MTMG02-Atmospheric Physics

Module Provider: Meteorology
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2017/8

Module Convenor: Prof Maarten Ambaum


Summary module description:
In this module we will cover thermal physics as applicable to the atmosphere. We will cover phase transitions, cloud formation, radiation, vertical stability, and related topics in atmospheric science.


To present thermodynamics relevant to the atmosphere and its applications to the vertical structure of the atmosphere, cloud drop formation, and radiation in the climate system.

Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of this module students should be able to: understand and apply relevant thermodynamic laws and perform calculations applicable to problems of atmospheric thermal physics, including the role of water in all its phases, gravity and the vertical structure of the atmosphere, droplet and cloud formation, radiative processes and the greenhouse effect.

Additional outcomes:
Students will become equipped to tackle more specialized subjects in atmospheric science. They will get a good idea of typical values of important quantities in the atmosphere. They will improve their skills in scientific thinking, problem solving, and use of mathematics to analyze physical systems.

Outline content:

  1. Ideal gases

  2. Thermodynamics and its applications

  3. Gravity and vertical structure of the atmosphere

  4. Cloud drop formation

  5. Radiation

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Lectures and problem solving tutorials. The course will be based on the book Thermal Physics of the Atmosphere by M. H. P. Ambaum, Wiley-Blackwell Publishers, 240pp. (ISBN: 978-0-470-74515-1)

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20
Tutorials 10
Guided independent study 70
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Set exercise 20
Class test administered by School 80

Other information on summative assessment:

Formative assessment methods:

Problem classes in guided tutorials with individual feedback from teaching assistants.

Penalties for late submission:
Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information:

Length of examination:
3 hour exam with a choice of two from three questions in January.

Requirements for a pass:
50% overall.

Reassessment arrangements:
For candidates who have failed, an opportunity to take a resit examination will be provided within the lifetime of the programme.

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: 31 March 2017

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