Home: ATM S 361

Course Outline and Readings

HW Assignments

Student Learning Goals

Grading Policy 

Powerpoints and Other Resources

Current Weather Maps and Data

Helpful Forecasting Sites, Models and Data

Atmospheric Sciences 361: Media & Meteorology
Winter 2020


Shannon O’Donnell (primary instructor) | sodonnell@atmos.washington.edu
618 ATG (Atmospheric Sciences & Geophysics building)

Lead meteorologist at KOMO-TV with 20 years of broadcast experience.

Clifford F Mass  (secondary instructor)  cmass @uw.edu

Professor of Atmospheric Sciences, with a decade of blogging and public radio experience

Office hours by appointment
Email questions welcome at all times

Why Take this Course?

Effective communication of weather and environmental information is crucial for protecting society and allowing people to optimize their daily lives.  Changing technology has provided an extraordinary range of communication approaches, from weather segments on television and radio, to blogs, tweets and a range of web sites.  Environmental information is now available through broadcast, online, and mobile media.   This class will provide hands-on experience with all these communication channels, allowing the student not only to master these technologies but to gain experience and skill in communicating environmental information. 

Each student will learn how to construct and provide an on-air broadcast-quality presentation using professional-level equipment and to master the use social media to effectively communicate to an online audience.   An exciting aspect of the class will be the development of innovative new online communication tools, such as providing real-time weather forecasts over the web or mobile devices.

Students taking this class will not only learn the techniques and technologies of media and online communication, but to develop valuable skills in presentation and in succinctly communicating complex concepts that will serve them during their careers.

Student  Learning  Goals:

In  this  course,  students  will:

  Become familiar with  interpreting  forecasting  models

  Develop a basic  understanding  of  synoptic  and  mesoscale  meteorology

  Learn how to prepare  and  deliver  a  forecast  for  broadcasting  purposes,  and how  to  best disseminate  crucial weather information  to  the  public  in  a  timely  manner

  Improve writing  skills  by  constructing  informative  weather  blogs

  Gain exposure  to  various  careers  in  weather  communication

  Class Project:  Create  a  UW  Atmospheric  Sciences  broadcasting  web  page  and  social media  handles  with  which  to  deliver a  localized  forecast  to  the  University  of  Washington community


No required textbook but the following book is highly recommended and will greatly aid in understanding course material:

The AMS Weather Book: The Ultimate Guide to America’s Weather, By Jack Williams

The Weather of The Pacific Northwest, By Clifford Mass

Mountain  Weather: Backcountry Forecasting for Hikers, Campers, Climbers, Skiers,  Snowboarders (Mountaineers  Outdoor  Basics) and Northwest  Marine  Weather: From Columbia to Cape Scott, both By Jeff Renner

Class Schedule:

Sessions: Mon/Wed/Fri 10:30AM-11:20 ATG 627 (The Broadcast Lounge)


Atmospheric Sciences 101 or 301, or permission from instructor.