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Weather (WX)

Courses

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 203L  Survey of Meteorology Laboratory  1 Credit (0,2.5)

This course introduces students to techniques for meteorological data analysis and laboratory methods in the context of experiments and exercises dealing with atmospheric physics, meteorological measurements, analysis of weather charts and climatology. There is one laboratory session per week. This laboratory is designed to complement WX 201 and can be taken together with WX 201.
Corequisites: WX 201.

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 220  Data Analysis and Visualization  3 Credits (3,0)

This course builds on the fundamentals of programming, addressing a wide range of meteorological problem solving, data analysis and visualization techniques. Students will use a problem-solving approach for understanding data formats, structures, procedures and functions, with emphasis on scientific techniques and applications.
Prerequisites: CS 125 or EGR 115.

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 or WX 252.

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 or WX 252.

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.

WX 321  Atmospheric Environmental Studies  3 Credits

Overview of atmospheric environmental topics on local and regional issues as well as global change issues. Introduction to the chemistry of atmospheric pollution. Examination of source of air pollution especially from the aerospace industries. Includes discussions of monitoring, regulations, and control of air pollution.
Prerequisites: Sophomore Standing.

WX 322  Space Weather  3 Credits

This course is an introduction to the Sun-Earth relationship and focused on understanding its societal and technological impacts. With the continued growth of the satellite communications industry and our growing dependence on wireless communication and instant access to global information, we are becoming more and more susceptible to problems caused by space weather. The course provides the students with understanding of the key concepts of radiation and convection, solar structure, the heliosphere: the corona and the solar wind, the interplanetary magnetic field, cosmic rays, Earth's space environment and upper atmosphere, the technological impacts of space storms, the perils of living in space, the impact of space weather on climate variability, and will discuss other space weather phenomena. The students will investigate several case studies of space weather storms and how they can damage or destroy orbiting satellites, injure or kill astronauts, degrade or blackout certain radio and navigation communications, and cause regional power failures by destroying critical components of electrical power grids.

WX 353  Thermodynamics of the Atmosphere  3 Credits (3,0)

A course for those requiring an in-depth understanding of the physical processes governing the atmosphere. Includes discussion and quantitative treatment of meteorological conventions, atmospheric state and structure, radiation, heat/energy transfer, boundary layer structure and fluxes, moisture, stability, cloud formation, and precipitation.
Prerequisites: WX 201 or WX 252.

WX 354  Dynamics of the Atmosphere  3 Credits (3,0)

A course for those requiring an in-depth understanding of the dynamic processes governing the atmosphere. Includes discussion and quantitative treatment of atmospheric forces, the equations of motion, local and global winds, air masses and fronts, middle latitude cyclones, quasi-geostrophic theory, thunderstorms, and hurricanes.
Prerequisites: WX 201 or WX 252 and WX 353.

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 364  Weather for Aircrews  3 Credits (3,0)

Making use of the Weather Center and the Internet, students collect and study weather data from around the world. Emphasis is placed on decoding information contained in the remarks section of weather observations and on the differences between North American weather charts and those produced in other parts of the world. Students investigate the flying conditions and aviation environment over the seven continents. The proper operation of airborne weather radar is studied. Students identify weather hazards by using ground-based weather radar and satellite imagery.
Prerequisites: WX 252 or WX 301.

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 390  Atmospheric Physics  3 Credits (3,0)

This course provides a quantitative overview of physical principles applied to the atmosphere. The topics covered in this course include elements of Earth-Sun geometry, gravitation, atmospheric structure, turbulence, waves, electromagnetic radiation, radiative transfer, atmospheric chemistry and remote sensing. Additionally, atmospheric optics and atmospheric electricity are explored
Prerequisites: WX 220 and WX 353 and MA 243.

WX 391  Applied Synoptic Meteorology  3 Credits (3,0)

This course covers conventional techniques of synoptic-scale analysis focusing on manual weather map techniques and introducing computer meteorological analysis software packages. Meteorological codes for surface and upper air data are introduced along with standard plotting models. Labs cover the standard tools of weather analysis and give the students practice constructing and using isopleths of pressure, temperature, dew point, wind speed, and geopotential height. The horizontal and vertical structure of the atmosphere is examined using standard constant pressure analyses and cross-section analyses. Properties related to atmospheric dynamics, kinematics, and thermodynamics are examined and related to analyzing, diagnosing, and forecasting real-world weather systems.
Prerequisites: WX 354.

