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. 
  • To give  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. 
  • To explain the synoptic and local processes that drive rainfall generation at different spatial and temporal scales. 
  • To introduce global and regional climate models and their use in weather forecasts and climate change projections.  

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. 
  • The module includes an excursion to the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) in Reading. 





Atmosphere and the energy balance 

Dr W. Buytaert 


Atmospheric & planetary-scale motion 

Dr W. Buytaert 


Atmospheric moisture & precipitation (1) 

Dr W. Buytaert 


Atmospheric moisture & precipitation (2)  

Dr W. Buytaert 


Global climate change and modelling 

Dr W. Buytaert 


Precipitation measurements 

Dr W. Buytaert 


Remote sensing in meteorology 

Dr W. Buytaert 


Half-day excursion to ECMWF 

Prof F. Pappenberger 

Teaching methods

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


Information will be provided separately.

Reading list

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Module leaders

Dr Wouter Buytaert