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Introduction To Meteorology

GEO 103W

Introduction To Meteorology

GEO 103W

Course Description

Prerequisites: Prerequisites: READING LEVEL 2 and WRITING LEVEL 2 and MATH LEVEL 3.

Provides study of the fundamentals of weather including the underlying physical processes of the atmosphere, general circulation, weather patterns, and severe weather events. Develops an understanding of weather map analysis and forecasting. Uses extensive laboratory applications related to atmospheric study including graphing, drawing isopleths, data analysis, and access to real-time weather information. (45-15)

Outcomes and Objectives

Understand and describe basic physical processes demonstrated in the atmosphere.

Objectives:

  • Describe the basic composition and vertical structure of the atmosphere.
  • Contrast temperature versus heat.
  • Describe the three processes of heat transfer and provide examples for each.
  • Describe temperature and its impact on the human body.
  • Describe water, its three states, and latent heat from changes of state.
  • Describe humidity and its relationship to water vapor and temperature.
  • Describe adiabatic temperature changes and its relationship to the buoyancy of air parcels.
  • Define atmospheric stability and the three classifications of stability.
  • Describe processes that can change atmospheric stability.
  • Define four lifting processes for air parcels enabling cloud formation.
  • Define the basic components of condensation and cloud formation.
  • Define the general cloud classifications by level and vertical development.
  • Define the various types and formation processes of fog.
  • Describe the two basic processes for precipitation formation.
  • Describe the various forms of precipitation and define the basic causes for each
  • Define air pressure and define the changes of pressure with height.
  • Define the pressure gradient force and its relationship to wind.
  • Describe properties of light that influence various optical effects in the atmosphere.
  • Describe the general factors contributing to rainbows and other optical phenomena in the atmosphere.

Write effectively for a specific audience and purpose.

Demonstrate the learning of concepts through writing.

Understand and describe key atmospheric and global processes that contribute to weather.

Objectives:

  • Describe the Earth-Sun relationship that define seasonal and diurnal weather changes.
  • Describe solar and terrestrial radiation and how radiation is affected as it passes through the atmosphere.
  • Describe the global heat budget and the importance of maintaining a heat equilibrium.
  • Describe the set of control processes that define temperature variations as different locations on the earth.
  • Describe the coriolis effect and its impact to wind and weather systems.
  • Define the geostrophic wind model and how it relates to high-level winds.
  • Contrast the forces acting on surface winds versus winds aloft.
  • Describe wind flow around high and low pressure centers.
  • Describe the general models for global wind circulation.
  • Define various special forms of localized wind circulations.
  • Define monsoon circulation and the intertropical convergence zone.
  • Describe the jet stream and its significance.
  • Describe the general global distribution of temperature and precipitation and its relationship to ocean and land mass patterns.

Understand and describe the Polar Front Theory that define weather systems.

Objectives:

  • Define what an air mass and the attributes of air mass source regions.
  • Define the general air masses that influence North America.
  • Define what a front is.
  • Describe the four significant types of fronts, their attributes, and weather typically associated with each type.
  • Describe the wave cyclone model, the major stages of the wave cyclone life cycle, and typical movements of wave cyclones.
  • Define the basic relationship between upper air flow and the development of wave cyclones.
  • Define how the frontal zones and pressure centers described by the wave cyclone model contribute to local weather.

Understand special topics related to current global environmental issues and factors impacting the local weather of Michigan.

Objectives:

  • Define the basic atmospheric processes influencing current environmental issues including global warming and ozone layer depletion.
  • Define El Nino and its general impact on global weather.
  • Describe factors leading to formation of lake effect snow and the factors of the Great Lakes and Michigan that contribute to its development in the state.
  • Describe general attributes of Michigan's climate and atmospheric features that impact it.
  • Describe general meteorological factors influencing air pollution.
  • Describe acid rain.

Perform calculations and graphs to solve relevant problems and perform data analyses contributing to understanding fundamental atmospheric processes.

Objectives:

  • Describe the various systems of measurement used in meteorology and perform typical unit conversions for weather data.
  • Perform required mathematical skills including unit conversion and scientific notation.
  • Draw isopleths for a given set of plotted weather data.
  • Develop graphs and data plots from atmospheric measurements and information.
  • Analyze data and derive conclusions from analysis of graphical data.
  • Decode and encode weather data in the standard station model format.
  • Develop a surface weather chart from plotted data including locating pressure centers and fronts

Define the tools and instruments used to measure atmospheric parameters.

Objectives:

  • Define tools and units for temperature measurement.
  • Define tools and units for measurement of humidity.
  • Define tools and units for measurement of air pressure.
  • Define tools and units for measurement of wind velocity.
  • Define tools used for measurement of precipitation.
  • Describe the National Weather Service data network for observation and measurement of all types of weather data.
  • Define limitations in atmospheric measurement and accuracy for national and global weather data.
  • Understand and describe basic satellite weather observation including types of orbiting satellites and various types of weather imagery.
  • Understand and describe basic radar weather observation including use of radar data, and Doppler radar.
  • Define limitations of satellite and radar remote sensing instruments for weather observation.
  • Describe tools for upper air weather measurement.

Define general techniques and issues related to weather forecasting.

Objectives:

  • Define the importance of accurate and complete weather observation and analysis for weather forecasting.
  • Describe the general structure and responsibilities of the National Weather Service.
  • Define the various techniques for weather forecasting.
  • Define the various scales, durations, and types of weather forecasts.
  • Describe the importance of computer forecast models in weather prediction.
  • Describe the issues related to forecast accuracy and the limits of forecast duration.

Understand and describe the following as it applies to Severe and Adverse Weather:

Objectives:

  • Describe the stages of thunderstorm formation.
  • Define the general thunderstorm types.
  • Define the classification requirements for a severe thunderstorm.
  • Describe the processes of lightning and thunder.
  • Define the hail formation process.
  • Describe the basic process of tornado formation and the atmospheric conditions favorable for tornado development.
  • Describe the tornado climatology and define reasons for high and low tornado formation areas.
  • Describe the Fujita Scale for tornado classification and its relationship to damage assessment.
  • Describe tornado forecasting processes and the basic tornado warning system.
  • Dispel commonly held myths about tornadoes.
  • Define common procedures for lightning and tornado safety.
  • Define the tools used for tornado tracking and warnings.
  • Define the conditions favorable for hurricane formation.
  • Define the hurricane formation process.
  • Describe tools and processes used for hurricane tracking and warnings.
  • Describe classification system for tropical weather events including the "naming" of storms as well as the Safir Simpson hurricane classification scale.
  • Describe the major factors contributing to hurricane injury and damage.

Perform writing tasks to promote learning.