WX 399  Special Topics in Applied Meteorology  1-6 Credit

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

WX 420  Advanced Atmospheric Thermodynamics  3 Credits (3,0)

This course provides an application of physics and calculus to the study of atmospheric thermodynamics. The course covers such topics as hydrostatics, conservation of energy, the Ideal Gas Law, temperature relationship to kinetic energy, specific heats, enthalpy, and entropy. Additionally, water and its transformations, the thermodynamics of dry, moist, and saturated air, and thermodynamic diagrams are covered.
Prerequisites: PS 160 or PS 208 and MA 242 and WX 353.

WX 427  Forecasting Techniques  3 Credits (3,0)

This course provides state-of-the-art scientific knowledge and skill in weather prognostication. Students explore traditional weather analysis and forecasting methods and how today's sophisticated numerical weather prediction (NWP) models have evolved. The strengths and limitations of the various contemporary forecast models are examined in terms of the governing equations and model construction. Students practice the forecast funnel to create daily weather forecasts and oral weather discussions, learning to synthesize observations, forecast model output, statistical tools, and other guidance effectively. They also learn to predict and communicate the impacts of a variety of weather phenomena at various spatial and temporal scales, from short-lived mesoscale events to large-scale seasonal trends.
Prerequisites: WX 363 and WX 365 Corequisites: WX 492.

WX 458  Hazards Mapping and Modeling  3 Credits (3,0)

This course serves as the capstone experience for Emergency Response Meteorologist (ERM) certification and gives hands-on experience with a variety of hazard models used by incident responders. Hazards properties are discussed in relationship to impacts on various vulnerabilities, as well as capabilities of modeling software to measure the impacts. Students learn how hazard models are constructed and utilize various modeling and mapping strategies to simulate the characteristics and impacts of both natural and manmade disasters. Students use hazard models to simulate wildfire spread and behavior, floods, tropical cyclones, earthquakes, and hazardous material trajectories. Students then communicate the impacts of these events in terms of potential effects on populations, geographical extent and severity of damage, debris flows, and infrastructure.

WX 490  Advanced Dynamic Meteorology I  3 Credits (3,0)

This is the first course in atmospheric dynamics that uses calculus. The focus of this course is on the full development of the momentum equation on a rotating earth and the subsequent applications of this equation to atmospheric flows. Applications will include the concepts of geostrophic balance and the geostrophic wind, gradient balance and the gradient wind, hydrostatic balance, the hypsometric equation, and thermal wind balance. Synoptic examples will be examined to illustrate these concepts.
Prerequisites: MA 243 and WX 354 and WX 420.

WX 491  Advanced Dynamic Meteorology II  3 Credits (3,0)

This is the second course in atmospheric dynamics that uses calculus. The dynamical set of equations and expressions that govern atmospheric phenomenon will be developed and applied. These equations and expressions will include the primitive set of equations, a kinematic description of the atmosphere, the absolute and barotropic vorticity equation, and the quasi-geostrophic set of equations. Applications will include the use of these equations to better understand Rossby wave dynamics and the cyclogenesis process.
Prerequisites: WX 490.

WX 492  Advanced Synoptic Meteorology  3 Credits (3,0)

This course builds on the concepts learned in WX 3xx (Applied Synoptic Meteorology) by using the governing dynamic and thermodynamic equations to understand weather systems, their impact and climatological context. Computer graphics software is used to diagnose vertical motion, cyclone and anticyclone life cycles, precipitation, fronts, severe weather potential, and aviation hazards from archived and real-time scenarios. Individual and team exercises give students the opportunity to apply principles learned in class.
Prerequisites: WX 391 and MA 243.

WX 493  Senior Research Thesis  3 Credits

This capstone course for senior Applied Meteorology majors enables students to complete a research project under the mentorship of a faculty member. This project, written in the style of an American Meteorological Society journal submission, will prepare students for undertaking research or writing technical papers.

WX 499  Special Topics in Applied Meteorology  1-6 Credit

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