Meteorology and Geoscience (WX)


WX 101  Meteorology Careers  1 Credit (1,0)

Introduction to careers in meteorology and the atmospheric sciences. Career options; industry education requirements; national and local professional organizations; academic planning; resumes and cover letters; guest speakers from industry.

WX 201  Survey of Meteorology  3 Credits (3,0)

This is a survey course in atmospheric science that includes applications to flight. Included is a systematic development of the following: thermal patterns, atmospheric moisture, horizontal and vertical pressure patterns, clouds, atmospheric circulation, local winds, stability, air masses, fronts, fog, icing, thunderstorms, jet streams and turbulence. Students will study and make use of surface weather observations, surface maps, and constant pressure maps.

WX 210  Introduction to Geographic Information Systems  3 Credits (2,1)

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) encompass all aspects of spatial data analysis from data acquisition and manipulation through problem solving to the graphic presentation of results. This course surveys GIS theory and applications as students learn to store, retrieve, manipulate, analyze, and display spatial data according to a variety of user-defined specifications. Lectures will emphasize fundamental principles of GIS while computer-based exercises will emphasize training.

WX 215  Introduction to Geoscience  3 Credits (3,0)

Historical figures, evolution of scientific theories; technological advancements. Geologic time scales; plate tectonics; seismicity, waves. Volcanism, magma chemistry. atmospheric turbidity. Topographic quadrangles, computer mapping, orogenesis. Earth?s core, mantel, and crust. Elements, molecules, minerals, and rocks. Oceanic and continental crust. Chemical and physical weathering; mass wasting. Fluvial processes and patterns, watersheds, floodplains, precipitation, evapotranspiration. Hydrologic cycle, surface water, groundwater recharge, effects of precipitation. Karst terrain, aquifers, sinkhole collapse, phreatic and vadose zones, water table withdrawal, and drought. Aeolian processes and features, aridity, desertification. Glaciology, snowfall. Ice accumulation/ablation. Oceanography. Soils. There are no prerequisites.

WX 261  Applied Climatology  3 Credits (2.5,0)

This course is an in-depth survey of the varied climates of the world and of the impact of climate on aviation. Emphasis is placed on understanding energy exchange processes that control climate and in describing in detail how and why temperature, precipitation and wind vary during the year and in relation to geography. Included is a treatment of climate variability, including how and why climate is thought to have changed in the past, and how it might change in the future, and of the tools used to understand this variability.
Prerequisites: WX 201 or WX 252.

WX 270  Weather Information Systems  3 Credits (3,0)

This course provides an introduction to the various weather-sensing equipment and the systems that deliver weather information to various users. The development of various sensing devices will be explored and current instrumentation technology explained. The course will provide an overview of how various instruments make measurements, the physical principles involved in the measurements, the limitations of the measurements, and how these data are used in weather operations and forecasts. The use of these measurements will be illustrated in class weather briefings, labs, and homework assignments. Students will be required to design, build, calibrate, and take data with a weather instrument.
Prerequisites: WX 201.

WX 280  Introduction to TV Weathercasting  3 Credits (1,2)

This introductory course introduces the student to radio and television weather-casting with hands-on experience in developing a forecast, a format, and delivery techniques for both radio and television. Students will gain valuable on-camera experience as well as an introduction to the work requirements for broadcast meteorology.
Prerequisites: WX 201 and COM 219.

WX 299  Special Topics in Applied Meteorology  1-6 Credit

Individual independent or directed studies of selected topics in applied meteorology.

WX 301  Aviation Weather  3 Credits (3,0)

The course is an expansion of WX 201 Survey of Meteorology with a focus on aviation weather hazards, including convective hazards (thunderstorms, hail, high winds), non-convective weather hazards (fog, icing, turbulence, wind shear, winter weather), and special weather hazards (volcanic ash and space weather). Meteorological concepts such as pressure, atmospheric forces, thickness, thermal wind, fronts, jet streams, cyclone formation, and atmospheric stability are expanded and applied to aviation operations. Emphasis is on navigating today's online environment for obtaining and analyzing real-time surface observations, upper-air observations, satellite data, and radar data, as well as both primary and supplementary aviation weather products. Lab exercises and projects complement the lectures through use of current and historic weather examples to provide practical experience in making informed weather-sensitive decisions.
Prerequisites: WX 201.

WX 310  Advanced Geographic Information Systems  3 Credits (1,2)

Advanced GIS is designed to further develop the concepts and principles learned in WX 210, Introduction to GIS. Lectures will focus on current theories and technology trends in geographic information sciences integrating theoretical knowledge with hands-on technical training in the computer classroom. Weekly discussion of the latest developments in GIS will reinforce these experiences while fostering an appreciation of GIS as an effective analytical tool for understanding complex processes. The course culminates in a class project involving scholarly research by teams of students based on GIS applications.
Prerequisites: WX 210.

