MTMW15-Extra-tropical Weather Systems

Module Provider: Meteorology
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Co-requisites: MTMW11 Fluid Dynamics of the Atmosphere and Oceans
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2017/8

Module Convenor: Dr Chris Holloway


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.

Reading lists for meteorology modules are available here

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

Other information on summative assessment:

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 tutorials. Model answers will be provided for
these problem sheets.

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:
2 hour exam with a choice of two from three questions in April.

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 course.

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: 24 July 2017

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