MT4YG-Extratropical Weather Systems

Module Provider: Meteorology
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Pre-requisites: MT24A Atmosphere and Ocean Dynamics
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Dr Chris Holloway


Type of module:

Summary module description:
Dynamical knowledge of the development of synoptic-scale weather systems
in the extra-tropical latitudes will be developed in this module.

To develop a modern understanding (from the 'potential vorticity
thinking' perspective) of the dynamics of synoptic-scale weather systems
in the extra-tropical latitudes, and to relate this knowledge to

Assessable learning outcomes:

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

• Provide a suitable mathematical and conceptual description of mid-latitude, synoptic-scale weather systems;

• Explain, physically and mathematically, the origins of synoptic-scale vertical motion, waves and cyclones, and develop quantitative estimates of their properties;

• Critically assess the relevance of conceptual models through comparison with observations.

Additional outcomes:
Students will enhance their skills in the quantitative analysis of
weather systems and the
scaling of atmospheric motions. Students will learn to validate their
calculations through physical principles.

Outline content:

•Equations for the extra-tropics;

•The quasi-geostrophic equations;

•Potential vorticity thinking;

•Vertical motion and the omega equation;

•Dynamical interpretation of regions of vertical motion in cyclones and fronts;

•Rossby waves;

•Conceptual models of baroclinic and barotropic instability;

•The Eady and Charney analytical models of baroclinic instability;

•Lifecycle of cyclones;

•Scaling of fronts and the semigeostrophic and Sawyer-Eliassen equations;

•Symmetric and convective instability.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Lectures and (un-assessed) problem sheets. Students will give an oral and/or poster presentation on an agreed topic based on a published paper (assessed, 25% of the final mark). Full
course notes and model answers to the problem sheets are provided. .

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 16
Tutorials 6
Guided independent study 78
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Oral assessment and presentation 25
Class test administered by School 75

Summative assessment- Examinations:
2 hour exam with a choice of two from three questions in April.

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Oral and/ or poster presentation worth 25% Class test 75%.

Formative assessment methods:
Un-assessed problem sheets will be completed by the students and the
answers discussed during lectures. Model answers will be provided for
these problem sheets.

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:

    50% overall.

    Reassessment arrangements:

    Re-assessment by 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: 20 April 2018


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