Meteorology

NOTE:  Though Meteorology is a 2 semester sequence, the first semester, Meteorology I (taught in the fall), can be taken as a stand alone class.  Meteorology I is a prerequisite for taking Meteorology II.

Few things impact our everyday lives as much as weather.  The atmosphere is a complex, ever changing, ocean of air, where a constant battle rages between chaos and order.  Instruments across the globe monitor this battle, collecting millions of pieces of data every hour.  It is the job of meteorologists to analyze the data in order to discern atmospheric patterns and processes.  The final product of these efforts is your local weather forecast!

High school meteorology not only includes the study of basic weather elements and surface weather systems, but also the study of atmospheric physics and its application to different scale phenomena.  Students will learn how to make basic weather forecasts, and how to interpret surface charts, upper air charts, thermodynamic (skew-T) diagrams, numerical model projections, Doppler radar, and satellite photos. Each week, we will analyze current weather conditions across the country in real time.

This is an advanced course in theoretical and operational meteorology which is best suited for upper-level high school students. Prior classwork in Physics is helpful, but not required.  Topics include:

Meteorology I (Fall):  Weather Elements & Surface Systems

Note: Though Meteorology is a 2 semester sequence, the first semester, Meteorology I, can be taken as a stand alone class.

I. What Causes Weather?
Weather Essentials, Earth’s Atmosphere, Energy Transfer, Earth’s Energy Budget

II. Weather Elements, Units, and Observations
Temperature, Heat, Air Pressure, Phase Changes, Humidity, Dew Point, Adiabatic Processes, Clouds, Precipitation, Satellite and Radar

III. Weather Systems
Wind Circulation, Coriolis Effect, Pressure Systems, Air Masses, Fronts

Meteorology II (Spring):  Upper Air Systems & Advanced Topics

Note: Meteorology I is a prerequisite for Meteorology II.

IV. Upper Air Systems
Surface and Upper Air Maps, Long and Short Waves, Jet Stream Dynamics, Vorticity, Vertical Motion, Jet Streaks

V. Regional Weather & Hemispheric Oscillations
Land/Sea Breeze, Lake Effect Precipitation, Mountain/Gravity Waves, Monsoons, Ocean Heat Transport, ENSO, PDO, etc.

VI. Storms
Thunderstorms, Tornadoes, Hurricanes and Tropical Storms

VII. Weather Forecasting
Basic Forecasting, Numerical Forecasting, Long Term Forecasting

VIII. Climate and Global Warming
Climates and Microclimates, World Climates, Climate Forcings and Feedbacks, Human Impacts on Climate, Anthropogenic Global Warming, Paleoclimates