Meteo 300, Introduction to Atmospheric Sciences
Fall, 1999
MWF 03:35-04:25P 105 Walker Building


Instructor: William H. Brune

504 Walker Building



Office Hours: Monday / Wednesday: 1 – 2 PM, or by appointment


Purpose: This introduction to the atmospheric sciences provides a quantitative foundation to the Department of Meteorology’s core curriculum.

Prerequisites: Prerequisite courses are Calculus I and II. Math 230 and Physics I can be taken concurrently. Because a solid understanding of math is essential for success in this course, please see me if you have any deficiencies.

Text: Atmospheric Science: An Introductory Survey, by John Wallace and Peter Hobbs. This is a required text. I will mention other books and websites of interest as we proceed through the course.

Class notes: Taking notes in class is a good way to learn. As with Professor Jenkins, I will put the class notes in the EMS library on the first floor of Deike Building.

Assignments: Homework will be assigned for each chapter of the book. The purpose of these problems is to help you think and to apply what you have learned.

Quizzes: Short quizzes will be given on most chapters. These quizzes will cover material in the text, class notes, and classroom discussions.

1-hour exams: You will be given two 1-hour exams with at least two weeks warning. These exams will test you on material covered up to that point.

Final exam: The final exam will be comprehensive, but will cover the material presented after the second 1-hour exam in a more detail. You will be asked to contribute questions to the exam.

Late homework: A 5% drop in grade will occur for each day that the homework is late.

Missed quizzes and tests: Quizzes may occur at any time. You will not be allowed to make up quizzes, but the lowest grade will be dropped. Make-up exams are possible for bona fide excuses, as judged by me. The make-up exam will be somewhat more difficult that the original.

Grading policy: Homework and quizzes will not be graded on a curve. Exam grades will be graded on a curve.

Grading: Homework 15%

Quizzes 20%

1-hour exams 20% each

Final exam 25%

Scheduled final exam: Wednesday, Dec. 15, 6:50-8:40 p.m.


Course outline:


This course covers the ideas presented in Chapters 1-8 of Wallace and Hobbs. Some deviation from the course outline may occur, but you will be notified in advance.


Week 1 Chapter 1 A Brief Survey of the Atmosphere (pg. 1-45)

Weeks 2-3 Chapter 2 Atmospheric Thermodunamics (pg. 46–102)

Week 4 Chapter 3 Extratropic Synoptic-scale Distrubances (pg. 108–141)

Weeks 5-6 Chapter 4 Atmospheric Aerosol and Cloud Microphysical Processes (pg. 144–209)

Week 7 Chapter 5 The Clouds and Storms (pg. 216–274)

Weeks 8-9 Chapter 6 Radiative Transfer (pg. 280–309)

Week 10 Chapter 7 The Global Energy Balance (pg. 316–354)

Weeks 11-13 Chapter 8 Atmospheric Dynamics (pg. 361–407)



Lecture notes

    1. Natural Climate Variability
    2. Units, Atmospheric Thermal Structure, Zonal means
    3. Thermodynamics: Ideal Gas Law; Virtual Temperature
    4. Thermodynamics: Hydrostatic equilibrium
    5. Thermodynamics: First Law of Thermodynamics
    6. Thermodynamics: Adiabatic Processes
    7. Thermodynamics: Water vapor
    8. Thermodynamics: Second Law of Thermodynamics
    9. Chapter 4: Aerosols
    10. Chapter 4: Heterogeneous nucleation
    11. Chapter 4: Warm Cloud Processes


Homework Problems

Chapter 1.

Chapter 2, part 1.

Chapter 2, part 2.

Chapter 2, part 3.


Exam study guides

Midterm Exam #1.  4 October, 1999

Final Exam  15 December, 1999, 6:50 PM