WX 327  Operational Analysis and Forecasting  3 Credits (2,1)

Introduction to operational weather analysis and forecasting using conceptual understanding of observations, numerical model output, and synoptic-scale processes. Meteorological time and date conventions; surface station plots; METAR and SYNOP code; upper-air station plots; isoplething of surface and upper-air isobaric charts; basic satellite and radar feature identification; temperature and vorticity advection; advection on upper-air and sea-level pressure charts; vorticity, divergence, and continuity; advection and relationship to vertical motion; pattern recognition and conceptual analysis using upper-air charts; pattern recognition and conceptual analysis using sea-level pressure charts; skew-T analysis; types of soundings; basic temperature and precipitation forecasting
Prerequisites: WX 301.

WX 331  Operational Thermodynamic Meteorology  3 Credits (3,0)

Operational aspects of the physical processes that control the temperature of the atmosphere. Atmospheric radiation; conduction; convection; moisture; changes of state; adiabatic processes; saturated adiabatic processes; atmospheric stability.
Prerequisites: CS 120 or EGR 115 or BA 120 and MA 112 or MA 143 or MA 241 and PS 104 and WX 301.

WX 332  Operational Physical Meteorology  3 Credits (3,0)

The examination of physical processes which impact the atmosphere including electromagnetic radiation, heat budget of the Earth, Greenhouse effect, atmospheric optics, remote sensing, atmospheric chemistry, air pollution, formation of cloud droplets, precipitation processes, and lightning as related to operations.
Prerequisites: WX 331 and PS 101 or PS 105.

WX 344  Operational Dynamic Meteorology  3 Credits (3,0)

Development and quantification of the forces that drive atmospheric motion. Momentum equation; geostrophic, gradient, and cyclostrophic force balances and winds; effect of friction; baroclinic and barotropic atmospheres; thermal wind; vorticity; divergence; mass continuity equation, vertical motion; vorticity equation, planetary waves; evolution of mid-latitude cyclones; polar lows and tropical cyclones
Prerequisites: WX 327 and WX 331.

WX 361  Global Climate Change  3 Credits

Global climate change is influenced by variations in Earth-Sun position and solar irradiance, shifting locations of the continents, mountain building, volcanic eruptions, and atmospheric composition alteration. However, none of these natural forces, individually or collectively, explain the rapid global climate change now taking place. This course examines the diverse dynamics of global climate change by synthesizing interdisciplinary ideas, observations, and forecasts. Through a review of the literature, lectures, presentations, and discussions accompanied by an analysis of websites, videos, and other media, students will gain insight into how climate change is altering the planet, potential future impacts, and ways to mitigate the negative effects.
Prerequisites: WX 201 and WX 261.

WX 363  Thunderstorms  3 Credits (3,0)

This course provides tools for analyzing and forecasting thunderstorms and their associated hazards. Key characteristics of the thunderstorm and its environment are explored using both case studies and real-time weather data. Students examine atmospheric soundings to determine the likelihood of storm development and the amount of energy available for thunderstorms. Vertical wind shear is analyzed for clues about storm organization and severity. Other information, such as weather charts, computer models, satellite imagery, and Doppler radar imagery, is used to observe the characteristics of thunderstorms and the weather patterns that favor them. Students gain a basic scientific understanding of thunderstorm behavior as well as practical experience observing and predicting them.
Prerequisites: WX 301 or WX 353 or WX 252.

WX 365  Satellite and Radar Weather Interpretation  3 Credits (3,0)

A practical introduction to meteorological interpretation of satellite and weather radar imagery. This course surveys the basic physics of electromagnetic (EM) radiation and shows how characteristics of the EM spectrum are exploited in passive (satellite) and active (radar) remote sensing to create digital images of geophysical information. The theory of radar signal propagation and precipitation estimation is applied to the meteorological interpretation of radar imagery and supplemented with practical analysis of various radar product types. Weather satellite image types, including visible, conventional infrared, and water vapor channels and their meteorological applications, are examined. Real-time satellite identification of meteorological phenomena will be emphasized, including mountain waves, mid-latitude cyclones, fronts, jet streams, troughs, ridges, vorticity, cloud types, fog, precipitation, ordinary and severe thunderstorms, tropical waves, and hurricanes. Surface and upper-air weather maps will be used to enhance the students' understanding of satellite image signatures.
Prerequisites: WX 252 or WX 301 or WX 353.

WX 367  Thermodynamic Meteorology  3 Credits (3,0)

Application of calculus and calculus-based physics to the study of thermodynamics as applied to meteorology. Conservation of energy; Ideal Gas Law; temperature relationship to kinetic energy; specific heat, enthalpy, and entropy; 0th, 1st, 2nd Laws of Thermodynamics; atmospheric moisture; water phase changes; unsaturated and saturated air; Clausius-Clapeyron equation; thermodynamic diagrams; stability.
Prerequisites: EGR 115 and MA 242 and PS 160.

