MTMG19-Tropical weather systems

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

Module Convenor: Dr Andy Turner


Summary module description:
An introduction to the weather systems and circulation patterns in the tropical atmosphere.

To describe the major weather systems affecting the tropics; to investigate the main physical and dynamical processes which are involved in the development of these weather systems; to relate the properties of tropical weather systems to convection in the tropics and to explore theories of the interactions between small scale convection and the large scale flow.

Assessable learning outcomes:

• To describe the major features of weather systems affecting the tropics;

• To use the tephigram to analyse the stability properties of the atmosphere and to estimate convective available potential energy and downdraft convective potential energy;

• To describe theories of the interaction of convection with the large-scale flow.

Additional outcomes:

Outline content:

• Review of observations and main features of tropical meteorology;

• Description of the large-scale flow in the Tropics in terms of the response of the Shallow Water Equations to regions of deep convection;

• Conditional instability, convection. Concept of convective available potential energy and its estimation. Vertical profiles. Convective downdrafts. Organisation of convection including tropical squall lines;

• The inter-tropical convergence zone and the tropical Hadley circulation. Introduction to tropical scale analysis. Description of the Hadley circulation including seasonal variations;

• The dynamics of monsoons. Comparisons between the Indian and West African monsoons as examples of strong and weak monsoon systems;

• The El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO). Observations of the oceanic and atmospheric components of the ENSO system. Dynamical theories of ENSO mechanisms;

• Observations of the Madden-Julian oscillation. Competing theories for the MJO, including the role of air-sea interaction;

• Observations of tropical cyclones. Convection and thermodynamics of tropical cyclones: critical analysis of the CISK and WISHE theories.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

The course will be based around a series of lectures. A number of problem sheets will help students to assimilate the material, and there will be opportunities for some problem solving and tutorial discussion within the classes.

Reading lists for meteorology modules are available here

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 14
Tutorials 4
Guided independent study 82
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 20
Class test administered by School 80

Other information on summative assessment:

One assessed problem sheet to be completed during Spring term and to be submitted via Blackboard. Number of essays or assignments - 1.

Formative assessment methods:

Five non-assessed worksheets to be completed during the module.

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: 31 March 2017

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