Syllabus
Spring 2009 Department of Geosciences

METR 201:

Physical Processes in the Atmosphere

Part 2

Lecture: Wed 10:10-12:00,
Lab: Fri 10:10-1:00

604 Thornton Hall

Prerequisites: METR 200
Credit: Three semester units.
Text: Recommended: Meteorology, 2nd Ed., 2002, Danielson, Levin, and Abrams
Home Page:
http://funnel.sfsu.edu/courses/metr201/
Instructor: John Monteverdi, Prof. of Meteorology
Office: 613 Thornton Hall
Office hours: TTh 9-10; W 8-9, many hours by appt.
Phone: 338-7728
E-mail: montever@sfsu.edu

Course Objectives.
METR 201 and its prequel, METR 200, are designed to meet the general objectives outlined in Dave Dempsey's syllabus. Beyond that, my portion of Metr 201 is designed to meet the following learning objectives:
  1. simultaneously "fill in" some of the "small picture" concepts and background needed to understand weather systems AND continuously provide the context that will allow students to see the "big picture" (i.e., general circulation of the atmosphere);

  2. introduce students to subjective and objective sounding and chart interpretation and analyses in support of actual weather "operations";

  3. introduce students to aspects of the synoptic and sub-synoptic scale atmosphere, including three-dimensional structure of wave cyclones, and severe thunderstorms;

  4. show students that the physical laws needed to explain the behavior of fluids can be used to understand both meteorological and oceanographic circulation systems.

  5. show students how scientists use physical (mathematical) and conceptual models to understand (and forecast) the evolution of weather systems at different scales.

  6. encourage an adeptness and self-reliance in each student, so that he/she is able to use products, analyses and charts available on the web in order to assess weather systems and their evolution on their own.

METR 201 occasionally takes a quantitative approach to the subject, so we recommend that you bring an inexpensive calculator to class.

Class Attendance and Participation. We consider regular class attendance essential to your success and we strongly encourage you to interact with the faculty and the other students. I use a modified "inquiry-based" approach. This means I may be running with some interesting weather event that occurs in real-time and showing how what you have learned in Drs. Dempsey's, Garcia's and Janssen's porttions of Metr 200/201 can be applied in understanding that event. And, more frequently, allowing the given weather event to "divert" the sequence of course material into a different set of explorations so that you can understand it.

Topics Covered. In Dr. Monteverdi's portion of the class, topics to be covered correspond roughly to those in Chapters 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and possibly 12 and 13, in the text, Meteorology, 2nd Ed, 2002, by Danielson, Levin, and Abrams. Additional material not covered in the text will also be introduced.

Topics likely to be covered include:

Exams, Assignments, and Grades. Two faculty members (Drs. Dempsey and Monteverdi) teach METR 201, and the work you do for each will contribute 50% to your final grade. In my portion of the class, the contributions to your overall score will be determined as follows:

Assignments/Quizzes Contribution to Overall Score
Weekly Homework Problems (5-6 total; lowest dropped) (All work will be returned on Friday 15 May, as well as the grade for John Monteverdi's portion of the class) 40%
Weekly Quizzes (5-6 total; lowest dropped (All work will be returned on Friday 15 May, as well as the grade for John Monteverdi's portion of the class) 50%
Quality of in-Class Participation (Presence and Engagement With Class, Enthusiastic Participation in Discussions) 10%

Please note that there will be NO makeups allowed for Quizzes and Homeworks. However, should illness or other emergencies prevent you from taking a quiz or turning in the homework, you need to contact me BEFORE the due date or the quiz time.


Dave Dempsey and I will aim to grade on an absolute scale:

90—100% A's
80—89.9% B's
70—79.9% C's
60—69.9% D's
below 60% Never mind

However, if for some reason the assignments seem too difficult for the class, We reserve the right to grade on a curve instead, which should effectively raise the grade for many people.