MT11D-Weather and Climate Fundamentals

Module Provider: Meteorology
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2023/4

Module Convenor: Dr Peter Inness

Type of module:

Summary module description:
A module combining introductory theory of meteorology, problem solving tutorials and meteorological data analysis.

This module aims to develop the student's skills in the application of basic physical principles to middle latitude weather systems.

Assessable learning outcomes:

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

  • Demonstrate and develop skills in scientific problem solving;

  • Understand and be able to explain basic physical laws and concepts and their significance to the atmosphere;

  • Write down formulae for the forces acting on air parcels and apply these using real data;

  • Understand and be able to explain the components of the Surface Energy Budget;

  • Understand and be able to explain the development of important weather systems in terms of basic physics;

  • Apply the first law of thermodynamics to air parcels and interpret the state of the atmosphere by analysis of tephigrams.

Additional outcomes:

This module will enhance general problem solving skills and skills in meteorological data analysis, and will highlight the application of mathematical techniques in Meteorology.

Outline content:

  • Theory lectures;

  • Thermodynamics: first law of thermodynamics for an air parcel, theory of thermodynamic diagrams and processes;

  • Atmospheric moisture: humidity mixing ratio, dew point temperature, relative humidity;

  • Dynamics: Forces acting on air parcels, pressure gradient force, Coriolis force, drag, forces in balance: hydrostatic, geostrophic and gradient wind;

  • Analysis of atmospheric state using a tephigram including dry and saturated adiabats, lifting condensation level, atmospheric stability;

  • Radiation laws and simple models;

  • Temperature gradient effects: Thermal wind balance and thermal advection;

  • Weather system analysis: mass conservation, divergence, vorticity, ageostrophic flow, vertical motion, jets, contribution of vertical motion to development of extratropical weather systems, frontogenesis

  • Practicals: Plotting and analysis of tephigrams, surface, upper air and thickness charts.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Around 30 50 minute theory lectures, 20 50 minute tutorial sessions with either seminars on application of lecture material or problem sheets, 10 110-minute practical classes comprising of a mixture of chart analysis and scientific problem solving.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20 20
Seminars 10
Practicals classes and workshops 20
Guided independent study: 70 60
Total hours by term 100 100 0
Total hours for module 200

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 50
Written assignment including essay 20
Practical skills assessment 30

Summative assessment- Examinations:

1.5 hours.

The examination for this module will require a narrowly defined time window and is likely to be held in a dedicated exam venue.

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:
In the first term: 2 written assessed problem sheets based on course material. In the second term: practical exercises based on analysis of meteorological charts, 5 of which will be assessed.

Formative assessment methods:

In the first term, one example problem sheet. In the second term, two formative practical exercises.

Penalties for late submission:

The Support Centres 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 (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:
40% overall.

Reassessment arrangements:
Resit examination only 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: 30 March 2023


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