ATOC 5600 – Physics and Chemistry of Clouds and Aerosols

Overview: Clouds are a vital link in the global and regional weather climate and hydrological cycle. Microphysical and thermodynamical processes are an integral part of water forecasting, analysis and climate modeling. Most of our current understanding of cloud and precipitation formation comes from physical studies of cloud systems during weather modifications experiments in the 50s throughout the 80s. Over the last decades the rapid development of remote sensing and in-situ instruments has set the stage for broadening our understanding of the physics and chemistry of clouds and aerosols.

Overview: Clouds are a vital link in the global and regional weather climate and hydrological cycle. Microphysical and thermodynamical processes are an integral part of water forecasting, analysis and climate modeling. Most of our current understanding of cloud and precipitation formation comes from physical studies of cloud systems during weather modifications experiments in the 50s throughout the 80s. Over the last decades the rapid development of remote sensing and in-situ instruments has set the stage for broadening our understanding of the physics and chemistry of clouds and aerosols. This knowledge is of fundamental importance especially for nowcasting of severe weather, weather forecasting, hydrological forecasts, and climate prediction.

This course aims to build on knowledge of the fundamental set of thermodynamic and physical principles by applying them to quantitatively describe the behavior of cloud development and precipitation enhancement. By the end of this course we will have developed quantitative and qualitative analysis of thermodynamic and microphysical processes relevant for cloud development for certain phenomena such as nimbostratus clouds, extra-tropical cyclones, cumulus dynamics, thunderstorms, mesoscale convective systems, hurricanes, and orographic clouds. A detailed examination of the advantage, limits, and operation of remote sensing (radar and satellite) and in-situ instruments (rain gauges, disdrometer) is perused, and these measurements will be used to understand microphysical and dynamical structures in clouds and precipitation. We apply our understanding of cloud microphysics to problems of weather modification by cloud seeding and anthropogenic aerosol and gas emission as well as numerical modeling of clouds.

Instructor: Katja Friedrich; Katja.Friedrich@colorado.edu

When: Fall 2010; Tuesdays and Thursdays 2:00-3:15 pm

Where: Duane G131

Grading: Homework (30%), projects (30%), mid-term and final exam (40%)

Office hours: After class on Tuesdays. Please send an email before.

Syllabus: Download the class outline and syllabus, as well as statement on CU procedures.

Textbook (optional): Houze, R. A. Jr, 1994: Cloud dynamics. Academic Press, 581 pp.
ISBN-10: 0123568803

Other texts: Recommended are Roger and Yau (1989) and Cotton and Pielke (2007); Useful secondary references are Steinfeld and Pandis (2006) and Pruppacher and Klett (1996)

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