METR 3223: Cloud Physics, Atmospheric Electricity and Optics

January 15, 2018
MWF 9:00-9:50
METR 3223


Guifu Zhang


120 David L Boren Blvd., Room 5600, Norman, OK 73072   View map


Spring 2018

METR 3223: Physical Meteorology II:
Cloud Physics, Atmospheric Electricity and Optics
Spring, 2018

Instructor: Dr. Guifu Zhang

Office: NWC-4620


Phone: (405) 325-3507

Office Hours: Monday and Wednesday 10:00am-noon, or drop by

Learning Management System:

Course Meeting Time and Location:

CLASS: Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 9:00-9:50am National Weather Center, Rm. 5600

Course Description:

This course provides fundamentals and principles for understanding of the physical states and processes of clouds and precipitation as well as atmospheric electricity and optics. Specific topics that will be covered are as follows:

Cloud physics:

Review of thermodynamics Aerosols and nucleation Condensation growth Collision and coalescence Precipitation processes

In-situ measurements and results Radar observation and estimation

Atmospheric electricity:

Electrostatics Electromagnetic wave Thunderstorm charging Lightening

Atmospheric optics:

Reflection and refraction Optical phenomena

Course Goals:

This course provides an overview of cloud and precipitation processes including: the role of aerosols in cloud droplet and ice nucleation; development and application of the Clausius-Clapeyron equation for phase changes; the transformation of cloud particles into rain, snow, and hail by diffusion, collision and coalescence, and aggregation; fundamentals of cloud microphysics parameterization; cloud electrification and lightning; optical phenomena, and basic understanding of weather radars.

Learning Outcomes:

Students are expected to understand and use the physical meanings of state parameters, and the relationship between physical states and processes in the atmosphere. Skills obtained from the course will be assessed through homework assignments, quizzes, and examinations.

Texts and Materials:


Rogers and Yau: A Short Course in Cloud Physics, Third Edition


Wallace and Hobbs, Atmospheric Science, Second Edition

Fleagle and Businger, An Introduction to Atmospheric Physics, Second Edition

Teaching Philosophy:

I believe that teaching at all levels has the common goals of disseminating knowledge and training students to use their knowledge to improve society. With each step forward in a student’s education, the ability to balance various aspects of their studies becomes more and more important until, at the college level, it is not merely an advantage, but a necessity. As such, in this class, we’ll emphasize several balances: those between physical concepts and mathematical derivations, between theory and experimentation, between learning and thinking, between thinking and doing, between attending classes and doing assignments.


Consider telling students what you expect them to do, both in class and outside of class. Although some expectations may seem self-evident, you are more likely to have students meet your expectations when you state them explicitly. Students have a better chance of being successful when they know precisely what you expect. Instructors usually include their expectations regarding attendance, class workload, when students should complete the assigned readings, and participation.

Final Grade:

Homework problems (after every chapter):                            20%

Quizzes (every two chapters):                                                 10%

Midterm examination (3nd week of March):                            30%

Final examination (5/8/2018, 8am-10am):                              40%

Academic Integrity

 Cheating is strictly prohibited at the University of Oklahoma, because it devalues the degree you are working hard to get. As a member of the OU community it is your responsibility to protect your educational investment by knowing and following the rules. For specific definitions on what constitutes cheating, review the Student’s Guide to Academic Integrity at To be successful in this class, all work on exams and quizzes must be yours and yours alone.