Mathematics

MTH3001 - Theory of Weather and Climate (2019)

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MODULE TITLETheory of Weather and Climate CREDIT VALUE15
MODULE CODEMTH3001 MODULE CONVENERDr Tim Jupp (Coordinator)
DURATION: TERM 1 2 3
DURATION: WEEKS 0 11 0
Number of Students Taking Module (anticipated) 61
DESCRIPTION - summary of the module content

This module is designed to give you an overview of the key physical processes determining the behaviour of the Earth's atmosphere. An informative subtitle might be climate physics for the mathematically literate. Topics covered will include radiative energy transfer, the structure, motion and thermodynamics of the atmosphere, the surface energy balance, and the main components of the general circulation (Hadley cells, Walker cells, jet streams etc.). The emphasis, where possible, will be on simple analytical models for commonly observed phenomena and on the development of physical intuition.

Prerequisite module: MTH3007, or equivalent

AIMS - intentions of the module

By the end of this module, you will have an understanding of the basic physics of the Earth’s climate, and will comprehend the structure and principal circulations of the atmosphere and the ocean.

INTENDED LEARNING OUTCOMES (ILOs) (see assessment section below for how ILOs will be assessed)

On successful completion of this module, you should be able to:

Module Specific Skills and Knowledge:

1 Appreciate how mathematics can be used to understand the physics of weather and climate;

2 Comprehend the physics responsible for the general circulation;

3 Understand in detail radiation, dynamics and atmospheric thermodynamics;

4 Demonstrate a familiarity with the terminology and physical mechanisms of common meteorological phenomena;

Discipline Specific Skills and Knowledge:

5 Understand the role of mathematical modelling in real-life situations;

6 Recognise how many aspects of applied mathematics learned in earlier modules have practical issues;

7 Develop expertise in using analytical and numerical techniques to explore mathematical models;

8 Formulate simple models;

9 Study adeptly the resulting equations and draw conclusions about likely behaviours;

Personal and Key Transferable / Employment Skills and Knowledge:

10 Display enhanced numerical and computational skills via the suite of practical exercises that accompany the formal lecture work;

11 Show enhanced literature searching and library skills in order to investigate various phenomena discussed;

12 Demonstrate enhanced time management and organisational abilities.

SYLLABUS PLAN - summary of the structure and academic content of the module

- Motivation: the observed state of the atmosphere

- Planetary scale energy balance (for planets with and without atmospheres)

- Surface energy balance

- Vertical structure and thermodynamics (dry and moist) of the atmosphere

- Rotating fluid dynamics: (Geostrophic flow, the thermal wind, Ekman transport, Potential vorticity and quasi-geostrophic potential vorticity)

- Waves (Plane waves. Shallow water theory. Inertial, Kelvin, Rossby and buoyancy waves)

- Instability (barotropic via Rayleigh and Fjortoft theorems, baroclinic via the Eady model)

- Wind-driven circulation in the ocean (Ekman spirals, Ekman pumping)

- Recap of how the theory above explains surface pressure maps, the jet stream, frontogenesis, Hadley and Walker cells etc.

LEARNING AND TEACHING
LEARNING ACTIVITIES AND TEACHING METHODS (given in hours of study time)
Scheduled Learning & Teaching Activities 33.00 Guided Independent Study 117.00 Placement / Study Abroad 0.00
DETAILS OF LEARNING ACTIVITIES AND TEACHING METHODS
Category Hours of study time Description
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities 33 Lectures
Guided Independent Study 117 Assessment preparation, wider reading

 

ASSESSMENT
FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT - for feedback and development purposes; does not count towards module grade
Form of Assessment Size of Assessment (e.g. duration/length) ILOs Assessed Feedback Method
Two Coursework Sheets 15 hours All Feedback sheet and oral feedback during lecturer office hour

 

SUMMATIVE ASSESSMENT (% of credit)
Coursework 20 Written Exams 80 Practical Exams 0
DETAILS OF SUMMATIVE ASSESSMENT
Form of Assessment % of Credit Size of Assessment (e.g. duration/length) ILOs Assessed Feedback Method
Coursework – based on questions submitted for assessment 20 2 assignments, 30 hours total All Annotated script and written/verbal feedback
Written Exam - Closed Book 80 2 hours All Written/verbal on request, SRS

 

DETAILS OF RE-ASSESSMENT (where required by referral or deferral)
Original Form of Assessment Form of Re-assessment ILOs Re-assessed Time Scale for Re-assessment
All above Written Exam (100%) All August Ref/Def Period

 

RE-ASSESSMENT NOTES
RESOURCES
INDICATIVE LEARNING RESOURCES - The following list is offered as an indication of the type & level of
information that you are expected to consult. Further guidance will be provided by the Module Convener

Basic reading:

ELE: http://vle.exeter.ac.uk/

 

Reading list for this module:

Type Author Title Edition Publisher Year ISBN Search
Set Holton, J.R. An Introduction to Dynamic Meteorology 4th Academic Press 2012 978-0123848666 [Library]
Set Houghton, J.T. The Physics of Atmospheres 3rd Cambridge University Press 2002 978-0521011228 [Library]
Set Peixoto, J.P. and Oort, A.H. Physics of Climate American Institute of Physics 1997 978-0883187128 [Library]
Set Marshall, J. and Plumb, R.A. An Introduction to Dynamic Meteorology Academic Press 2004 [Library]
Set Dunlop, S. A Dictionary of Weather New Edition Oxford University Press 2005 978-0198610496 [Library]
Set Ambaum, M.H.P. Thermal Physics of the Atmosphere 1st Wiley-Blackwell 2010 978-047074151 [Library]
CREDIT VALUE 15 ECTS VALUE 7.5
PRE-REQUISITE MODULES MTH3007
CO-REQUISITE MODULES
NQF LEVEL (FHEQ) 6 AVAILABLE AS DISTANCE LEARNING No
ORIGIN DATE Tuesday 10 July 2018 LAST REVISION DATE Friday 30 August 2019
KEY WORDS SEARCH None Defined