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ATS 652 -
Synoptic Meteorology
ATS 656 -
Tropical Meteorology & Moist Convective Systems
ATS 675 -
Atmpospheric Data

ATS 740 -
Cloud Processes


ATS 652 - Synoptic Meteorology

This class will provide a balance between theory and practical applications toward describing synoptic-scale phenomena, including air masses, frontal systems, cyclones, anti-cyclones, tropical cyclones and associated mesoscale components. Heavy emphasis is placed on building an understanding of potential vorticity theory and understanding synoptic weather via isentropic analysis. This will be accomplished where possible through use of satellite data, NWP models, and workstations that involve remote sensing. In-class instruction will be complimented by applications involving hands-on weather interpretation, map and forecast discussions, forecast presentations, and case study analysis. Use of National Weather Service COMET web-based modules will enhance the instruction. The class will highlight aspects of synoptic scale weather unique to the southeastern U.S., given the combined tropical and midlatiude influences. An AMS-style Conference finalizes the class, comprised of student presentations.

The goal of the course is to provide students in graduate level atmospheric science a broad background into synoptic meteorology at a level above undergraduate level material. The course therefore assumes a strong familiarity with atmospheric thermodynamics (ATS 541) and dynamics (ATS 551) so that this course's material can grow from these basic concepts. It is very much encouraged that students understand or be prepared to learn simple programming skills, as required for several homework assignments.

Course Syllabus

1. Overview:
  a) Definitions & Units
  b) Influences of atmospheric moisture
  c) The role of the mesoscale?

2. Kinematics of the Flow:
  a) Divergence, vorticity & deformation; Trajectories
  b) Helmholtz partitioning of wind field
  c) Vorticity & potential vorticity

3. Balanced Flow:
  a) Geostrophic flow definition
  b) Other balance criteria
  c) Geostrophic adjustment (shallow water system)

4. Quasi-Geostrophic Dynamics & Diagnostics:
  a) Overview of Pressure tendency
  b) Overview of QG-omega & QG-vorticity equations
  c) QG potential vorticity; Q-vectors

5. Vertical Variation of Wind:
  a) Thermal wind, vertical wind shear
  b) Thermal wind balance
  c) Advection

6. Midlatitude Cyclones:
  a) Rossby waves; Flow regimes and circulation
  b) Vertical structure of waves & Development
  c) Cylogenesis, cyclone movement; Anticyclones
  d) Three-dimensional flow & precipitation
  e) Isentropic flow

7. Fronts and Jet Streams:
  a) Frontogenesis (diagnosing)
  b) Semi-geostrophic theory
  c) Jet streaks

8. Instability & Convection:
  a) Measures of stability
  b) Elevated mixed layers
  c) Convective systems
  d) Tropical weather systems

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