MT38C-Numerical Weather Prediction

Module Provider: Meteorology
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Pre-requisites: MT24C Numerical Methods for Environmental Science
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Prof Peter Clark


Type of module:

Summary module description:
In this module we will examine the components that make up a numerical weather forecast.

The aim of this module is to develop an understanding of the methods used in numerical models for operational weather prediction, climate simulation, and climate change prediction.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of this module the student should be able to: Understand and discuss in some detail all the components of a numerical weather forecast including data assimilation and initialization, numerical implementation, parameterizations, uncertainty.

Additional outcomes:

The student will also develop an understanding and appreciation of some basic dynamical systems theory as applied to weather prediction. In the practicals the students will further develop their programming skills and their skill in experimenting with a more complex model. Students will learn to run the ECMWF portable forecasting system, Open-IFS, and produce plots of the forecast variables using the ECMWF MetView system.

Outline content:
History of weather forecasting
Equations of motion
Finite difference discretisation of partial differential equations
The barotropic vorticity equation
Other numerical techniques for pde’s
Parametrisation in NWP models
Data assimilation and initialization
Chaos and uncertainty: dynamical systems, predictability and ensembles

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Theory is presented in two interactive 50 minute lectures per week. In a computing practical students will be taught to set up and run  the ECMWF Open-IFS forecasting system. The output from the forecasts will be analysed at various stages throughout the module.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 18
Practicals classes and workshops 2
Guided independent study 80
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 50
Class test administered by School 50

Summative assessment- Examinations:

1 hour.

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:
One report based on a published research paper and a multiple choice test.

Formative assessment methods:
Immediate feedback on class exercises.

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:
    A mark of 40% overall.

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Re-examination in August/September only. An additional report based on a published research paper

    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: 20 April 2018


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