Office hours: By Appointment
If you are reading a printed copy of this page, you will be able to
find this syllabus and other course messages/notes/updates on the
course webpage: www.meteor.iastate.edu/classes/mt454/
- The coupling of the atmosphere and surface through the
planetary boundary layer.
- Wave motions occurring in the atmosphere.
- Atmospheric instability and the generation of new
- Convection and other small- (meso-) scale phenomena. [Tentative]
Holton, Introduction to Dynamic Meteorology, Fourth Edition (Third
Edition is acceptable)
The lecture list provided below is tentative
but should be adequate
enough to give you a
reference for the order topics will be covered and a reasonable idea of
the pace the materials will be covered.
You can obtain additional course materials that supplement the text
You should purchase the course packet, containing grayshade printouts
of the lecture slides, at the University Bookstore. The cost is $12.25. In addition, class images
are available for viewing here, but
you need a password to open this page. Please see Rachindra for access.
Students are expected to come
to class prepared to participate actively in the learning process. As
in any professional organization, absences should be justified and
promptness standard procedure. Your homework should be done with
pride and submitted on time. Late homework will be given discounted credit.
I communicate frequently with the class by email. The default email
address I have for all students is their @iastate.edu address.
Students who prefer to use some other email address should follow one
of these two alternatives (the first is preferred):
- Follow the instructions to automatically forward your
to another system.
- Send to me by email your preferred address.
Choice 1 is much preferable because it ensures that all email sent your
@iastate.edu address will get forwarded. This could be email for
other classes, from the Registrar's office, etc.
NOTE: When you are emailing me, please start the "Subject:"
line with "MT454" so that I can find it easily in all the spam I get.
- Chapter 5 - First week of October
- Chapter 7 - mid-November
- Chapter 8 + Any material covered on mesoscale phenomena - Exam
Week: Monday - Friday, December 11-15, 2017.
- Tests are closed-book exams.
- You are allowed to use a 1-page "crib sheet".
- The crib sheed can have any equations or constants you want on it.
- The crib sheet can not have sample problems or figures.
- You can (and are in fact encouraged) to work with other students
to develop your crib sheet
- The crib sheet must be handed in with the test.
- Periodically, approximately every 2 weeks, except when there are
- I will assign problem set groups.
- Most problem sets will be done by groups
- Note, however, that you are free (and in fact encouraged) to
discuss the problems with other groups.
- Due 1 week after assigned (except First
Assignment - due by 5 pm, Friday, 1 September 2017)
- Late: Problems that are one period late will receive 1/2 credit,
after that, no credit.
Procedure for Problem Sets
Every person who contributes to the solution will get the same score.
Discussion with others outside your group is encouraged. Only one
solution is to be submitted from the group. Persons not contributing
no credit. Problem sets are due one week after they are assigned at the
end of class (unless stated otherwise).
- Restate question, preferably in your own words.
- Very important! Without using equations, explain the physics of the problem. Figures are
- Work the problem and include comments.
- Identify the solution (e.g. underline, put in a box, use an arrow
- On each problem set, team members who contributed should sign
their names at the top; identify the person (secretary) writing the
- The secretary position must be rotated.
On-line Problem Sets
Problem sets require you to have the Adobe Acrobat Reader, which you
can get from here,
if you do not have it.
To reduce the need for make-up classes if I go out of town, I will
use pre-recorded lectures for some topics. Note that material covered
on these lectures may appear on problem sets or tests. I will of course
answer questions you may have about the material presented in these
lectures. Even if I do not use these lectures to cover periods I am
out of town, they are still useful for reviewing the topics they
To view and listen to them, you simply need to click on the link for
the lecture below, so long as you have an appropriate browser with the
Adobe Flash Player extension included. Typically, this extension
is already in your browser, but if it is not, you will be asked if you
want it downloaded and implemented on your machine. Basically, Windows and
Macintosh OS X machines are ok. Linux machines should work (use
Mozilla Firefox), but
success is not guaranteed. Further details on compatibility appear at
a web site on specific
requirements and capabilities for Adobe Acrobat Connect, which is
the software underlying these presentations.
For best visual clarity, you should make your browser window as large
as possible. If you are listening to the lectures with others around
you, out of courtesy, please use headphones. Also, sometimes the
audio does not work the first time the lecture is invoked, but it does
work if you close the lecture and click on the link again.
|Problem sets|| 20%
||Test - Ch. 5
||Test - Ch. 7|| 22%
||Test - Ch. 8|| 21%
||Waves Project|| 15%
The course grade is determined in part by how people do with respect to each
other and how the class as a whole has done. This gives a starting
point for assessing what each student has demonstrated with regard to
her/his grasp of the material. The total score from tests, labs, etc.
is NOT judged on a scale of below 60 = F, 60 - 69 = D, etc. (Of course
a total score of 80, for example, will be no lower than a B-.)
Conduct one or more of the weekly reviews of recent and forecast
500 hPa behavior in both Northern and Southern Hemispheres. I will do
the first one, to show you what I expect. You should follow these
guidelines for issues
to present. The
guidelines will be the
basis for determining your grade. Here is the schedule.
