Knowledge Expectations for METR 4433
Purpose: This document describes the principal concepts, technical skills, and fundamental
understanding that all students are expected to possess upon completing METR 4433 Mesoscale
Meteorology. Individual instructors may deviate somewhat from the specific topics and order
Pre-requisites: Grade of C or better in METR 4133, METR 4424.
Students should have a good understanding of the structure, dynamics, physics and thermodynamics of
the atmosphere prior to starting this course.
Goal of the Course: This course teaches the structure and dynamics of convective and mesoscale
phenomena, including mesoscale convective systems, severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, low-level jets,
mountain waves and hurricanes. For most of these phenomena, the course discusses their general
behaviors and characteristics, the dynamics of their formation and development, and the types of
weather and hazards they produce, and in some cases their prediction. Specific topics and expected
knowledge and understanding by the students after taking the course are given below.
1. Scale analysis and definition of scales
• Be able to perform scale analysis on the atmospheric equations of motion. Know the typical
magnitude and relative importance of terms in the equations for the corresponding scales.
• Know the methods for categorizing atmospheric motion into various scales, and the general
characteristics of such motion.
2. Dryline and mesoscale low-level jet
• Know the definition, spatial structure, and climatology of dryline. Understand the physical
processes responsible for the formation and movement of dryline and the role of dryline in
• Know the definition and climatology of mesoscale low-level jet, and its role in moisture and heat
transport in precipitating events. Understand the theories on the formation of nocturnal low-level
4. Convection, single-cell storms and microburst
• Know the basic types of convective storms and their key characteristics, including their
morphology, typical weather, and life cycles.
• Know the forces responsible for initiation, enhancement and suppression of the storms. Be able
to apply the parcel theory to single cell storm development and estimate the maximum updraft speed
based on environmental CAPE.
• Know the definitions, key features and hazard, and the conceptual model and life cycle of
downbursts/microbursts. Know how they affect aircraft during takeoff and landing.
5. Organized convective systems, including multicell storms, squall lines and mesoscale convective
• For multicell storms, know the ways by which multicell storms propagate. Understand the dynamic
processes responsible for cell regeneration and its period.
• Know the source of cold pool in convective storms, understand its propagation along the ground
in the form of density currents. Be able to derive and interpret the equation of cold pool
/ density current propagation and understand how cold pool propagation affects storm motion.