WX 368  Physical Meteorology  3 Credits (3,0)

The scientific explanation of atmospheric phenomena such as atmospheric structure. Composition of the atmosphere; radiation in the atmosphere; global radiative energy balance; remote sensing; optical phenomena; air contaminants; formation of droplets; and electrical phenomena within the atmosphere.
Prerequisites: PS 139 and WX 270 and WX 367.

WX 370  Planetary Atmospheres  3 Credits (3,0)

This course will introduce the student to the knowledge of mechanisms and forces that cause the earth's atmosphere to move will be applied to the other planets. Solar effects on space travel will be studied. Emphasis will be placed on the weather of planets which will most likely be visited in the early 21st century. Students will present a project that examines the solar and atmospheric effects of travel to their favorite planet. This course can be used to satisfy a requirement within the Minor in Space Studies.
Prerequisites: WX 252 or WX 301 or WX 353.

WX 374  Dynamic Meteorology I  3 Credits (3,0)

A calculus-based treatment of atmospheric dynamics with emphasis on the full development of the momentum equation on a rotating earth. Geostrophic balance and geostrophic wind; gradient balance and gradient wind; hydrostatic balance; hypsometric equation; thermal wind balance; baroclinic and barotropic atmospheres. Synoptic examples for illustration.
Prerequisites: MA 243 and WX 367.

WX 375  Dynamic Meteorology II  3 Credits (3,0)

Second course in calculus-based atmospheric dynamics focused on the development and application of equations governing atmospheric motion. Primitive equations; kinematics; absolute and barotropic vorticity equation; thermodynamic energy equation; quasi-geostrophic theory; Rossby wave dynamics; mid-latitude and tropical cyclogenesis.
Prerequisites: WX 374.

WX 378  Synoptic Analysis  3 Credits (2,1)

Subjective analysis techniques; mid-latitude cyclones; polar lows; jet stream dynamics; baroclinicity and vorticity advection; diagnoses of large-scale vertical ascent; air masses and fronts; mid-latitude cyclogenesis and frontogenesis; three dimensional structure of baroclinic and barotropic systems; diagnoses of precipitation types.
Prerequisites: WX 374 and WX 368 and WX 301 and WX 365.

WX 380  Advanced TV Weathercasting  3 Credits (1,2)

This course builds on the student meteorologist's radio and television weather-casting abilities and introduces the additional skills required for entry-level employment in the fields of radio and television weather-casting. The student will develop techniques for live in-studio and remote reporting of severe weather events and natural disasters. Additionally, the student will gain valuable experience writing, preparing, and delivering scientific and environmental reports and acquiring techniques for remote broadcasting.
Prerequisites: WX 280 and WX 327.

WX 381  Climate Dynamics  3 Credits (2,1)

Primarily quantitative introduction to physical and dynamical processes of climate, climate variability, and climate change. Atmospheric general circulation and relation to climate; climate sensitivity and feedback mechanisms; atmosphere-ocean interaction and coupling; El Nino and Southern Oscillation; atmospheric teleconnections; seasonal and long-range weather forecasting; climate modeling and climate model simulations; internally-forced (natural) climate variability; externally-forced (anthropogenic) climate change; quantitative understanding of future climate scenarios; review of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report.
Prerequisites: WX 261 and WX 368 and WX 375.

WX 395L  Severe Weather Field Forecasting  3 Credits (1,2)

Introduction to severe storm observation and forecasting in a real-time environment. Severe weather basics; forecasting severe weather; watches and warnings; properly and safely observing severe weather; understanding severe weather safety protocols and rules, including travel; understanding and recognizing visual storm cues; radar and satellite analysis of severe storms; collaborative data collection and analysis; calculations of derived meteorological quantities; synthesizing storm observations with other meteorological data (e.g., soundings, surface observations); collaborative preparation of case study reports.
Prerequisites: WX 201 and WX 301.

WX 399  Special Topics in Applied Meteorology  1-6 Credit

Individual independent or directed studies of selected topics in applied meteorology.

WX 402  Geographic Information System Applications  3 Credits (3,0)

Geospatial data acquisition, management, and visualization in 2-D and 3-D. Various geospatial analysis methods including location analysis; change over time; value comparisons; geographic distribution; pattern analysis; and cluster identification.
Prerequisites: WX 310.

WX 410  Weather for Commercial Air Transport  3 Credits (3,0)

Application of worldwide weather information to decision making for commercial aviation transport operations. Worldwide weather data collection and interpretation; short range and long-range forecast interpretation; airborne radar; satellite and nephanalysis chart interpretation; ground icing operations; space weather impacts on communication and navigation; volcanic ash; international weather information sources; flight planning for transoceanic flight.
Prerequisites: WX 301.

