Introduction to Tropical Meteorology

January 17, 2017
TR 1:00-2:15
METR 4443.001


Leslie, Lance
​Professor Emeritus


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


Spring 2017


Time: Tuesday and Thursday 1:00-2:15
Room: NWC 5600
Instructor: Leslie

1. Introduction
– What are the tropics? Possible definitions.
– Why study the tropics separately?
– Overview of the tropics. Examples of the main tropical circulations on both weather and climate

2. Governing Equations
– Simple “models” of the tropics, including 1-D model
– Governing equations for the tropics: Momentum, mass, heat, moisture and other “tracers”, energy,
– Forcing terms in the tropics: convection, turbulent transfer, radiation and clouds, wind
(oceans), etc.
– Scale analysis in the tropics.

3. Linearization of the Governing Equations
– Derivation of the linearized equations.
– Equatorial Waves I: Normal (Free) modes.
– Equatorial Waves II: Forced modes (e.g. by diabatic heating, wind stress, radiative cooling,

4. Tropical Weather Systems
– Convective systems: monsoons, trade winds, ITCZ, cloud clusters; squall lines, MCSs, solitary
waves, diurnal effects, etc.
– Easterly waves: what are they and how do they form?

5. Tropical Cyclones
– TC motion: environmental steering and beta drift.

– Current theories of TC structure.
– Modeling of tropical cyclones: operations and research.
– Tropical cyclones in past, present and possible future climates.

6. Dynamics of Tropical Climate Systems I:
– The general circulation: Trade Winds, ITCZ; Hadley Circulation; Walker Circulation; Monsoons.

7. Dynamics of Tropical Climate Systems II:
– Tropical oscillations: ENSO, QBO, PDO, IOD, MJO
– Teleconnections: Theory and examples.

8. Climate Models:
– What are they? How well do they model the tropics compared with the extra-tropics?
– Examples of current and future climate simulations with simple and complex coupled models.
– Wavelet and other methods of evaluating model performance.

9. Predictability of/in the Tropics
– What is it, and how is it measured? Methods for predictability estimation in the tropics.
Examples of predictability.
– Tropical-extratropical interactions.
Course Text: No formal course text. Lecture notes and other
references will be provided in class. However, a useful book is:
Holton, J. R., An Introduction to Dynamic Meteorology.