Course time and location: 12:30-1:45 pm TR, 304 Engineering.  Make-ups: Mondays, 3:00p – 4:15p, 304 Engineering; Wednesdays, 11:00a -12:15p, 111 Harvill. Dates of makeups TBA, in coordination with the semester schedule of all students.

Office hours: Immediately following class or by appointment.


Pielke, Sr., R.A., 2002. Mesoscale Meteorological Modeling.  Academic Press. 676 pp.

Stensrud, D.J., 2007.  Parameterization Schemes: Keys to Understanding Numerical Weather Prediction Models.  Cambridge, 459 pp.

Additional on-line notes from Professor Robert Fovell, SUNY Albany

Objective: This course provides an overview of mesoscale meteorological modeling, emphasizing limited area models.   Students are provided a framework for understanding limited area models commonly used in the atmospheric science community, either as numerical weather prediction models or regional climate models.  Topics include conservation equations of the atmosphere; methods of solution; boundary and initial conditions; coordinate systems; parameterization schemes; and model application and evaluation.  Particular emphasis will be placed on the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model, as this is used in the UA Department of Atmospheric Sciences.

Course Outline

1. Conservation equations of the atmosphere: basic conservation equations, simplification of basic equations and averaging, and linear models

2. Model dynamical core: finite differencing schemes, diagnostic equations, time splitting, and nonlinear effects

3. Boundary and Initial Conditions and Grid Structure: grid and domain structure, vertical coordinate systems, initialization, spatial boundary conditions

4. Parameterization Schemes: surface and planetary boundary layer, longwave and shortwave radiation, convection, cloud microphysics, land surface

5. Model Application and Evaluation: idealized simulations, numerical weather prediction, regional climate modeling, model validation, sensitivity analyses, ensembles

Grading: 60% of the grade is based on homework assignments, the bulk of which will focus on methods of solution.  These may also involve simple exercises with the WRF model (TBD).  10% of the grade is based on one in-class midterm (sections 1-3 of syllabus).  The remaining 30% of the grade is based on a student term project.  Term project proposal will be due approximately midway through the semester, and term projects will be due by the last class of the semester.  Project write-ups will be as articles written in AGU/AMS format and should include an introduction, methodological description, presentation of results, discussion, summary, and figures.  Students will also present their results in the form of a 10 to 15 minute oral presentation during approximately the last one to two weeks of the course, depending on course enrollment.

Course prerequisites: Atmospheric physics and thermodynamics; Atmospheric dynamics.Course will also require familiarity with computer programming (e.g. C or FORTRAN) and computer graphical display packages (e.g. GrADS, IDL, Matlab).  Prerequisites may be waived with permission of instructor.  Students will also need access to computing systems to use WRF or a similar model.