and force balances; air masses and fronts; extratropical cyclone development and structure; mid-latitude flow properties; temperature and precipitation forecasting. Prerequisite(s): A ATM 209, 210, or permission of instructor. S/U grading prohibited. Offered spring semester only.
A ATM 240 Python Programming in Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences (1)
This is a hands-on laboratory course in programming for atmospheric and environmental science applications, utilizing the Python language. The course is targeted to students with no prior programming experience but will also be useful for those with some background in Python and/or programming. The student will learn to write Python programs to access, manipulate, and display observation and simulation data. The course will cover the basics of the Python language, how to access data from local and remote sources, how to store and manipulate data in arrays and lists, how to write functions and loops, and how to visualize data. Corequisite(s): A ATM 210 or permission of instructor. Offered fall semester only. May not be offered in 2023-2024.
A ATM 297 Independent Study in Atmospheric Science (1-3)
By advisement only and may be repeated once for credit. S/U graded. Offered fall or spring semesters.
A ATM 301 Surface Hydrology and Hydrometeorology (3)
A survey of the water cycle and its interactions with the earth and atmosphere, including the processes of precipitation, evaporation, and stream flow. Water resources and policy issues incorporated where applicable. Not open to students with credit in A ATM 408. Prerequisite(s): A ATM 210. Offered alternate fall semesters. May not be offered in 2023-2024.
A ATM 304 Air Quality and Air Pollution Policy (3)
This course deals with scientific, policy, and regulatory issues associated with air quality for the ambient (outdoor) environment and indoor environments. Topics include pollutant sources, transport, transformation and deposition, environmental and human health consequences, air quality and emission standards, basic air pollution monitoring and abatement methods, and legislation and policies in historical perspective. Prerequisite(s): A ATM 210; A MAT 111 or A MAT 112 or T MAT 118; A PHY 140 or T PHY 141. Offered alternate fall semesters.
A ATM 305 Global Physical Climatology (3)
The physical basis of climate and climate variability from a coupled atmosphere-ocean perspective. Emphasis will be placed on understanding the causes of regional climate differences and regional climate variability and the role that the global atmosphere and oceans play in the process. Prerequisite(s): A ATM 211. Corequisite(s): A ATM 315, A ATM 316 or permission of instructor. May not be offered in 2023-2024.
A ATM 306 Climate Variability and Change (3)
This course will be organized in two parts. Part I will cover seasonal to multi-decadal natural variability of the global climate system; the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO); monsoons, droughts and their causes; variability of high impact weather such as hurricanes; the fundamental physics of the coupled atmosphere-land-ocean system and our ability to predict it. Part II will cover anthropogenic climate change, including an objective assessment of observed trends in the past century and the anthropogenic contribution; theory of climate change linked to increased greenhouse gases; climate change predictions and the IPCC process. Prerequisite(s): A MAT 111 or A MAT 112 or T MAT 118; A ATM 210. Corequisite(s): A ATM 315 or permission of instructor.
A ATM 307 (= A CHM 307) Introduction to Atmospheric Chemistry (3)
Chemical principles and concepts leading to understanding the composition and change in the chemical/atmospheric environment; sources and links of chemical constituents; chemistry of the troposphere and stratosphere; measurement and theory of greenhouse gases; global pollution and ozone depletion. Only one version of A ATM/A CHM 307 may be taken for credit. Prerequisite(s): A MAT 111 or 112 or 118 or T MAT 118; A PHY 105 or 140 or 141 or T PHY 141; A CHM 121 or 131 or T CHM 131. May not be offered in 2023-2024.
A ATM 311 Severe and Hazardous Weather and Forecasting (4)
Continuation of ATM 211. Analysis and forecasting of various types and scales of severe weather, including tropical cyclones, thunderstorms and thunderstorm complexes, tornadoes, hail, lightning, lake-effect precipitation, blizzards, and ice storms. Once per week, students lead current and forecast weather discussions. Prerequisites: A ATM 211. Offered fall semester only.
