GGS 670 Fall 2017
Introduction to Atmosphere and Weather


    Course Information
        Title: GGS 670 Introduction to Atmosphere and Weather
        CRN: 73954
        Time: 04:30 pm-7:10 pm, Tuesdays, 08/28-12/20/2017
        Location: Exploratory Hall 2312
        Instructoris: Prof. John Qu and Dr. Xianjun Hao
        Telephone: (703) 993-3958 and (703)993-9322
        Office: Room 2412, and room 3412, Exploratory Hall
        Office Hour: Stop by 2:00-4:00PM Mondays or make appointment

    Course Description

    This course will introduce the students to the fundamental principles upon which the atmospheric sciences are based and to provide quantitative description and interpretation of the wide range of atmospheric phenomena with an emphasis on sub-synoptic scales (i.e. weather and regional scale climate). One of the main goals of this course is not only to provide the basic knowledge of fundamentals of the atmosphere science and weather, but also to prepare students for the science of climate. This course is designed for both science majors and non-majors taking their first course in atmosphere science. We will focus on energy meteorology in Fall 2017.


    College Math (such as MATH 214) and physics (such as PHYS 262), or permission of instructor.


    Week one 08/29 Introduction to Atmosphere [PPT]
    Week two 09/05 The Energy Cycle (DL) [PPT]
    Reading: Widening of the tropical belt in a changing climate
    Reading: A Drier Future?
    Week three 09/12 Energy Balance and Temperature [PPT]
    Week four 09/19 Water in the Atmosphere [PPT]
    Week five 09/26 Observing the Atmosphere [PPT]
    Week six 10/03 Atmospheric Forces and Winds [PPT]
    Week seven 10/10 No class (Tuesday classes do not meet because of Columbus Day)
    Week eight 10/17 Global Winds and Small Scale Winds
    Week nine 10/24 Atmosphere-Ocean Interactions: El Nino and Tropical cyclones
    Week ten 10/31 Air Masses and Fronts
    Week eleven 11/07 Extratropical Cyclones and Anticyclones
    Week twelve 11/14 Thunderstorms and Tornadoes
    Week thirteen 11/21 Weather and Climate Forecasting
    Week fourteen 11/28 Past, Present and Future Climate
    Week fifteen 12/05 Final project presentations
    Week sixteen 12/12 Final term papers

    Final project

    Weather and atmosphere science related final presentations and final term papers are encouraged.

    Grades will be based upon your performance on the homework exercies, midterm, class attendance and final term paper and presentation. The weighted contribution of each of these utems to your final grade is:

  • Homework 30%
  • Midterm 30%
  • Final Project 30%
  • Class Attendence 10%

  •      (A=90-100, B=80-89, C=70-79, D=60-69, F=<60)

    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.

    Recommended References:

    1. Wallace, J. M., and P. V. Hobbs, Atmospheric Science: An Introductory Survey (Second Edition), Academic Press, 2006.

    Useful Links

    1. NOAA/CDC
    2. NOAA/NCDC
    3. IPCC
    4. Climate Conference in Copenhagen, 2009
    5. Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States
    6. Climate Change Science Compendium 2009 by UNEP
    7. IPCC 2007 Reports
    8. A climate threat, rising from the soil
    9. Global Weather Maps
    10. COP21