ATOC5600 Syllabus

Syllabus print version
Administrative procedure print version

Syllabus print version
Administrative procedure print version

Instructor: Katja Friedrich (Office in Duane D341); 
Email:, Phone: 303-492-2041
Time: Tuesday and Thursday, 2:00-3:15 pm
Office hours: Tuesday after class until 5pm. Email for an appointment.
Location: Duane G131
Textbook: Recommended:
Houze, R. A. Jr, 1994: Cloud dynamics. Academic Press, 581 pp. 
 ISBN-10: 0123568803

Rogers, R. R., and M. K. Yau, 1989: A short course in cloud physics (3rd Edition). Butterworth-Heinemann (Elsevier), 304 pp. ISBN-10: 0750632151

Cotton, R. W., and R. A. Pielke Sr., 2007: Human impact on weather and climate (2nd Edition). Cambrigde University Press, 330 pp. ISBN-10: 0521600561

Web Page:
Lecture notes, homework, projects, reading assignments, models, data, solutions, and other useful material will be posted on the class web site.

Additional literature:

1.) Seinfeld, J. H. and S. N. Pandis, 2006: Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics:  
     From air pollution to climate change 
(2nd edition). Wiley-Intersciences,  
     1232 pp. ISBN-10 04717201861
Pruppacher, H. R. and J. D. Klett,  1996: Microphysics of clouds and 
    precipitation. Springer, 976 pp. ISBN-10: 079234409X

Summary: 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.

Grading: A final grade will be composed of homework (30%), one research projects (30%), and midterm and final exams (40%).

Homework: About three homework assignments will be set and graded. Also, each lecture will have a number of problems that you should review each week. While not graded, someone will “volunteer” to work through the problem on the board in the next class and can gain some additional credits that will count towards the homework.

Research assignments: The two projects will comprise a combination of specific tasks and open-ended “research” tasks. A deadline for handing in assignments will be given. Late submission will be penalized at a rate of 20% per day (i.e., three days late will get a maximum of half marks). If there is some reason why you cannot hand in work on time, contact me BEFORE the day it is due.

Exams: There will be one mid-term, and a final exam. If you score higher on the final than the mid-term(s), the final exam grade will be used. The midterm exam will take place on 19 October 2:00 – 3:15 pm in Duane G131. The final exam will take place on 9 December 2:00 – 3:15 pm in Duane G131.

Fundamentals in thermodynamic (2.5 weeks) Rogers & Yau 1-4
Thermodynamics of dry air, Water vapor and its thermodynamic effects.
Parcel buoyancy and atmospheric stability, Mixing and convection.
Basic atmospheric dynamics.
Cloud microphysics (2 weeks) Houze 3
Microphysics of warm and cold clouds, role of aerosols.
Observing cloud structures and precipitation (2 weeks) Houze 4
Introduction to remote sensing instruments (radar, satellite) and in-situ instruments (rain and snow gauges, disdrometers).
Specific phenomena & precipitation processes (4 weeks) Houze 6-12
Nimbostratus, cumulus dynamics, thunderstorms, mesoscale convective systems, hurricanes, extra-tropical cyclones, orographic clouds and precipitation.
Weather modification and cloud seeding (0.5 weeks) Cotton & Pielke
Main results from weather modification and cloud seeding experiments.
Human impact on regional and global climate.
Numerical cloud modeling (0.5 weeks) Houze 3
Introduction to cloud models, parameterization of clouds explicit and bulk modeling of warm and cold clouds.