A ATM 315 (= A ENV 315) Environmental Statistics and Computation (4)
This course builds an understanding of natural systems through an introduction to statistical and computational methods used to analyze atmospheric and environmental data. Key goals of the course are to become proficient at drawing conclusions about the behaviors of natural systems using common visualizing methods and statistically analyzing data from observations and dynamical models in a variety of Earth-systems applications. Includes a concise but comprehensive introduction to computation and programming methods suited for students with no background in computer coding via the general-purpose programming language Python. Only one version of A ATM/A ENV 315 may be taken for credit. Prerequisite(s): A ATM 210, A MAT 111 or 112 or T MAT 118. Offered spring semester only.
A ATM 316 Dynamic Meteorology I (3)
Equations and concepts that provide the basis for describing and understanding atmospheric motion systems on planetary and synoptic scales; review of mathematical concepts and tools; kinematics of horizontal flows; fundamental and apparent forces; basic conservation laws; elementary applications of the equations of motion. Prerequisite(s): A ATM 211, A PHY 150 or 151 or T PHY151, A MAT 214. Prerequisite(s) or corequisite(s): A MAT 311. Offered fall semester only.
A ATM 317 Dynamic Meteorology II (3)
Application of the governing equations to describe and understand synoptic to planetary scale phenomena, including vertical motion, jet streaks, and the frontal cyclone; introduction to the concepts of vorticity and potential vorticity. Prerequisite(s): A ATM 316. Offered spring semester only.
A ATM 320 Atmospheric Thermodynamics (3)
Equation of state; principles of thermodynamics; water vapor and moist air thermodynamics; changes of phase and latent heat; hydrostatic equilibrium; atmospheric convection; thermodynamic diagrams; atmospheric stability and severe weather events. Corequisite(s): A ATM 316.
A ATM 321Y (formerly A ATM 425Y) Physical Meteorology (4)
Atmospheric physics, including radiation, optics, and visibility; atmospheric electricity; cloud and aerosol physics; acoustics; upper atmospheric processes; radar meteorology. Three lectures and one lab discussion per week. Prerequisite(s): A ATM 320.
A ATM 327 (= A ENV 327) Meteorological and Environmental Measurement (3)
Basic exposition of principles involved in the measurement of primary meteorological and environmental parameters. Topics to be covered include measurement uncertainty and the propagation of errors. Instruments for measuring temperature, pressure, humidity, wind field, solar and terrestrial radiation, precipitation, atmospheric aerosols, soil moisture, water quality, and data logging will be examined. Two lectures and one laboratory or demonstration per week. Only one version of A ENV 327 may be taken for credit. Prerequisite(s): A ATM 210; A MAT 111 or 112 or T MAT 118; A PHY 140 or 141 or T PHY 141. Will next be offered spring 2024.
A ATM 335 Meteorological Remote Sensing (3)
Satellite remote sensing from UV to microwave including the principles of atmospheric radiative transfer, descriptions of important satellite orbits and sensors, the retrieval of atmospheric variables from active and passive systems, and basic principles of interpretation. Prerequisite(s): A MAT 111 or 112 or 118 and A ATM 210. Offered alternate spring semesters. May not be offered 2023-2024.
A ATM 350 Meteorological Data Analysis and Visualization (2)
An introduction to the UNIX and Linux operating systems; use of the General Meteorological Package (GEMPAK) to display meteorological information and perform diagnostic calculations; basics and utility of shell scripting; types of meteorological observational datasets and model output grid files. Prerequisite(s): A ATM 211, 316. Offered spring semester only.
A ATM 362 National Weather Service Operations I (1)
This course describes the roles of operational meteorologists in the National Weather Service (NWS), led primarily by NWS staff members. Content includes radar and satellite in operations, model ensembles, aviation forecasting, terrain effects, extreme weather, and decision support services. Several classes will include hands-on labs at the National Weather Service Forecast Office. Prerequisite(s): A ATM 311. Offered spring semester only.
