Meteorology and Climate Change

Module aims

  • To provide an introduction to the atmospheric processes which govern the earth’s climate and which control the surface water fluxes of the hydrological cycle. The module starts with a synoptic overview of the earth’s energy budget as a major driver for planetary-scale motion and atmospheric instabilities.
  • This includes the issue of climate change, the possible reasons for climate change, and natural variability of climate. Subsequently, the processes behind rainfall generation are considered. Lastly global and regional climate models are introduced and their use in weather forecasts and climate change projections is discussed.
  • The module includes an excursion to the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts in Reading.

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing this course unit, students will be able to: 

  • Understand the origin and drivers of general circulation patterns and their relation to local and regional precipitation patterns.
  • Have an insight into short and medium range weather forecasting, long-term climate change projections, their downscaling, and their linking to impact models.
  • Understand methods for precipitation measurements, including rain gauges and radar.
  • Be familiar with emerging new technologies in meteorology, in particular remote sensing.

Module syllabus

  • The atmosphere and the global energy balance: radiative heat transfer, sensible and latent heat fluxes, global energy budget, longitudinal and seasonal variability, energy fluxes, atmospheric motion.
  • Atmospheric and planetary motion: energy transport, understanding the drivers of global atmospheric motion, location and mechanisms of the major global wind belts, basic concepts of general circulation in the atmosphere, and the role of oceans in the global energy cycle.
  • Atmospheric moisture and precipitation: atmospheric water storage, condensation and droplet formation, cloud development, rainfall formation and the role of ice. Precipitation mechanisms.
  • Global and regional climate models: principles and design of global circulation modelling; regional climate modelling and statistical weather generators.

No.

Topic

Staff

01

Atmosphere and the energy balance

WB

02

Atmospheric & planetary-scale motion

WB

03

Atmospheric moisture & precipitation (1)

WB

04

Atmospheric moisture & precipitation (2)

WB

05

Global climate change and modelling

WB

06

Precipitation measurements

WB

07

Remote sensing in meteorology

WB

Pre-requisites

Please note: This module cannot be taken with Business Management or Sustainable Development (suspended for entry 17/18).

Teaching methods

The course consists of 14 hours of lectures and a half-day excursion to ECMWF.

Assessments

The assessment of the module is by examination only.

Reading list

Core

Module leaders

Dr Wouter Buytaert