ATM S 551, Autumn Quarter 2012

Atmospheric Structure and Analysis


Professor Cliff Mass
612 Atmospheric Sciences Bldg., 685-0910

Lectures:  MWF, 2:30-3:20 PM, 610 ATG (MW), 310 ATG (F)

Reference Books and Materials That Will Be Referenced: 

Extratropical Cyclones: The Erik Palmen Memorial Volume
Synoptic-Dynamic Meteorology in Midlatitudes, H.B. Bluestein
The Life Cycle of Extratropical Cyclones:  Shapiro and Gronas
Handouts and recommended papers.

Evaluation: Lab work and homeworks 30%; midterm 35%, Final Exam 35%

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

PowerPoint Presentations found here.

Course Outline (may change):

Lecture Topics:

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

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. (Brief Review if Needed)

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

4. Three-dimensional structural evolution of midlatitude cyclones

a. Conceptual models of cyclone structural evolution. Norwegian cyclone model, split fronts, cold fronts aloft, etc.
b. Simulated structures and airflows.
c. Results from recent field experiments.
d. Modification of cyclone/frontal structures by orography and coastlines.

5. Cyclogenesis

a. PV view of cyclogenesis
b. Explosive cyclogenesis
c. Modal and non-modal development
d. Extratropical/tropical (ET) transition

6. Subsynoptic Systems

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

7.  Tools
  a.  Satellite imagery and interpretation
  b.  Advanced forecasting techniques