A ATM 363 National Weather Service Operations II (1)
This course is a follow-up to A ATM 362 and describes the roles of operational meteorologists in the National Weather Service (NWS), led by NWS staff members. Content includes upper-air observations, operational models, fire weather, coastal meteorology, ice jams, flash flooding, and more. Several classes will include hands-on labs at the National Weather Service Forecast Office. Prerequisite(s): A ATM 362 or permission of instructor. S/U graded. Offered fall semester only.
A ATM 400 Synoptic Meteorology I (4)
Investigation of multi-scale weather phenomena through application of fundamental thermodynamic and dynamic principles; exploration of the connections between observational and theoretical descriptions of atmospheric motions; use of operational weather prediction models and products for weather forecasting; scientific issues in weather forecasting. Two joint lecture-laboratory periods each week. Prerequisite(s): A ATM 311, 317, 350. Offered fall semester only.
A ATM 401 Synoptic Meteorology II (3)
Application of advanced fundamental thermodynamic and dynamic concepts to the investigation of multi-scale weather phenomena; exploitation of ensemble and probabilistic forecasting techniques and remote sensing radar and satellite technologies in weather analysis and forecasting; application of fundamental synoptic and mesoscale concepts to a real-time severe weather and heavy precipitation forecasting exercise. Prerequisite(s): A ATM 400, 418. Will next be offered spring 2024.
A ATM 404 Oceans and Climate (3)
The oceans exert an important influence on the Earth's climate, acting as the pacemaker of climate variability and change. This course will provide an introduction to the physical characteristics, dynamics, and feedbacks of ocean water and sea ice that contribute to the formation of ocean circulation, the transport of heat and freshwater, and the regulation of climate; review of climate changes in ocean and sea ice and their impacts through a synthesis of ocean and sea ice observations and modeling. The format of the class will be primarily lectures, but will also involve short presentations by students. Prerequisite(s): A ATM 210 and A MAT 113. May not be offered in 2023-2024.
A ATM 405 Water and Climate Change (3)
Water is essential for human society and the environment. Global warming and climate change are expected to impact our water supply and the water balance of the natural ecosystem. Potential water shortages due to population growth and climate change are a world-wide environmental issue. Starting with an introduction to the global water cycle and Earth's climate, this course aims to provide students with in-depth understanding of the key roles of water in Earth's climate and how climate change may affect the global water cycle and the freshwater resources. Prerequisite(s): A ATM 210 and A MAT 111 or A MAT 112 or T MAT 118. Offered alternate fall semesters only.
A ATM 408 Hydrometeorology (3)
The physical processes governing the continental hydrologic cycle such as water vapor transport, runoff, evapotranspiration, streamflow, sub-surface recharge; land/atmosphere interaction; spatial/temporal variability of hydrologic parameters. Prerequisite(s): A MAT 311. Corequisite(s): A ATM 320. May not be offered in 2023-2024.
A ATM 409 Atmospheric Precipitation 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 structure in cyclones; flash flood forecasting; quantitative precipitation forecasting exercise. Prerequisite(s): A ATM 316, 320; A MAT 311. May not be offered in 2023-2024.
A ATM 413 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(s): A ATM 210 or equivalent, and A ATM/A ENV 315 or equivalent. Offered spring semester only.
A ATM 414 Air Pollution Meteorology (3)
Analysis of physical, meteorological, and chemical processes influencing the life-cycle of harmful gaseous and particulate air pollutants. Prerequisite(s): A ATM 210, or permission of instructor. May not be offered in 2023-2024.
