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Knowledge Expectations for METR 2023
Introduction to Meteorology II

Purpose: This document describes the principal concepts, technical skills, and fundamental
understanding that all students are expected to possess upon completing METR 2023,
Introduction to Meteorology II. Individual instructors may deviate somewhat from the specific
topics and order listed here.
Pre-requisites: Grade of C or better in MATH 2423, PHYS 2514, METR 2013, METR 2011 (or
2014), CS 1313 (or CS 1323)
Co-requisites: MATH 2433, PHYS 2524, METR 2021
Goal of the Course: The Introduction of Meteorology sequence introduces students to important
phenomena and physical processes that occur in the Earth’s atmosphere. Students will learn the
basic concepts and instruments used to study atmospheric problems. Part II of the Introduction
to Meteorology sequence focuses on atmospheric dynamics, wind systems of different origin and
scale, and thunderstorms. It also addresses boundary layer meteorology, air pollution,
forecasting, and climate change
Topical Knowledge Expectations
I. Atmospheric Dynamics
• Understand the physical meaning of force and Newton’s laws of motion.
• Be able to explain the difference between an inertial and a non-inertial reference
frame, and understand the consequences of each in applying Newton’s laws of
• Understand the difference between Lagrangian and Eulerian reference frames.
Understand how a total derivative (e.g., for momentum) can be related to a local
derivative and advection terms.
• Be familiar with the local time rate of change of temperature and the factors that
govern it.
• Understand the difference between effective gravity and the gravitational force.
• Understand pressure, its measurement, and how it can arise owing to thermodynamic
and dynamic effects.
• Understand why pressure coordinates are useful.
• Know which forces impact the wind field and be able to formulate the equations for
these forces. Know the difference between “real” and “apparent” forces.
• Understand physically what the balances are in geostrophic, gradient and
cyclostrophic flows. Be able to solve problems related to these flow types.
• Understand the influence of friction on atmospheric flows.
• Know how to draw force diagrams for idealized wind fields in both hemispheres
(with and without friction).
• Understand physically the concept of mass conservation and be able to apply the
continuity equation to quantitative atmospheric problems.