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Atmospheric Science Programs

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Principal Course Distribution Requirement

Principal courses offer introductions to the breadth of disciplines in the College. They acquaint students with the subject matter in an area, with the types of questions that are asked about that subject matter, with the knowledge that has been developed and is now basic to the area, and with the methods and standards by which claims to truth are judged.

Students must complete courses in topical groups in three major divisions (humanities, natural sciences and mathematics, and social sciences). For the B.A., three courses are required from each division, with no more than one course from any topical group. The B.G.S. requires two courses from each division, with no more than one from any topical group. To fulfill the requirement, a course must be designated as a principal course according to the codes listed below.

These are the major divisions, their topical subgroups, and the codes that identify them:

Humanities

  • HT: Historical studies
  • HL: Literature and the arts
  • HR: Philosophy and religion

Natural Sciences and Mathematics

  • NB: Biological sciences
  • NE: Earth sciences
  • NM: Mathematical sciences
  • NP: Physical science

Social Sciences

  • SC: Culture and society
  • SI: Individual behavior
  • SF: Public affairs

No course may fulfill both a principal course distribution requirement and a non-Western culture or second-level mathematics course requirement. Laboratory science courses designated as principal courses may fulfill both the laboratory science requirement and one of the distribution requirements. No free-standing laboratory course may by itself fulfill either the laboratory science requirement or a principal course requirement. Students should begin taking principal courses early in their academic careers. An honors equivalent of a principal course may fulfill a principal course requirement.

View all approved principal course distribution courses »

Non-Western Culture Requirement

A non-Western culture course acquaints students with the culture, society, and values of a non-Western people, for example, from Asia, the Pacific Islands, the Middle East, or Africa. Students must complete one approved non-Western culture course.

One approved non-Western culture course is required. Occasionally courses with varying topics fulfill the non-Western culture course requirement. See the Schedule of Classes for details. These courses are coded NW.

View all approved non-Western culture courses »

Transfer and Earned Credit Course Codes

These codes are used to evaluate transfer credit and to determine which academic requirements a course meets.

  • H: Humanities
  • N: Natural Sciences and Mathematics
  • S: Social Sciences
  • W: World Civilization and Culture
  • U: Undesignated Elective Credit (course does not satisfy distribution requirement)

