GGS309 Spring 2015
Introduction to Weather and Climate


    Course Information
        Title: Introduction to Weather and Climate(GGS 309)
        CRN: 15506
        Time:  1:30pm-4:10pm, Thursdays, 01/20-05/13/2015
        Location: Exploratory Hall 2103
       Instructors John Qu Xianjun Hao
       Telephone: (703)993-3958 (703)993-9322
       Office: Room 3411, Exploratory Hall           Room 3409, Exploratory Hall

    Office Hours: Stop by 10:00 AM -12:00 PM Thursdays or or make appointment

    Course Description

    This course will introduce the students to the fundamental principles upon which the atmosphere and climate sciences are based and to provide quantitative description and interpretation of the wide range of atmospheric observing the atmosphere phenomena with an emphasis on sub-synoptic scales (i.e. weather and regional scale climate). This course engages students with real-world examples and a captivating narrative. One of the main goals of this course is not only to provide the basic knowledge of fundamentals of the weather and climate, but also to prepare students for the science of atmospheric modeling and simulations. This course is designed for both science majors and non-majors taking their first course in weather and climate sciences.

    Prerequisites: MATH 214 and PHYS 262, or permission of instructor.


    Week one: 01/22 Introduction to the Atmosphere and Climate Science [ PPT ]
    Week two 01/29 The Energy Cycle [ PPT ]
    [ Chapter two, Introduction to Atmospheric Radiation ]
    Week three 02/05 Temperature [ PPT ]
    Week four 02/12 Water in the Atmosphere [ PPT ]
    Quiz One
    Week five 02/19 Observing the Atmosphere (DL) [ PPT ]
    Week six 02/26 Atmospheric Forces and Wind [ PPT ]
    Answers for quiz one
    Mid-term Review
    Week seven 03/05 Global and Small Scale Winds [ PPT1 ]   [ PPT2 ]
    Week eight 03/12 Spring break
    Week nine 03/19 Atmosphere-Ocean Interactions: El Niño and Tropical Cyclones [ PPT ]
    Homework 2
    Week ten 03/26 Air Masses and Fronts [ PPT ]
    Week eleven 04/02 Extratropical Cyclones and Anticyclones (DL) [ PPT ]
    Week twelve 04/09 Thunderstorms and Tornadoes [ PPT ]
    Quiz Two
    Week thirteen 04/16 Weather and Climate Forecasting [ PPT1 ] [ PPT2 ]
    Homework 3
    Week fourteen 04/23 Past and Present Climates [ PPT ]
    Quiz Three
    Week fifteen 04/30 Human Influences on Climate [ PPT1 [ PPT2 ]
    Final Exam Summary
    Week sixteen 05/07 Final Exam


  • Class attending: 5%
  • Quizes: 20%
  • Homework: 20%
  • Midterm: 25%
  • Final Exam: 30%
  •        (A=90-100, B=80-89, C=70-79, D=60-69, F=<60)


    1. Required Textbook: “Meteorology: Understanding the Atmosphere”, Fourth Edition, by Steven A. Ackerman and John A. Knox 2014, Jones & Bartlett Learning (2014), ISBN 978-1-284-02737-2 (paperback edition), 575 pages.
    2. Reference book:"Climatology", By Robert V. Rohli, Anthony J. Vega, Jones & Bartlett Learning (2011), Paperback - 432 pages - ISBN 0763791016

    Honor code

    Students must follow the GMU Scholastic Honor Code. Please show respects to everyone in the classroom. Copying homework (or quiz) is considered cheating.

    Useful Links

    1. Windyty, wind map & forecast
    2. NOAA/CDC
    3. NOAA/NCDC
    4. IPCC
    5. Climate Conference in Copenhagen, 2009
    6. Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States
    7. Climate Change Science Compendium 2009 by UNEP
    8. IPCC 2014 Reports
    9. A climate threat, rising from the soil
    10. World Meteorological Organization (WMO)