MT37H-Atmospheric Science Field Course

Module Provider: Meteorology
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Dr Tristan Quaife


Type of module:

Summary module description:

A 6.5 day residential field course on the Isle of Arran, run jointly by the University of Reading, University of Leeds and University of Edinburgh. Students participate in a wide range of atmospheric measurements and exercises.


On completion of this module, students will be familiar with measurement techniques used in atmospheric physics, chemistry and meteorology. Measurement techniques will have been practised extensively in the field and the laboratory. A wide variety of remote sensing and in-situ instruments will have been used to gather chemical and physical data. Data collected in the field will have been recorded in notebooks and analysed using a variety of computer-based and other methods. Data will have been interpreted in order to draw conclusions concerning the natural structure of the atmosphere and aerosol and chemical pollution.

Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of the module, the student should be able to:

  • Produce, present and assess the validity of a local weather forecast using synoptic charts and other data;

  • Devise measurement strategies, and make observations during intensive periods, recording and analyzing these subsequently;

  • Form hypotheses from knowledge of the general synoptic situation and test these using the data collected;

  • Consider wider context of measurement strategies in weather and climate science.

Additional outcomes:

Students will enhance their problem solving skills, general IT skills, oral presentation skills and team work / leadership skills.

Outline content:

This module involves a 6.5 day residential field course (with a further 1 day travelling). Students will study a selection of atmospheric science topics taken from:

  1. Investigation of atmospheric trace gases, with emphasis on profile measurements of carbon monoxide and/or ozone;

  2. Investigation of atmospheric stability , flow profiles and turbulence in the surface layer;

  3. Practical weather forecasting using synoptic charts and other data;

  4. Profiling of the atmosphere using radiosondes, tracking of pilot balloons and surface measurements on a mountain;

  5. Investigation of the surface energy balance and radiation characteristics of the local area.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Theory will be presented in a series of short lectures on day 1. The majority of measurements and analyses will take place during the 6.5 day course.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 5
Practicals classes and workshops 50
Guided independent study 45
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Practical skills assessment 100

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (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.

    Assessment requirements for a pass:

    40% overall.

    Reassessment arrangements:

    Resubmitted laboratory notebook.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

    1) Required text books: 2) Specialist equipment or materials: 3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear: Walking boots (£60 - £100), waterproof clothing (£20) 4) Printing and binding: 5) Computers and devices with a particular specification: 6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence: Contribution to travel and accommodation (£250)

    Last updated: 20 April 2018


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