MT11C-Introduction to Meteorology

Module Provider: Meteorology
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2016/7

Module Convenor: Dr Thorwald Stein


Summary module description:
This module introduces key concepts in atmospheric science, and skills in interpreting meteorological data, and provides an introduction to a wide range of topics in meteorology.

This module aims to provide the student with a basic understanding of atmospheric structure and composition and the observational network which is used to monitor atmospheric variables. It aims also to provide knowledge and understanding of global mean seasonal patterns of atmospheric variables and their inter-relationships as well as the basic nature of selected weather disturbances and climate phenomena. Additionally it provides an introduction to the forecasting of atmospheric phenomena. With the individual essay assignment, this module aims to introduce and develop transferable skills in communication (writing, presentation, and referencing) and research (critical analysis).

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module, the student should be able to:
- Describe and explain the basic structure and composition of the atmosphere, and the nature and significance of observational networks, including surface and satellite data.
- Analyse surface and upper air observations to identify fronts, depressions and anticyclones.
- Explain the basic characteristics of air masses, selected types of weather disturbance and the methods used to predict weather.
- Identify the main cloud types and understand the processes that produce them.
- Use a combination of atmospheric data fields to identify the evolution of certain weather systems.
- Describe the underlying physical mechanisms of selected weather phenomena such as El Niño, hurricanes, the polar vortex, and boundary layer turbulence.
- Describe the basic components of and assumptions made in numerical models for weather and climate prediction.
- Demonstrate how selected weather phenomena may be affected by global climate change.

Additional outcomes:
The application of physical laws and concepts to the atmosphere has a direct link to the parallel course on Weather and Climate Fundamentals.

The individual essay assignment will equip the student with academic skills to prepare for written assignments and independent study beyond Level 4.

Outline content:
- Atmospheric composition and structure
- Observing the atmosphere
- Atmosphere/surface interactions
- Global seasonally averaged patterns
- Air masses, weather systems and forecasting
- Clouds and precipitation
- El Nino and teleconnections
- Introductions to climate change, boundary layer meteorology, tropical meteorology

- Synoptic observations and isobaric charts, frontal analysis, weather systems analysis
- Enquiry based learning activities – the use of online resources

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
In the 1st term through a combination of lectures and practicals combined with occasional problem-solving sessions (within lecture periods) and a weekly brief presentation of current and predicted weather. In the 2nd term through lectures and seminars, enquiry based learning activities within lecture periods, and, where practical, occasional field visits.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 10 20
Practicals classes and workshops 20 0
Guided independent study 70 80
Total hours by term 100.00 100.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 35
Practical skills assessment 40
Set exercise 25

Other information on summative assessment:
A selection of topics will be provided for the written assignment and students will initially study a single topic in groups and present their topic as a group. Following formative assessment of these group presentations, students will continue researching the same topic, but will submit individual essays for the written assignment.

Formative assessment methods:
In Autumn, a formative assignment is set for the practical skills to introduce the concept and familiarise the students with this form of assessment.
In Spring, a formative assignment is set for students to present in groups their topic for the individual essay (written assignment).

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at:
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:

    Requirements for a pass:
    40% overall

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Resit examination in August/September

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding:
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 21 December 2016

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