SHE Level 5
SCQF Credit Points 15.00
ECTS Credit Points 7.50
Module Code MMF726546
Module Leader Rohinton Emmanuel
School School of Computing, Engineering and Built Environment
Subject Civil Engineering and Environmental Management
  • B (January start)
  • C (May start)

Summary of Content

This course introduces students to the basic physical processes that are involved in creating our weather over very different time and length scales, laying special emphasis to the use of problem solving techniques. In addition, students are provided with simple tools to understand basic principles of weather forecasting, the different Earth climates, and climate change.


Outline Syllabus -360 1. ELEMENTS OF THE CLIMATE SYSTEM Differences between Weather and Climate; Atmospheric variables; How weather and climate affect us; Weather in a nutshell; Elements of the climate system; How to measure and observe present weather. 2. WEATHER SCIENCE FOUNDATIONS Electromagnetic radiation. Temperature, heat, and radiation heat transfer; The Sun and Earth radiation spectrum; The greenhouse effect; Geometric effects; Controls of temperature; Seasonal and daily temperatures. 3. THERMODYNAMICS OF NON-SATURATED AND SATURATED AIR Air as an ideal gas; Water vapor and humidity indexes; Thermodynamics of dry and non-saturated air; Adiabatic processes in the atmosphere; Atmospheric stability and vertical movement of air parcels; Saturation vapor pressure dependence with temperature; Condensation mechanisms in the atmosphere; Precipitation types; Fog and cloud classification; Thermodynamic diagrams. 4. ATMOSPHERIC DYNAMICS Atmospheric pressure variation; Pressure charts; Wind measurements; Forces that determine wind direction and speed; Geostrophic and gradient winds; Air masses and fronts; Cloud development; Storms and Thunderstorms (Cyclones, Hurricanes, and Tornadoes); SYNOP and METAR codes. 5. CIRCULATION PATTERNS Global atmospheric circulation: wind and current systems; Global patterns and Teleconnection Indexes: ENSO, NAO, etc; Seasonal wind systems: the Monsoons. 6. GLOBAL CLIMATE PATTERNS Terrestrial distribution of temperature; Natural temperature controls; Factors that influence climate: latitude, wind direction and speed, topography, altitude, geographical location; Climatic classification models; Kf6ppen-Geiger Climate Classification. 7. CLIMATE CHANGE History and evolution of the climate; Feedback mechanisms; Climate models; Natural and anthropogenic causes of global warming; Climate scenarios and IPCC assessment reports.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module the student should be able to demonstrate an understanding of:1. How the interplay of solar radiation, Earth characteristics, and astronomical factors determines the surface-atmosphere energy balance and the Earth climate distribution.2. How dry air thermodynamics explains the concept of atmospheric stability and its consequences.3. Water phase change phenomena and their implications in the atmospheric energy balance.4. The forces that guide the direction and speed of winds in local and global scales.5. The physical aspects that drive climate change.

Teaching / Learning Strategy

The delivery of this module will be through lectures, seminars, tutorials and practical classes and workshops. This mixed delivery approach will allow for a varied form of learning which is class room based, lab based as well as enabling opportunity for work based learning and independent learning. To aid with mobility of staff and students tutorial sessions could be given to an individual or small group via video conferencing. Exams and seminar presentations will be made through a remote learning platform and video conferencing.

Indicative Reading

Ahrens C.D. (2008) Meteorology Today. An introduction to weather, climate, and the environment, 7 th Edition. Pacific Grove, US :Brooks Cole Publishing Archer D. (2012) Global Warming: understanding the forecast, London: John Wiley & Sons. Hartmann D.L. (1994) Global Physical Climatology, New York: Academic Press. Lutgens, F.K. and Tarbuck E.J. (1998) The atmosphere, an introduction to meteorology, New Jersey: Prentice Hall. Salby M.L. (1996) Fundamentals of Atmospheric Physics, San Diego, CA: Academic Press. Saucier W.J. (1989) Principles of meteorological analysis, New York: Dover.

Transferrable Skills

-284 - Applying appropriate analytical skills (including mathematical methods); - Using effectively a wide range of IT tools, including general software and specialist packages; - Working effectively as part of a team; - Demonstrating a professional approach to time-management;

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Tutorials (FT) 52.00
Assessment (FT) 18.00
Lectures (FT) 26.00
Independent Learning (FT) 30.00
Seminars (FT) 24.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Course Work 01 n/a 40.00 45% Practical problem solving
Exam (Dept) 01 2.00 25.00 45% Internal exam 2 hours
Course Work 02 n/a 35.00 45% Multiple choice test in class