ATM S 551, Autumn Quarter 1998

Atmospheric Structure and Analysis I: Synoptic Scale Systems

Instructors: Professor Cliff Mass
612 Atmospheric Sciences Bldg., 685-0910
cliff@atmos.washington.edu
and
Dr. Lynn McMurdie
624 Atmospheric Sciences Bldg., 685-9405
mcmurdie@atmos.washington.edu

Lectures: MWF, 1:30 - 2:20PM, TH 1:30 - 3:20, 610 ATG

Textbook: Extratropical Cyclones: The Erik Palmen Memorial Volume, Handouts and Recommended Readings.

Evaluation: Lab work 1/3; Midterm and homework 1/3; Final Exam 1/3.

Equipment: 3 #2 pencils; colored pencils (red, blue, green and purple); good large eraser.

Course Outline:

Lecture Topics:

1. Overview: Evolving ideas regarding cyclone and frontal structure/dynamics

2. Fronts and frontogenesis

a. Basic frontal relationships and dynamics. Zero and first order fronts.
b. The frontogenetical equation.
c. Secondary circulations: the Sawyer-Eliassen equation.
d. Observations of fronts and frontogenesis.
e. Theory and modeling of frontogenesis.
f. Upper-level fronts.

3. Diagnosis of synoptic systems.

a. Quasi-geostrophic w-equation, Q-vectors, and Sutcliffe/Pettersen/Trenberth approaches
b. Advanced satellite interpretation.
c. Jet streak theory and application.

4. Three-dimensional structural evolution of midlatitude cyclones

a. Conceptual models of cyclone structural evolution.
b. Simulated structures and airflows.
c. Results from recent field experiments.
d. Modification of cyclone/frontal structures by orography and coastlines.

5. Cyclogenesis

a. Peterssen A and B development
b. PV view of cyclogenesis
c. Modal and non-modal development
d. Explosive cyclogenesis

6. Subsynoptic Systems

a. Polar lows and comma clouds
b. Symmetric instability and banded structures.

Laboratory exercises will be an integral part of this course. Interactive software will be used to examine the dynamics and structures of 2-3 events, including the Inauguration Day Storm and the March 1993 "Storm of the Century." Students will become familiar with surface and upper air analysis techniques and advanced staellite /radar interpretation.

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