Teaching Summary Page

The teaching material will be posted at the CU Desire to Learn website.

Undergraduate courses

ATOC 1050: Weather and the Atmosphere - Severe and Hazardous Weather: We all experience the weather and the weather impacts our activities. If it is cold we need to wear a jacket on the way to class. If a big winter storm impacts Colorado it might make for great skiing in the mountains, but it also makes the roads slick and dangerous and increases the risk of avalanches. Thunderstorms can ruin our plans for a hike in the mountains and the lightning and other severe weather associated with thunderstorms can present a life threatening risk. Large storms can snarl the transportation network across the country and delay us as we travel for a vacation or to visit friends and family. This class is designed to provide you with the knowledge to understand the processes responsible for creating the weather that you experience on a daily basis. During this semester you will be asked to observe the weather around you, to find weather data on the internet, and to relate these weather observations to the topics covered in the class. 

ATOC 3180: Aviation Meteorology: This course is designed to provide a broad overview of aviation meteorology and advance students’ understanding of the atmosphere for the purpose of maximizing aircraft performance while minimizing exposure to weather hazards. The course revisits important background in elementary meteorology (e.g., temperature, pressure, wind, stability, moisture) that provides concepts and vocabulary necessary to understand aviation weather application. It addresses a variety of atmospheric circulation systems (e.g., air masses, fronts, cyclones, thunderstorms, local wind), their causes, behavior, and their related aviation weather (e.g., wind shear, turbulence, icing, fog). In the last part of the course, a framework is provided for combining the previously learned material to practical use focusing on the collection, analysis, and use of weather data for flight planning and in-flight avoidance of hazardous conditions. The course will also provide a review of meteorology basics in preparation for the FAA examination consisting of lectures, weather analysis, homework assignments, and flight planning to meet the course objectives.

ATOC 4550/5550: Mountain Meteorology: This course will provide a broad overview of mountain weather and climate. We will investigate how mountains help to control the weather and climate throughout the western United States and other places around the World. What causes the snow in the Rocky Mountains to be "the greatest snow on earth"? How can the best places for paragliding and wind surfing be determined? Can clouds be used to estimate winds and stability over nearby mountain peaks? How do the Great Salt Lake and the Great Lakes interact with the local terrain to develop lake-effect snow storms? The course provides an advanced survey of synoptic, mesoscale, and microscale meteorology in complex terrain including orographically modified cyclone evolution, front-mountain interactions, terrain and thermally driven flows, mountain waves, downslope winds, and orographic precipitation.  

ATOC 4700: Weather Analysis and Weather Forecasting: A study of day-to-day weather patterns with an emphasis on understanding the basics of meteorological processes and forecasting, independent analysis of weather events, forecast preparation, and mastery of hand data analysis.  Students read weather reports and weather maps needed to analyze current conditions and forecast weather. Taking advantage of operational weather analysis and forecasting systems on the web, students monitor current weather conditions locally and across the nation.

 ATOC 4720: Introduction to Atmospheric Physics and Dynamics: Introduces the fundamental physical principles that govern the atmosphere, and provides an elementary description and interpretation of a wide range of atmospheric phenomena. Topics include atmospheric structure and composition, electromagnetic radiation, clouds, precipitation, energy balance, atmospheric motion and climate.


Graduate courses

ATOC 5600: Physics and Chemistry of Clouds and Aerosols : Clouds and aerosols are ubiquitous in planetary atmospheres, where they impact climate, atmospheric chemistry, remote sensing, and weather. Applies basic microphysical, radiative, and chemical processes affecting particles to issues in the current literature.

ATOC 5900: Independent Study: 

ATOC 6020: Seminar in Atmospheric Sciences - Precipitation Systems: Precipitation develops in mountainous regions as large-scale synoptic disturbances interact with topography. Large number of field experiments and case studies have advanced out understanding of the influence of mountains on precipitation. The seminar is a journey discovering universal physical processes and local effects of precipitation development, enhancement and maintenance around the world visiting places like the European Alps, Taiwan, Washington Cascades, California Sierra Nevada, and the Rocky Mountains. The seminar focuses on heavy orographic precipitation, winter storms, and convection initiation.