Write a final report, guided by suggested analysis
- We will be doing a project,
large-scale wave motions. This will entail viewing 500 hPa analyses
on the ISU
Meteorological Weather Products page. Students will work in teams
that are identical to the problem set groups. Each team will have 3
- Record observations of 500 hPa waves (see "STEPS" section of tracking of large-scale wave
The wave project reports (one from each "observing team") will be due
by 5 pm, Friday, 18 November 2017. You turn your report in by
posting a pdf of it on the Meteorology student portfolio page of each
team member. Each
team should also write a 1 paragraph abstract that is posted as text
on each team member's portfolio page. The abstract posting should
include the paper's title and list of authors, just as you do for the
paper itself. As with any scientific abstract, it should give the
motivation for the work, the fields observed/recorded, the analyses
done and the major conclusions.
You should send me an email
notifying me of when the two items have been posted.
Please see me if
you do not know how to create a pdf of your report. Softward exists
on one of the meteorology computers for doing this from MS Word in
Windows. MS Word for Macintosh computers also has the appropriate
Some relevant sites for Northern and Southern Hemisphere weather:
Also, for Northern Hemisphere weather:
- Ohio State
Class exercise: Planetary boundary layer features from
The goals of this exercise are
- Use observations to estimate the growth of boundary layer
- Compare behavior with experience.
- Use observations to estimate the surface drag coefficient.
- Learn how to make and apply plausible estimates for fluxes and
other fields in the boundary layer, based in part on our
You can download background information and
observations and instructions
for doing the exercise.
Class exercise: Shallow-water gravity waves in the ocean
The goals of this exercise are
- Use observations of tsunami travel time to estimate the depth of
- Infer other features about the ocean from tsunami travel properties
- Link the exercise to gravity waves
You can download a PDF
containing key information and instructions. You can view an animation
of the propagating waves. Also, you can download an
animation that might work on
your computer. It should work using QuickTime. Note that it was
compressed, using gzip.
Plagiarism is unacceptable! Consequently, you must
document the source of any piece of information that is not yours.
You may copy a phrase from a source, placing it in quotes and citing
the source.. However, it is strongly recommended that you use your
own words to explain an idea or result produced by someone else,
though you still must cite the source. For this class, you should
follow the style of American Meteorology Society journals (e.g.,
Journal of Climate) for the format of citations in the body of
the text and for the bibliography at the end. Please see me if you
have any questions.
I am expecting to be away on the following dates. Note that some
do not conflict with classes, but I am listing all my travel so you
know when I may not have email contact. Given the online nature of
this course, I may try to conduct class from my travel location, or I
will assign pre-recorded lectures. I will let you know in advance.
Other dates are possible, though I am trying to avoid any. I will
keep you posted.
Make-up classes: I will arrange for make-up classes. Tentative times
are when Mteor 499 does not meet on Mondays or after the weather and
forecasting sessions. However, I also want to try other means of
covering missed classes, such as guest lecturers and pre-recorded
versions of my lectures.
Lecture Topics by Week
[tentative; following Holton (Chapters 5, 7, 8 and 9) ]
- General characteristics of the planetary boundary layer;
Class Discussion -
PBL (30 August 2017)
- Turbulent kinetic energy; momentum equations
- Ekman layers; coupling with surface
- Spin down of circulation
- Waves in the atmosphere; perturbation theory and wave properties
- Shallow water gravity waves
- Rossby waves (Notes on
group velocity for Rossby waves for the case U = 0, l = 0.)
- Internal gravity waves
- Geostrophic adjustment
- Development of mid-latitude systems; hydrodynamic instability
- Baroclinic instability: linear instability
- -- Thanksgiving break -- [no class]
- Baroclinic instability: energetics
- -- FINAL EXAM -- [During exam week - December 11 - 15, 2017]
The class will follow Iowa State University’s policy on academic
dishonesty. Anyone suspected of academic dishonesty will be reported
to the Dean of Students Office. See
Misconduct page for further detail.
Iowa State University complies with the Americans with Disabilities
Act and Sect 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. If you have a disability
and anticipate needing accommodations in this course, please contact
(instructor name) to set up a meeting, ideally early in
the semester or as soon as you become aware of your need. Before
meeting with (instructor name), you will need to obtain a SAAR form
with recommendations for accommodations from the Disability Resources
Office, located in Room 1076 on the main floor of the Student Services
Building. Their telephone number is 515-294-7220 or email
This class follows the Iowa State University Dead Week policy as noted
in section 10.6.4 of the
Harassment and Discrimination
Iowa State University strives to maintain our campus as a place of
work and study for faculty, staff, and students that is free of all
forms of prohibited discrimination and harassment based upon race,
ethnicity, sex (including sexual assault), pregnancy, color, religion,
national origin, physical or mental disability, age, marital status,
sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, or status as
a U.S. veteran. Any student who has concerns about such behavior
should contact his/her
Assistance at 515-294-1020
or email firstname.lastname@example.org, or
the Office of Equal Opportunity
Compliance at 515-294-7612.
If an academic or work requirement conflicts with your religious
practices and/or observances, you may request reasonable
accommodations. Your request must be in writing, and your instructor
or supervisor will review the request. You or your instructor may
also seek assistance from
the Dean of Students Office
or Office of Equal Opportunity
Compliance at 515-294-7612.
If you are experiencing, or have experienced, a problem with any of
the above issues, email email@example.com.
Go to Department of Geological & Atmospheric Sciences (ISU)
Meteorology Course Listings
Go to Geological & Atmospheric Sciences Department Homepage