All Atmospheric Science courses

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A lecture and laboratory course introducing students to the atmosphere, weather and climate phenomena, and their controlling physical processes. Topics covered include: the structure of the atmosphere, energy and energy budgets, climate and climate change, air pollution, clouds and precipitation, pressure and wind systems, severe weather, and weather forecasting. LEC
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Honors version of ATMO 105. A lecture and laboratory course introducing students to the atmosphere, weather and climate phenomena, and their controlling physical processes. Topics covered include: the structure of the atmosphere, energy and energy budgets, climate and climate change, air pollution, clouds and precipitation, pressure and wind systems, severe weather, and weather forecasting. Prerequisite: Membership in University Honors Program or by permission of instructor. LEC
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An introductory lecture course which surveys the general principles and techniques of atmospheric science and illustrates their application through discussions of natural but unusual weather phenomena such as blizzards, hurricanes, tornados, and chinooks, of the effects of air pollution on weather, and of intentional human alteration of the atmosphere. LEC
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This course introduces students to meteorological events that affect aircraft operations. Aviation applications of meteorological observations including satellite and radar observations are discussed. Students learn about graphical displays of meteorological information. Numerical forecasting models and how their output is applied for aviation is also considered. Forecasting of weather events of particular interest to aviation such as ceiling, visibility, icing and turbulence is emphasized. Prerequisite: ATMO 105 or AE 245 or equivalent. LEC
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This course is designed to introduce students to the nature of the Earth's physical climate. It introduces the basic scientific concepts underlying our understanding of our climate system. Particular emphasis is placed on energy and water balances and their roles in evaluating climate change. The course also evaluates the impact of climate on living organisms and the human environment. Finally, past climates are discussed and potential future climate change and its impact on humans is evaluated. (Same as GEOG 321.) Prerequisite: ATMO 105 or GEOG 104. LEC
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Open to students with nine hours of upper level credit in Atmospheric Science, an average of at least 3.5 in all Atmospheric Science courses, and an overall average of at least 3.25. Includes the preparation of an honors paper and its defense before a committee of a least two regular faculty members. LEC
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A first course in synoptic meteorology designed to introduce students to weather analysis and forecasting through the application of hydrodynamic and thermodynamic principles to operational analysis and forecasting. Topics include analysis and interpretation of surface and upper-air observations and data from satellites, radars, and wind profilers; chart and sounding analysis; and three-dimensional, conceptual models of weather systems. The course includes student-led weather briefings and analysis exercises. Prerequisite: ATMO 105 and MATH 121 or MATH 115. LEC
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Introduction to basic numerical weather prediction methods. Computer programs are used to apply numerical methods to weather data and to evaluate dynamical processes on numerical grids. Meteorological graphics packages are used to analyze current weather data and numerical model output. Current operational numerical models and output products are discussed. Prerequisite: ATMO 505, MATH 122, and EECS 138 or EECS 168. LEC
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A study of the distribution and circulation of water in the air-earth system as influenced by atmospheric processes and surface conditions. The solar and terrestrial radiation budget and the water balance at the earth's surface will be applied to agricultural and urban energy and water problems. Prerequisite: ATMO 105 or EECS 138. LEC
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A study of climatic environment near the earth-atmosphere interface. Consideration of rural climates in relation to agriculture and urban climates as influenced by air pollution and other factors. Emphasis is on physical processes in the lower atmosphere, distribution of atmospheric variables, the surface energy budget and water balance. (Same as GEOG 521.) Prerequisite: ATMO 105 and MATH 106 or MATH 121. LEC
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A study of background levels and concentrated sources of atmospheric pollution together with considerations of pollution buildup in urban areas as related to particular weather conditions. Inadvertent weather modifications and effects of atmospheric pollution on particular weather events and general climate will be discussed. Prerequisite: ATMO 105, MATH 121, EECS 138 and CHEM 130 or equivalent. LEC
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An investigation of special topics in atmospheric science. May include topics in dynamic, physical or synoptic meteorology or climatology as well as related topics in earth and physical sciences. May be repeated if topic differs. LEC
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Students enhance their forecasting expertise by preparing forecasts for presentation to the public through a variety of media. Classroom activities include weekly map discussions and analysis of current weather situations. Forecasting topics such as forecast verification, aviation forecast products, severe weather, flash floods and watches and warnings are examined. Credit for ATMO 605, ATMO 606, and ATMO 607 is limited to a total of eight hours, six of which may be counted toward a degree in atmospheric science. Prerequisite: ATMO 505. FLD
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Practical experience in private industry working with current and/or archived meteorological data. Possibilities include the preparation of forecasts for TV stations and meteorological consulting firms, and working with environmental consulting firms to assess air pollution hazards. May be repeated two times for credit. Credit for ATMO 605, ATMO 606, and ATMO 607 is limited to a total of eight hours, six of which may be counted toward a degree in atmospheric science. Prerequisite: ATMO 605. FLD
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Practical experience working in a National Weather Service forecasting center in analyzing weather data and preparing weather forecasts. May be repeated two times for credit. Credit for ATMO 605, ATMO 606, and ATMO 607 is limited to a total of eight hours, six of which may be counted toward a degree in atmospheric science. Prerequisite: ATMO 605. FLD
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Interpretation, development, and analysis of synoptic charts. Prerequisite: ATMO 505 and ATMO 640. LEC
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Atmospheric processes are described and discussed in relation to the climate of the earth's surface. Such topics as the greenhouse effect, ozone depletion, and the effect of solar irradiance on climatic change will be included. The physical processes and relationships between various climatic features will be studied. Prerequisite: ATMO 505 and DSCI 301 or MATH 526. LEC
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This course introduces the student to the fundamentals of fluid dynamics necessary for understanding large scale atmospheric motions. Fundamental physical laws of conservation of mass, momentum and energy are examined and applied to atmospheric flows. Rotation in the atmosphere is examined quantitatively in terms of both circulation and vorticity. Prerequisite: MATH 223 and PHSX 212. LEC
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This course is designed to prepare students to effectively use remotely sensed data in operational or research settings for further work in this field. Topics include radiation and radiation transfer applied to active and remote sensing; radiative properties of space, sun, earth and atmosphere; instrument design considerations and operational characteristics; inversion methods for temperature or concentration profiling; surface temperature measurement; cloud top height determination; rain rate and wind velocity measurement; severe weather detection; satellite photograph interpretation. Prerequisite: ATMO 680, MATH 581. LEC
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Analysis and interpretation of synoptic weather charts including treatment of numerical weather forecasting. Prerequisite: ATMO 630 and ATMO 660. LEC
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Advanced study of the atmosphere including treatment of the vorticity equation. Prerequisite: ATMO 640 and MATH 220 or MATH 320. LEC
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This course is designed to enhance the student's understanding of atmospheric processes through the study of these processes at molecular through micro scales. Topics include the properties and behavior of gases; transfer processes; phase change; solar and earth radiation; cloud drop, ice crystal and precipitation formation; atmospheric electricity; stratospheric chemistry. Prerequisite: MATH 223, PHSX 212. LEC
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Prerequisite: Nine hours in meteorology. IND
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Current research in atmospheric science will be discussed. May be repeated for a total of two credit hours. Prerequisite: Senior level in atmospheric science. LEC
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Work on a research project under the supervision of a faculty member. Prerequisite: Nine credit hours in atmospheric science. May be taken up to three times for credit. IND
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Presentation of contemporary approaches to the study of atmospheric dynamics. May include methodologies that provide insight into global, synoptic, mesoscale or microscale motions. Prerequisite: ATMO 660 or equivalent. LEC
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Illustration and application of contemporary approaches to mathematical and statistical description of atmospheric phenomena. Prerequisite: MATH 122, ATMO 640, ATMO 680, and a course in statistics, or consent of instructor. LEC
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The physical processes and operating principles involved in the development and life cycles of extreme or unusual weather events including tornadoes, blizzards, lightning displays, and tropical storms. Prerequisite: EECS 138, MATH 121, and ATMO 320. LEC
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Advanced investigation of special topics in atmospheric science. May include topics in dynamic, physical or synoptic meteorology or climatology as well as related topics in earth and physical sciences. May be repeated if topic differs. LEC
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An exploration of the mathematical methods used to describe the current state of the atmosphere and to predict future states. Current operational numerical weather prediction techniques will be included. Prerequisite: ATMO 660. LEC
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Graded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis. THE
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