Forecasting Severe Convection

August 21, 2017
T 9:00-11:00
METR 4970.100



National Weather Center, Room 5720, 120 David L. Boren Blvd, Norman, OK   View map


Fall 2017


Application of Diagnostic and Model Data for Forecasting Severe Convection

Fall 2017

9:00-11:00 am Tuesdays, Aug 22 – Oct 17, 2017 (no class Sep 26)

 InstructorDavid Imy


Office hoursBy appointment

Course description:

The course emphasis is on expanding hand analysis skills of surface and upper air charts, with a goal of visualizing the pre-convective environment and basic meteorological processes. The student will develop a conceptual model of the existing environment, along with other diagnostic weather data and specific guidance from numerical weather prediction models, to create SPC-like Convective Severe Weather Outlooks by the end of the class.

Course web site: (log on using your OU e-mail and password)

Primary Learning Objectives for the Course:

  • Develop skills in analyzing maps and diagnosing the atmosphere.
  • Use diagnostic weather information and specific guidance from Numerical Weather Prediction models to create SPC-like Convective Severe Weather Outlooks.

Format of the Course:

This class is more of a lab than a traditional class. The class will meet 2 hours a week each of the first 9 weeks of the fall semester, except Sep 26th  (last class is Tue Oct 17, 2016).  Approximatley half of the class time will be spent on lecture, developing and reinforcing the basic meteorological understanding needed for the operational forecast process. The topics covered include: identifying surface boundaries, pressure changes, low level confluence/ upper level diffluence, upper troughs, instability, shear, thickness, Quantitative Precipitation Forecasts (QPF), and SPC Outlooks. The other half of the class time will be dedicated to analyzing maps and developing techniques for evaluating the severe weather threat. The last two classes consist of creating SPC-like Convective Severe Weather Outlooks. There will be no additional assignments outside of the class, though the in-class assignments may require an additional 1 to 3 hours of work per week outside of class to complete. Grades are from weekly assignments and Severe Weather Convective Outlooks issued Weeks 7 and 8.


Week 1  –   Surface Map Analysis                                –  10%

Week 2  –   Surface and Upper Map Analysis              –  10%

Week 3  –   Surface and Upper Map Analysis              –  10%

Week 4  –   Analyze surface and 500 mb chart            –  10%

Week 5  –   Severe Weather Exercises                        –   10%

Week 6  –   Determine Severe Threat Area                  –  10%

Week 7  –   Day 2 Outlook Exercise                             –  15%

Week 8  –   Day 1 Outlook  – Final Exam                      –  25%

Tentative topics:

DateTopicIn class assignment
Week 1Winds

Surface Analysis and Boundaries

Analyze surface maps


Week 2Isallobar Wind Effects

Diurnal Surface Pressure Changes

Incorporating Meteorology into Upper Air Charts

Analyze surface and upper air  maps


Week 3 Jet Stream and Upper Troughs

Surface Pressure Changes

Incorporating Meteorology into Upper Air  Analysis (continued)

Analyze surface and upper air maps


Week 4 Vertical Soundings


Low and Deep Layer Shear

Analyze upper air maps.
Week 5 1000-500 mb Thickness

Model QPF

Water Vapor Imagery

Severe weather evaluation exercise.
Week 6SPC Supercell Composite Parameter (SCP)

SPC Significant Tornado Parameter (STP)

Composite Charts

Analyze surface maps and use in conjunction with other data to determine if and where a severe threat exists.
Week 7 Storm-Scaled Models

SPC Convective Outlooks

Create an SPC-like Day 2 Severe Weather Outlook
Week 8Final ExamCreate an SPC-like Day 1 Severe Weather Day  Outlook

Important Policies:

Reasonable Accommodation:  The University of Oklahoma is committed to providing reasonable accommodation for all students with disabilities.  Students with disabilities who require accommodation in this course are requested to speak with me as early in the semester as possible.  Students with disabilities must be registered with the Office of Disability Services prior to receiving accommodations in this course.  The Office of Disability Services is located in Goddard Health Center, Suite 166, phone 325-3852 or TDD only 325-4173.

Academic Misconduct:  All provisions of the Norman Campus Academic Misconduct Code shall apply in cases of academic dishonesty.  Any violation of the Academic Misconduct Code will result in your removal from this course, and a grade of F will be recorded for the course.  Academic misconduct is defined as “any act that improperly affects the evaluation of a student’s academic performance or achievement.”  At the University of Oklahoma, academic integrity is expected from each student.  Misconduct such as plagiarism, fabrication, and fraud, as well as attempting to commit such acts or assisting others in doing so, will not be tolerated.  Students are responsible for knowing the OU Academic Conduct Code, which can be found at and