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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Cecilia Bitz
ATM S 380
Seattle Campus

Weather and Climate Prediction

Applies weather and climate models to solve problems in atmospheric sciences. Includes visualization of atmospheric phenomena and Earth's energy and hydrologic cycles; and basics in numerical modeling and high-performance computing. Prerequisite: MATH 126; PHYS 122; either ATMS 101, ATM S 111, ATM S 211, ATM S 301, ASTR 150, ASTR 321, or ESS 201. Offered: W.

Class description

The atmosphere is part of a complex system that is often best investigated with models. Atmospheric models offer the opportunity to probe real phenomena, and models can be used as a learning tool to explore ideas though "what if" experimentation. This course will provide an overview of what weather and climate models entail, and how these models are used in the atmospheric sciences. Students will learn to run state-of-the-art models used for research in the atmospheric sciences. The course will cover techniques to visualize and analyze atmospheric phenomena. Students will be introduced to numerical methods and high-performance computing.

Student learning goals

How weather and climate models are applied to solving problems in atmospheric sciences.

Modeling and visualization of model output as resources for professional careers in the environmental sciences.

Basics in numerical methods and high-performance computing.

Means of exploring the atmosphere with models, to aid our understanding more traditionally taught with equations

Empower undergraduates with research skills for independent learning and to assist with university research projects.

General method of instruction

I will lecture roughly twice per week and once per week we will go to the computing lab where I will teach students to use high-performance computers.

Recommended preparation

MATH 124-126, PHYS 121-122, and ONE of the following ATMS 101,111,211,301; ASTR 150,321; or ESS 201. A little knowledge of unix would help, but a short tutorial will be offered to students who need it. Students can get a head-start at http://info.ee.surrey.ac.uk/Teaching/Unix/

Class assignments and grading

Weekly exercises will involve running, analyzing, and interpreting models. When running a model for the first time in the course, designing a reasonable experiment, successfully setting it up and running the model will be the main goal of an exercise. In subsequent weeks, students will be judged on their interpretation of the results.Thus homework will be evaluated for a combination of following instructions, application of scientific method, and analysis of results. Exams will test students' understanding of reading and lecture materials. The course grade will be weighted 50% from homework and 50% from the midterm and final exam.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Additional Information
Last Update by Cecilia Bitz
Date: 11/14/2010