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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Meteorology

Undergraduate Course: Meteorology: Weather and Climate (METE08002)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 8 (Year 2 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryAn introduction to large-scale weather systems and climate processes. Radiation and climate, role of the oceans, greenhouse effect, atmospheric dynamics, global circulation, thunderstorms, hurricanes, mid-latitude weather systems, weather and climate forecasting.
Course description Syllabus
Example Syllabus
Week 1
Introduction, course content, weather maps;
Satellite; Images Components of the climate system

Week 2
Basics of radiation: solar and terrestrial, properties of a perfect radiator; Equilibrium temperature of Earth; The greenhouse effect

Week 3
Feedbacks in the climate system; The role of the oceans in the climate system; Climate forcings

Week 4
Climate variability and change; General Circulation; Pressure and Forces

Week 5
Coriolis forces; Geostrophic balance; Inertial oscillations and Cyclostrophic motion

Week 6
Gradient wind, boundary layer friction; The Thermal wind; Feedback Session on Radiation Ocean Lab

Week 7
Convergence and divergence; Vorticity; Tropical cyclones, locations, structure

Week 8
Tropical cyclones: formation, and growth mechanisms; Mid-latitude cyclones: Warm, Cold and occluded fronts; Mid-latitude cyclones: Life cycle

Week 9
Mid-latitude cyclones: Upper level flow; Other types of low pressure systems; Anticyclones and Weather Forecasting 1

Week 10
Weather Forecasting 2; Weather and climate prediction; Feedback Session on Balloon experiment

Further course information can be found at the following link:

Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements SCE H-grade Physics and Mathematics or equivalent
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2021/22, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 31, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 8, Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 5, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 2, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 148 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 70 %, Coursework 30 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Written Exam: 70%, Course Work: 30 %, Practical Exam: 0%.

The course work assignment will consist of two written lab reports (15% each). The labs run from weeks 2-10. Students will be asked to provide a write-up of two of the labs and guidance on report writing will be given in class as well as in the course handbook. For this reason lab attendance is compulsory.

To be awarded a pass on the course you must score a minimum of 40% in both the written degree examination and in the coursework. If you fail either the coursework or the exam you will be given an opportunity to resit that component during the summer period. Attendance at Tutorials and Labs is compulsory. If, without good reason, you fail to attend you will fail the coursework and will not have the opportunity to resit it that year.

Assessment deadlines
There will be two submission deadlines in the semester. These will be the Mondays of week 5 (radiation) and week 9 (pilot balloon). Assessments must be submitted electronically on Learn via the Turnitin submission box. Assignments must be submitted in PDF or Word format as one single file.

Assessment and feedback information can be found in the Taught Assessment Regulations:
All details related to extensions procedures and late penalties can be found in the Undergraduate General Information Handbook which can be found on the Learn UG Student Information Hub.
Feedback Two lecture slots will be dedicated to feedback for the two course assignments. The first lecture will provide in depth general feedback to the students in advance of the second assignment so that feedback given here is useful for the second course assignment. A general feedback session on the second assignment will also be given, and this will also be useful for exam preparation. All students will be invited to an examination feedback session following release of course results. Top Hat will be used in lectures to provide instant feedback to large classes. Exam marking includes comments to students. Examples of feedback can be found here:
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)2:00
Resit Exam Diet (August)2:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. describe the components of the climate system, the global radiation balance and the physics underlying the greenhouse effect
  2. display a basic understanding of the dynamics of the atmosphere and its interaction with the underlying ocean and land
  3. apply knowledge of the forces acting on the atmosphere to quantitatively interpret the atmospheric circulation
  4. understand the structure and air motions in tropical and mid-latitude cyclones, anticyclones and other types of low pressure systems
  5. explain modern approaches to weather and climate forecasting
Reading List
The basic text for the course is 'Meteorology Today' (10th edition) by C. Donald Ahrens, Brooks/Cole Publishing, however the latest edition has become too expensive to buy. Some copies from members of previous year's class may be available for purchase. Earlier editions of this book (especially the 8th and 9th editions) are quite satisfactory.

For the less mathematical parts of the course: Introducing Meteorology: A Guide to Weather (Jon Shonk) £8.99 is a good read. 'Atmospheric Science' (2nd edition) by Wallace and Hobbs £47 (from Blackwells) is also useful and is more mathematical than Ahrens.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserProf Ruth Doherty
Tel: (0131 6)50 6759
Course secretaryMs Katerina Sykioti
Tel: (0131 6)50 5430
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