Knowledge Expectations for METR 4424
Synoptic Meteorology Laboratory
Purpose: This document describes the principal concepts, technical skills, and fundamental
understanding that all students are expected to possess upon completion of METR 4424, Synoptic
Meteorology Laboratory. Individual instructors may deviate somewhat from the specific topics and
order listed here.
Pre-requisites: Grade of C or better in METR 3123, METR 3223.
Students should have a basic understanding of the structure, physics, dynamics and thermodynamics
of the atmosphere prior to starting this course.
Goal of the Course: This course is a lecture/laboratory course designed to provide students with an
in-depth physical understanding of atmospheric principles. Students will be expected to explain
theoretical concepts in an oral and written format. They also will be expected to demonstrate a
mastery in understanding various physical processes that impact weather analysis and forecasting,
surface and upper air analysis, fronts and wave cyclones, satellite meteorology, sounding analysis,
thermodynamic diagram, cross sections, forecasting, NCEP models, MOS, radar meteorology, and severe
spring and winter weather. Oral and written communications skills are emphasized.
Topical Knowledge Expectations
I. Synoptic Meteorology Concepts.
• Understand the three dimensional nature of fronts using the wave cyclone model, conveyor belts,
and isentropic analysis.
• Understand the concepts of temperature and vorticity advection.
• Understand the concept of the thermal wind relationship and apply the knowledge gained to
understand the development, structure, and impact of jet streaks.
• Understand the impact of latent heat release on atmospheric processes including the rapid
intensification of cyclones and the structure of mesoscale convective systems.
• Using Quasi-Geostrophic theory, understand the relationships between the advection of temperature
and vorticity with vertical motion and structure of the atmosphere.
• Understand the relationship between synoptic scale atmospheric processes and outbreaks of severe
• Be able to synthesize knowledge gained in METR 4424 to understand the four dimensional nature
of the atmosphere and forecast synoptic scale weather conditions.
II. Synoptic Meteorology Tools
• Be able to use the thermodynamic diagram in conjunction with observed profiles of temperature,
humidity, wind speed, and wind direction to diagnose the vertical structure of the atmosphere in
relation to specific weather phenomena.
• Understand the basic concepts associated with analyses of surface and upper air charts.