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Viewing: MEA 215 : Introduction to Atmospheric Sciences

Last approved: Mon, 24 Oct 2016 14:16:19 GMT

Last edit: Mon, 24 Oct 2016 14:16:15 GMT

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MEA (Marine, Earth, and Atomspheric Sciences)
Dual-Level Course
Cross-listed Course
Introduction to Atmospheric Sciences
Intro Atmospheric Sciences
College of Sciences
Marine Earth & Atmospheric Science (17MEA)
Term Offering
Spring Only
Offered Every Year
Spring 2017
Previously taught as Special Topics?
Course Prefix/NumberSemester/Term OfferedEnrollment
MEA 493 001Spring 201628
Course Delivery
Face-to-Face (On Campus)

Grading Method
Graded with S/U option
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
Sandra Yuter

Open when course_delivery = campus OR course_delivery = blended OR course_delivery = flip
Enrollment ComponentPer SemesterPer SectionMultiple Sections?Comments
Lecture and Lab3417YesAnticipate1 lecture section and 2 lab sections. A few non-meterorology majors take this course as an elective including students in first year college and students majoring in other sciences and engineering.
Open when course_delivery = distance OR course_delivery = online OR course_delivery = remote
Corequisite: MA 141
Is the course required or an elective for a Curriculum?
SIS Program CodeProgram TitleRequired or Elective?
17METBSMeteorology (BS)Required
17METMARMeteorology (BS): Marine SciencesRequired
Introduction to the Earth's atmosphere. Fundamental concepts and applications of meteorology and how they relate to daily and seasonal weather, major types of storms, and climate.

This course combines into a one semester 4 credit course material that was previously taught in two consecutive semesters as MEA 213 Introduction to Atmospheric Sciences I (2 credits) and MEA 214 Introduction to Atmospheric Sciences II (2 credits). The other two MEAS disciplines have single semester introductory courses (MEA 101 Geology I: Physical and MEA 200 Introduction to Oceanography).


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.

This course is not expected to require, initially or subsequently, the allocation of additional resources beyond those already provided for the course while offered under special topics, including: Instructor (one-quarter time requirement for one semester per year), two lab teaching assistants (each one quarter time requirement for one semester per year).

This course introduces students to the major concepts in atmospheric sciences and lays the foundation for more advanced courses. Lab sections are used to give students hands-on experience with weather data sets including data from meteorological stations, upper air soundings, radar, satellites and weather maps. Additionally students learn basic skills for plotting simple time series and 2D data sets and algebraic manipulation of data.

Student Learning Outcomes

Specialist Vocabulary: Recognize and define the major terms that apply to meteorology. Explain the difference between weather and climate.

Structure of the atmosphere: Explain the chemical composition and vertical structure of the atmosphere.

Weather maps: Read, interpret and plot station information from weather maps. Read, interpret and plot isotherms and isobars. Determine wind direction and relative magnitude from maps of atmospheric pressure.

Stability: Explain the characteristics of atmospheric profiles in stable, unstable and conditionally unstable conditions and the associated motion of air parcels within each type of profile. Identify the lifting condensation level and temperature inversions from atmospheric sounding data. Given a thermodynamic profile, identify layers in the atmosphere where clouds can form.

Moisture: Define and calculate derived moisture parameters such as dew point, specific humidity, and mixing ratio from measured atmospheric variables.

Precipitation: Explain the physical processes that form rain, snow, hail, and freezing rain.

Weather variability: Identify and explain how the diurnal cycle influences local weather variability. Identify and explain the difference between warm and cool ENSO cycles and how these influence regional weather.

Storms: Explain the main 3D wind and precipitation structures within mid-latitude cyclones, thunderstorms and hurricanes, the environments in which they form, and key ways in which these types of storms differ.  Describe storm conditions where severe weather can occur and explain safety precautions for severe weather watches and warnings.

Climate and Climate Change: Explain characteristics of current climate zones and how zone locations may shift in a changing climate. Explain evidence for climate variations. Explain likely future climate impacts on ecosystems and infrastructure.

Computation: Download data and programs from an ftp site. Use Matlab to: Read in 1d and 2d data sets. Use supplied functions to plot x-y graphs, time series graphs, 2D arrays, vectors and bar plots. Utilize algebraic functions to transform data.

Teamwork: Work effectively in problem-solving teams.

Evaluation MethodWeighting/Points for EachDetails
Quizzes75 pts25 online pre-lecture quizzes at 3 pts each, covers definitions of terms
Quizzes125 pts5 online mastery quizzes taken prior to written exam at 25 pts each, covers concepts and their applications.
Test240 pts5 in class written answer tests (one at 40 pts, four at 50 pts), short answer questions
Final Exam50Small group final exam, comprehensive for course
Lab assignments325 pts13 Lab reports at 25 pts each
Readings assignments30 ptsmore properly termed "on-line video assignments", two at 15 pts each
Attendance20 ptsattendance at lecture and lab
Test50 ptsDoubling of points for highest individual written exam
TopicTime Devoted to Each TopicActivity
Composition and structure of the atmosphere, weather and climate1/2 week1 lecture, Lab activity including scale model of the atmosphere
Energy Balance1/2 week1 lecture, lab including visible and infrared satellite data
Air temperature, seasonal variations1 week2 lectures, lab on diurnal and seasonal cycles of temperature
Atmospheric Humidity1/2 week1 lecture, lab including measurement and calculation of moisture variables
Condensation, dew, frost, clouds1/2 week1 lecture, lab including cloud observations
Stability and cloud development1 week2 lectures, a first lab including atmospheric profiles of temperature and moisture as related to different stability conditions,a second lab including plotting and interpretation of skew-t diagrams
Precipitation1 week2 lectures
Air pressure and winds1 week2 lectures, lab on wind balances including vector addition and calculations
Small and local scale wind systems1 week2 lectures
Global wind systems1/2 week1 lecture
Atmosphere-Ocean Interactions1/2 week1 lecture
Weather radar 1/2 weekmaterial covered in lecture when radar data are used in examples, Lab on basic functions and interpretation of weather radar
Weather maps1/2 weekLab on interpreting weather map station information and contouring temperature and pressure fields
Air masses and fronts1 week2 lectures, lab on horizontal and vertical cross-sections of fronts and air mass motions
Mid-latitude cyclones1 week2 lectures
Thunderstorms and Tornadoes1 week2 lectures, lab on interpreting severity of weather from publicly available weather data sets. Lab also covers safety protocols for different kinds of severe weather.
Hurricanes1 week2 lectures, lab on hurricane threat analysis, storm surge and inland flooding
Global climate1/2 week1 lecture
Earth's changing climate1 week2 lectures, lab on impacts of climate change

Key: 9759