AOS 330: Physics of the Atmosphere and Ocean I

Catalog description

Course Description: Physical variables, laws, characteristics and direct measurements for atmosphere and ocean. Thermodynamics and moist atmospheric processes. Basic physics of clouds, precipitation, and chemical constituents.

Pre-Reqs: Physics 208 or concurrent registration and Math 234 or concurrent registration.


This course consists of two lecture hours  (traditionally MW) and one 2-hour lab period (F) per week. Most of the course closely follows my textbook,  A First Course in Atmospheric Thermodynamics.

The lab periods are used to introduce to students to basic meteorological measurements, analysis of atmospheric variables and stability on thermodynamic diagrams, and an abbreviated crash course in scientific programming using Python.

Notwithstanding the official catalog title and description (which should probably be updated), this course does not spend any time on ocean physics.  With only two lectures per week, there’s simply not time, nor do I have the background to teach in this area.

The grade for the course has historically been based on two midterms, each counting for 20% of the grade, and a cumulative final which will count for 30%. Problem sets and labs together count for 30% (equal weight).   Details are subject to change.