Undergraduate Course: Atmospheric Dynamics (METE10001)
|School||School of Geosciences
||College||College of Science and Engineering
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||Introduces the fundamentals of atmospheric circulation that govern weather and climate in the tropics and mid-latitudes. This includes large-scale flows and eddies, the General Circulation and mid-latitude storm systems. Meteorological data will be used to illustrate air flow patterns, jet streams, mid-latitudes cyclones and their intensification.
Lectures 1-2: Overview and vertical structure
Hydrostatic equilibrium in the atmosphere. Potential temperature and its relevance to the vertical stability of a compressible atmosphere.
Lectures 3-4: Equations of motion for a rotating Earth
The Navier-Stokes equations for an inertial frame of reference of a compressible fluid based on Newton's first law of motion and the conservation of mass. The Navier-Stokes equations for a frame of reference rotating with the earth. Approximations for large-scale flow. Configuration of forces.
Lectures 5-8: Synoptic-scale approximations and frictional forces
The order of magnitude of forces and accelerations present in synoptic-scale weather patterns. Geostrophic and thermal wind approximations. Estimates of winds in synoptic-scale systems from pressure and temperature gradients. Mean and eddy flow. Wind variation with height due to frictional forces in the boundary layer.
Lectures 9-11: Vorticity and Divergence
Vorticity and divergence definitions for meteorology. Linking divergence and vertical velocity Potential vorticity and its usefulness as tool for understanding fluid motion.
Lecture 12-13: Tropical and mid-latitude circulations
The experimental evidence from "rotating dishpan" experiments that degree of departure from zonal symmetry depends on rotation rate and horizontal temperature gradients. Axi-symetric flow and conservation of angular momentum. Meridional circulations in the tropics and their relation to the sub-tropical jet.
Lectures: 14-16: Rossby wave and cyclone models
The motivation for and limitations of atmospheric wave motion as a perturbation from a basic flow. Barotropic and baroclinic conditions. Mid-latitude planetary-scale waves and the Eady model of mid-latitude cyclone growth. Climate change effects on mid-latitude storm behaviour.
Information for Visiting Students
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2022/23, Available to all students (SV1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Lecture Hours 16,
Seminar/Tutorial Hours 4,
Feedback/Feedforward Hours 1,
Summative Assessment Hours 2,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||Written Exam: 80%, Course Work: 20 %, Practical Exam: 0%.
The student will answer a series of tutorial style questions and perform calculations. Detailed information on the assessment will be provided in class. Since tutorial style questions also form part of the exam this will provide feedback that will aid with exam preparation.
There will be one coursework assignment submission. Submissions should be electronic.
Examination at the end of Semester 2 (80%) and tutorial questions (coursework) due Thursday in week 8, Semester 2 (20%).
||Exam marking includes comments to students. Examples of feedback can be found here:
||Hours & Minutes
|Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)||Atmospheric Dynamics||2:00|
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Develop a detailed, integrated knowledge of the fundamentals of atmospheric dynamics that govern weather and climate in the mid-latitudes and the tropics.
- Learn how to apply fundamental equations of fluid flow to understand atmospheric circulation, wind patterns, jet streams, and mid-latitudes cyclone evolution.
- Explain the physical laws governing the structure and evolution of atmospheric phenomena spanning a broad range of spatial and temporal scales.
- Develop a solid background in the mathematical description of atmospheric and geophysical fluid dynamics, and apply mathematical tools to study atmospheric processes
|Please see current reading list for the course at: https://eu01.alma.exlibrisgroup.com/leganto/readinglist/searchlists|
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
|Additional Class Delivery Information
||2 one-hour lectures per week
|Course organiser||Dr Massimo Bollasina
Tel: (0131 6)51 3464
|Course secretary||Mr Johan De Klerk
Tel: (0131 6)50 7010