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Viewing: MEA 716 : Numerical Weather Prediction

Last approved: Wed, 16 Mar 2016 08:12:52 GMT

Last edit: Tue, 15 Mar 2016 17:51:41 GMT

Change Type
MEA (Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences)
Dual-Level Course
Cross-listed Course
Numerical Weather Prediction
Numerical Weather Prediction
College of Sciences
Marine Earth & Atmospheric Science (17MEA)
Term Offering
Fall and Spring
Offered Alternate Even Years
Spring 2017
Previously taught as Special Topics?
Course Delivery
Face-to-Face (On Campus)

Grading Method
Contact Hours
(Per Week)
Component TypeContact Hours
Course Attribute(s)

If your course includes any of the following competencies, check all that apply.
University Competencies

Course Is Repeatable for Credit
Gary Lackmann

Open when course_delivery = campus OR course_delivery = blended OR course_delivery = flip
Enrollment ComponentPer SemesterPer SectionMultiple Sections?Comments
Lecture and Lab1010NoClass format is lecture and discussion
Open when course_delivery = distance OR course_delivery = online OR course_delivery = remote

Is the course required or an elective for a Curriculum?
Parameterization of physical processes in atmospheric modeling, including numerous hands-on experiments to allow evaluation and analysis of process representation in models. Emphasis on experimental design: Using numerical models as a tool with which to test scientific hypotheses. Investigation of data assimilation and ensemble prediction techniques. Journal discussion and student presentations are featured prominently. A semester project allows students to apply knowledge to thesis projects, and synthesize class concepts. Some comfort level with Linux computing environment, shell scripting, and programming languages such as FORTRAN required.

The prerequisite was obsolete, and the course has been modified to increase stand-alone accessibility.  The focus is less on numerical methods than in the original description, because that is now being covered in MEA 712.


Is this a GEP Course?
GEP Categories

Humanities Open when gep_category = HUM
Each course in the Humanities category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:






Mathematical Sciences Open when gep_category = MATH
Each course in the Mathematial Sciences category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:




Natural Sciences Open when gep_category = NATSCI
Each course in the Natural Sciences category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:




Social Sciences Open when gep_category = SOCSCI
Each course in the Social Sciences category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:






Interdisciplinary Perspectives Open when gep_category = INTERDISC
Each course in the Interdisciplinary Perspectives category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:








Visual & Performing Arts Open when gep_category = VPA
Each course in the Visual and Performing Arts category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:






Health and Exercise Studies Open when gep_category = HES
Each course in the Health and Exercise Studies category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:








Global Knowledge Open when gep_category = GLOBAL
Each course in the Global Knowledge category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to achieve objective #1 plus at least one of objectives 2, 3, and 4:


Please complete at least 1 of the following student objectives.






US Diversity Open when gep_category = USDIV
Each course in the US Diversity category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to achieve at least 2 of the following objectives:
Please complete at least 2 of the following student objectives.








Requisites and Scheduling
a. If seats are restricted, describe the restrictions being applied.

b. Is this restriction listed in the course catalog description for the course?

List all course pre-requisites, co-requisites, and restrictive statements (ex: Jr standing; Chemistry majors only). If none, state none.

List any discipline specific background or skills that a student is expected to have prior to taking this course. If none, state none. (ex: ability to analyze historical text; prepare a lesson plan)

Additional Information
Complete the following 3 questions or attach a syllabus that includes this information. If a 400-level or dual level course, a syllabus is required.
Title and author of any required text or publications.

Major topics to be covered and required readings including laboratory and studio topics.

List any required field trips, out of class activities, and/or guest speakers.

Dr. Lackmann will continue to teach this course. Available high-performance computing resources will be used, as in past offerings.

i.) A major focus of this course will be how to use numerical models to study the atmosphere (or ocean).  We will emphasize experimental design and hypothesis testing methods using models for a variety of applications and phenomena.

ii.) We aim to study geophysical fluids, not just computer models.  We seek to identify and understand physical processes in the real atmosphere, and then consider how models represent these processes.  Aspects of model physics to be covered include convective and microphysical parameterizations, radiative transfer, and the planetary boundary layer.  Our goal is to learn enough about physics parameterizations to allow informed choices in model configuration appropriate for any given experiment.

iii.) The course format will be flexible and interactive, and with an emphasis on creative thinking and independent problem solving. We will discuss journal articles and undertake laboratory projects involving case study analyses.  Students will present the results of assignments and projects to the class, either individually or in groups.

iv.) By semester’s end, students will be able to set up and run the WRF model in a variety of applications, utilizing freely available datasets and software.  We will develop research capabilities that include modifying the model source code itself (e.g., adjusting convective parameterization settings), altering model initial fields (e.g., applying warming, altering CO2, and model boundary conditions (e.g., removing or adding terrain).

v.) An appreciation of history is important, and we will explore the work of some early pioneers in the field of numerical modeling.  We may also look to the future, and if time permits, work with the new modeling systems.