A ATM 415 (= A ENV 415) Climate Laboratory (3)
A hands-on course in climate modeling; students will gain an appreciation for what climate models are, their limitations, and how they can be used to study natural phenomena. Topics include the physical laws governing climate and climate change, the hierarchy of model complexity, parameterization versus simulation, using models for prediction versus understanding, application of simple climate models to past and future climates on Earth (including radically different climates of the past such as Snowball Earth), accessing and analyzing results from IPCC models. Students will gain significant computer experience making calculations, analyzing results, and interpreting their significance. Prerequisite(s): A ATM 210, A ATM 315 or A ENV 315 or permission of instructor for students with computer programming experience; A MAT 111 or 112 or T MAT 118. Offered alternate spring semesters. Will next be offered spring 2024.
A ATM 418 Dynamic Meteorology III (3)
Application of the governing equations to describe and understand mesoscale phenomenon, including flow over topography, organized convection and severe weather, and the atmospheric boundary layer; mathematics and description of the components of numerical weather prediction models. Prerequisite(s): A ATM 317, 320.
A ATM 419 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. Prerequisite(s): A ATM 317 and 321. Offered spring semester only.
A ATM 421 Tropical Meteorology (3)
An introduction to the behavior, dynamics, and thermodynamics of the tropical atmosphere, with an emphasis on the interactions between convection and dynamics; tropical energy and moisture balance; tropical convection; monsoons; equatorial waves; the Madden-Julian oscillation (MJO); tropical cyclogenesis; tropical cyclone structure and intensity change. Prerequisites: A ATM 316 and 320. Offered alternate spring semesters. Will next be offered spring 2021.
A ATM 430 Solar Radiation and Applications (3)
Definition of solar and terrestrial radiation components; basic celestial geometry; introduction to the measurement of solar radiation; principles of solar radiation transfer through the Earth’s atmosphere; study of the interrelationship between solar radiation components; applied solar radiation examples. Prerequisite(s): A MAT 113 or 119 or T MAT 119; A PHY 150 or 151 or T PHY 151. May not be offered in 2023-2024.
A ATM 433 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. Prerequisite(s): A ATM 350 or permission of instructor.
A ATM 440 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. Prerequisite(s): A ATM 316 or permission of instructor. May not be offered in 2023-2024.
A ATM 450 Computer Applications in Atmospheric Science (3)
Computer programming and numerical methods for solving atmospheric science problems; data handling and storage; examination of currently used programs in atmospheric science research; iterative methods; numerical weather prediction. Prerequisite(s): A ATM 316, 350. May not be offered 2023-2024.
A ATM 480 Special Topics in Atmospheric Science (1-4)
In-depth analysis of a special topic in atmospheric science. May be repeated if topic changes. Prerequisite(s): permission of instructor.
A ATM 490 Internship in Atmospheric Science (1-3)
Research or operational experience in atmospheric-related activities with local governmental agencies or private industry. The internship supervisor's reference or contact information, a midterm report and a final report are required. No more than 3 credits for A ATM 490 may be applied toward major requirements in atmospheric science. Internships are open only to qualified juniors and seniors who have an overall grade point average of 2.50 or higher. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite(s): junior or senior standing in atmospheric science. S/U graded.
A ATM 497 Independent Study II (1-3)
May be repeated once for credit. No more than 6 credits from A ATM 490, 497, 498, and 499 may be applied toward major requirements in atmospheric science. Prerequisite(s): junior or senior standing, and by advisement only. Offered fall or spring semesters. S/U graded.
A ATM 498 Computer Applications in Meteorological Research (3)
Directed individual study of a particular problem in atmospheric science that requires use of the University Computing Center and/or departmental computers. May be repeated once for credit. No more than 6 credits from A ATM 490, 497, 498, and 499 may be applied toward major requirements in atmospheric science. Prerequisite(s): I CSI 201 or permission of instructor. S/U graded.
A ATM 499 Undergraduate Research in Atmospheric Science (3)
Guided research leading to a senior thesis. Oral presentation of results required. May be repeated for credit. No more than 6 credits from A ATM 490, 497, 498, and 499 may be applied toward major requirements in atmospheric science. Prerequisite(s): junior or senior standing, and permission of department chair. S/U graded.