WX 422  Statistical Applications for Meteorological Data Analysis  3 Credits (3,0)

This course illustrates the applications of a broad range of statistical applications to meteorology, as well as more general data-analysis techniques. The course will include the following topics: basic statistical properties for various types of spatial and temporal data collections, including the standard statistical measures of mean, median, mode, standard deviation, and variance. Additional application topics will include correlations, confidence tests, probability distributions, and time-series sampling theory, as well as data-processing practices including regression analysis, Fourier analysis, and Eigen-vector analysis. The meteorological-specific applications include data assimilation error covariance functions, Model Output Statistics (MOS), Perfect Prog forecasts, statistical forecast models, and Ensemble forecasts of model uncertainties as well as a number of forecast verification metrics including such quantities as Probability of Detection, False Alarm Rate, and Critical Success Scores. The course will include a number of laboratory exercises using various computer software resources ranging from spreadsheet calculations through higher-level programming methods.
Prerequisites: BA 120 or CS 118 or CS 120 or EGR 115 and WX 327 or WX 378.

WX 436  Advanced Operational Forecasting  3 Credits (3,1)

Operational weather forecasting tools and techniques. Daily forecasting for locations across the nation and globe. Conceptual case study analysis; conceptual temperature, wind, and precipitation forecasting; numerical forecast model products; model-output statistics (MOS); National Weather Service (NWS) products and services; lake-effect snow; forecasting near terrain; cold-air damming; storm tracks; explosive cyclogenesis; tropical cyclone forecasting; severe storm forecasting
Prerequisites: WX 344 and WX 363 and WX 365.

WX 442  Operational Meteorology Seminar  3 Credits (3,0)

This course provides a capstone experience for Operational Meteorology majors. Operational weather support; customer requirements analysis; defining support methodologies; ethical principles; data collection and analysis; weather product tailoring; dissemination strategies; quality assessments; product refinement.
Prerequisites: WX 332 and WX 261 and MA 222 or WX 422.

WX 462  Numerical Weather Prediction  3 Credits (2,1)

Practical aspects of numerical solutions to differential equations of meteorological interest. Data assimilation methods; finite difference, spectral, and pseudo-spectral representations of spatial derivatives; discretization and aliasing error; temporal integration and computational stability; parameterization of sub-grid meteorological processes; vertical coordinates; experimentation with simple prediction models.
Prerequisites: MA 345 and WX 375.

WX 466  Advanced Synoptic Analysis and Forecasting  3 Credits (2,1)

Weather forecasting tools and techniques. Daily forecasting for locations across the nation and globe. Temperature, wind, and precipitation forecasting; numerical forecast model products; model-output statistics (MOS); National Weather Service (NWS) products and services; applications of Quasi-Geostrophic (QG) theory; Potential Vorticity (PV) thinking and applications; isentropic analysis and applications; dynamically and physically-based case studies
Prerequisites: WX 375 and WX 378.

WX 475  Field Production and Video Editing  3 Credits (1,2)

In this course, students will learn the skills of shooting and editing in short, medium, and long formats with industry-standard hardware and software. This will include production of weather and news segments for multi-platform broadcast. Additionally, students will gain experience in electronic field production and electronic news gathering (EFP/ENG). This experience will include live remote broadcasting for severe weather events. Topics and exercises include the role of the assignment editor, field producer, audio technician, videographer, on-air talent, and editor. Working closely with the professor and with state-of-the-art equipment, students produce and edit a variety of projects including, but not limited to, television series episodes, documentaries, live remote reports, short-turnaround reports, crime and crash scene documentation, and short-form videos. Occasionally professional speakers and outside team field production work are included
Prerequisites: COM 265 and COM 219.

WX 478  Mesoscale Meteorology  3 Credits (2,1)

The scientific examination of boundary layer and mesoscale meteorological processes and phenomena. Boundary layer turbulence and mixing; surface energy budget; fronts and frontogenesis; dry lines; gravity waves; convective processes responsible for organized and isolated deep moist convection; vorticity, helicity, and shear; analysis of thermodynamic diagrams and hodographs; orographic and thermally forced mesoscale circulations.
Prerequisites: WX 375 and WX 466.

WX 482  Research Methods in Meteorology  3 Credits (3,0)

This course provides a research capstone experience for meteorology majors. Defining and articulating a topic; literature reviews; designing research methodologies; ethical research practices; data collection and analysis; synthesizing information; graphics techniques; formulating conclusions; oral and written communication of results.
Prerequisites: WX 261 and WX 466 and WX 422.

WX 499  Special Topics in Applied Meteorology  1-6 Credit

Individual independent or directed studies of selected topics in applied meteorology.