Student Learning Outcomes

By the end of the semester, I expect that students will

1.) be able to identify and outline the history and progression of computer modeling in the atmospheric sciences over the past 50-100 years, and relate past developments to current and future trajectories in atmospheric modeling;

2.) be able to explain the role of computer modeling in the atmospheric sciences, and be able to identify the interplay between theoretical analysis, observational analysis, and modeling in their own and others’ research;

3.) have developed the ability to apply computer models to formulate and test a reasonable hypothesis using observational or model data for actual cases;

4.) have developed and/or improved their ability to critically evaluate and discuss scientific journal articles in a small group settings;

5.) be able to download, compile, set up and run the WRF model on a Linux cluster. Students will learn to install and utilize post-processing software to plot and analyze model output using GEMPAK, Vis5D, IDV, NCL or other software packages.  Students will manipulate and create shell scripts for processing model output;

6.) be able to critically evaluate the limitations of computer model representation of physical processes including cumulus convection, turbulent and radiative energy transfer, and grid-scale precipitation;

7.) be able to assess the sensitivity of model solutions to physical parameterization choices and initial conditions, and evaluate the interplay between different components of the modeling system;

8.) have a working knowledge of the most recent techniques used in ensemble forecasting and data assimilation.  As a class, we will run some “physics” ensembles, some initial condition ensembles, and then compute an ensemble mean to test some of the basic hypotheses behind this strategy.  

Evaluation MethodWeighting/Points for EachDetails
Exam20Midterm exam
Project30Semester project and presentation, including progress reports
Homework45Weekly assignments related to different model physics packages, including journal reading and presentation
Participation5Participation in class discussions
TopicTime Devoted to Each TopicActivity
week 11 classCourse overview, philosophy of model use, NWP history
week 22 classesReading assignments and in-class discussion
week 32 classesWRF system, WRF exercise, convective parameterization (CP)
week 42 classesCP exercise, KF, BMJ schemes, CP momentum adjustment
week 52 classes Student hypothesis presentations, explicit convection
week 62 classesPBL/turbulence parameterization, MYJ, YSU, related papers
week 72 classesPBL parameterization, experiments
week 82 classesLand surface and terrain representation
week 92 classesReview, and midterm examination
week 102 classesCloud microphysics and precipitation parameterization
week 112 classesCloud and precipitation processes, continued
week 122 classesRadiative transfer, cloud-radiation interactions
week 132 classesData assimilation
week 142 classesEnsemble prediction and strategies
week 152 classesFinish ensemble prediction and course overview/re-cap
mlnosbis 1/27/2016: No overlapping courses. If COS has fully approved, is consultation needed?

ghodge 2/1/2016 Only a change in prerequisite is requested. No additional consultation needed. All additional text is just putting the course in CIM as we requested.

ABGS Revier Comments:
-Year offering is "Offered Alternate Even Years," but the effective date is Spring 2017. Will department begin teaching this in Spring 2018, or will they adjust effective date?

Yes, next offering will be spring 2018. It is being offered this semester. The spring 2018 option is not available in the pull down menu.

-Weekly homework assignments need to be evaluated and returned in a timely manner given that the first and only exam appears to occur at mid-term: a point in the calendar when it is likely too late to withdraw.

Yes, the HW is graded promptly.

-How do they define the assessment of "participation?"

Added to syllabus.

-Check grading scale, the scale is not continuous.

see below.

ghodge 2/8/2016 Ask department to add participation description to syllabus. Grade scale okay as is. Relay concern to instructor of providing grades early in semester. Ask department when they want course effective and when first taught. Not ready for ABGS

Offerings: 2016, 2018

Changes made by department.
allloyd (Thu, 14 Jan 2016 20:39:03 GMT): minor edits made in consultation with proposer
allloyd (Tue, 26 Jan 2016 23:09:59 GMT): Passed college committee 1/26/16
Key: 3896