METR 4443/5443: Introduction to Tropical Meteorology

January 15, 2018
T R 1-215
METR 4443/5443


Naoko Sakaeda
Assistant Professor


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


Spring 2018

MET 4443/5443: Introduction to Tropical Meteorology

Spring 2018





Office Hours:


Dr. Naoko Sakaeda

NWC 5329

Every Monday/Wednesday 1pm-3pm or by appointment

No required textbooks


Course Meeting Time and Location: National Weather Center 5600

Every Tuesday and Thursday at 1:00pm-2:15pm


Recommended printed/online textbook (optional):


Course Prerequisite: Senior standing in Meteorology or permission of instructor for undergraduate students. Recommended (not required) prerequisites to be successful in this course are grades C or above in MATH 2934 (Physical Math I), METR 3113 (Atmospheric Dynamics II), and METR 3213 (Physical Meteorology I). No prerequisites for graduate students.


Course Description:

This course will provide an overview of the tropical general circulation, modes of variability in the tropical atmosphere and theories on their structure and dynamics. We will also discuss the role of the tropics on global circulation and limitation and challenges of our understanding and forecast skills of the tropical atmosphere.


Learning Outcomes/Objectives:

  1. To be able to explain the general role of tropics in the general circulation.
  2. To be able to identify modes of weather/climate variability in the tropics.
  3. To be able to use existing theories to explain and analyze the structure and variability of the tropical atmosphere.
  4. To be able to apply the gained knowledge of tropical atmosphere to identify research problems towards improving our understanding and forecast skills of the tropics.


Covered Topics (Tentative):

  • General circulation of the tropics: Hadley Cell, Walker Circulation, trade winds, ITCZ, monsoons
  • Role of tropics in global energy balance
  • Low-frequency (interannual) variability: El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO), Quasi-Biennial Oscillation (QBO), Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD)
  • Intraseasonal Variability: Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO)
  • Synoptic Variability: Convectively Coupled Equatorial Waves, African Easterly Waves
  • Mesoscale Convective Systems in the tropics
  • Diurnal and semi-diurnal cycle
  • Tropical cyclones



Homework 20% (4 assignments, 5% each)

Quizzes 20% (2 quizzes)

Midterm 20%

Final Exam 20%

Map and Paper Discussion 15%

Participation 5%

Final Grade: A ≥ 90%, B = 89-80%, C = 79-70%, D = 69-60%, F ≤ 60%

  • Scores towards final grades will be rounded up to the nearest integers.
  • The instructor may adjust grades depending on the difference between class and expected outcomes. However, it will never be adjusted downwards (i.e., an adjustment will never make your grade lower than the grade prior to an adjustment). When such adjustment is made, graduate and undergraduate students will be adjusted differently based on the mean or median of each group.


Map/Paper Discussion:

Students will form in groups of 2-3 and lead a 15-minutes discussion on one of following options to the class:

  1. Analysis and discussion of past or current weather/climate event in the tropics. Examples of such event can be “the 2017 hurricane season”, “2015-2016 El Nino event”, and “recent evolution and current state of the Madden Julian Oscillation”.
  2. Discussion of a selected research question related to the tropics based on literature reviews or your own analysis. Examples of such research questions can be “How would the activity of tropical cyclone change in the future?”, “How might the tropics influence polar weather/climate?”, and “How would the MJO influence extreme weather over North America?”.

The instructor will provide a demonstration and a specific rubric for this activity.


Class Policies:

  • You will never be permitted to use your notes, textbooks, calculators, or any other study aids on exams and quizzes.
  • Students enrolled in this course are all expected to attend and participate in class.
  • If you know you will not be able to attend a class for religious observances or official academic activities such as attending conferences, you are required to notify the instructor as early as possible.
  • Make-up exams and quizzes will not be given unless such prior notification has been made or except for an illness documented by a physician or a family emergency.
  • Homework is due in class at the beginning of class on the date specified. All homework assignments will be available to you at least one week prior to due date.
  • No late homework will be accepted except for an illness documented by a physician or a family emergency.
  • The instructor will use both power point presentations and whiteboard. Only the power point presentations will be available online after each class, which will mostly contain just figures and diagrams.


Reasonable Accommodation Policy:

If you have a disability that may prevent the full demonstration of your abilities in this course, please contact me personally as soon as possible so I can provide an appropriate contact to discuss accommodations necessary to ensure full participation and facilitate your educational opportunities. Students who require academic accommodation should also contact the Disability Resource Center for assistance. More information about the disability information and resources are found at


Academic misconduct:

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 Students’ Guide to Academic Integrity at All students are expected to be aware of what constitutes as academic misconducts.

All assignments, exams, and quizzes are opportunities for students to learn, and most learning can be achieved through hard work. Cheating and plagiarism are strictly prohibited at the University of Oklahoma, because it takes away your opportunities to learn. Students are encouraged to work together on homework assignments and class projects, but working together is not copying or letting others copy your products. All work should result from student’s own understanding and efforts. It is the instructor’s professional obligation to report academic misconduct. Sanctions for academic misconduct can include exclusion from the University and an F in this course, so it is simply not worth it.