MSC407: Weather Analysis

Fall 2011

Dr. David S. Nolan; contact:, 305-421-4930

Classes and Labs: Ungar 301, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 12:00PM-2:00PM.


I . Observing and Interpreting the Atmosphere

A. Introduction to GARP

B. Observations, satellite, and radar

C. Seeing the basics - thickness, height, and geostrophy

D. Thermal wind and gradient wind balance

E. The thermal structure of jets, cyclones, and fronts

II. Numerical Weather Prediction

A. How models represent the atmosphere

B. How models predict the future

C. Boundary conditions

D. Parameterization

E. Initial conditions and data assimilation

F. Understanding model output

III. Understanding complex weather systems

A. Quasigeostrophic dynamics

B. Baroclinic life cycles

C. Fronts

D. Vertical motion, precipitation, and precipitation types


There will be occasional homeworks (10%), numerous laboratory exercises (50%),
1 mid-term exam (15%), and a final exam (25%).


We will occasionally use material from this meteorology textbook:

Martin, J. E., 2006: Mid-latitude Atmospheric Dynamics: A First Course.

Here are some other textbooks which you may find useful:

Holton, J. R., 2004: An Introduction to Dynamic Meteorology (4th edition now available).

Bluestein, H. B., 1992: Synoptic-Dynamic Meteorology in Mid-Latitudes. Volumes I and II.

Wallace, J. M., and P. V. Hobbs, 2006: Atmospheric Science: An introductory survey
(2nd edition now available).