Programming for Meteorology

August 21, 2017
T Tr 2:30-3:45
METR 1313.002


Fiedler, Brian
Professor Emeritus


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


Fall 2017

Primary instructor: Professor Brian Fiedler,, NWC 5636 (faster email:
MWF and TR Teaching Assistant: Martin Satrio


Class time
Section 1: 2:00 pm – 2:50 pm MWF National Weather Center 5720 August 21, 2017 – December 8, 2017
Section 2: 2:30 pm – 3:45 pm TR National Weather Center 5720 August 21, 2017 – December 8, 2017

Most of the class time is indistinguishable from a “help session”. Often class begins with mini-lecture (10 to 15
minutes), or a Q&A session: the instructor asks some questions and the students provide the answers. Hopefully class
is fun. Programming should be enjoyable.
There is NO Final Exam

7 programming projects, 10 points maximum each. Some of the projects are graded by “shoulder surfing” of the
instructor or TA. For the first two projects, there is an online “studio” to post your creative work, or, in the latter part
of the course, you will construct a personal website to display the results of your programs.
The final grades might be more lenient than the following scheme, but you won’t do worse than this:

total>=90% : A
80% <= total <90%: B
70% <= total <80%: C
60% <= total <70%: D
total<60% : F
Note the percentage listed in the above is: (total points)/70*100%

Students need to make timely progress with the course. One reason is that an appropriate topic for mini-lectures is
more obvious if the students are up to date. Secondly, students need to know if they are up to date. For the benefit of
the students: the following policy is enforced:
maximum points:
<= 1 class period late: 8
<= 1 week late: 7
<= end of semester: 6

Due Dates:

submit by 11:59pm on the Due Date:
1. Project #1 Friday September 8 Scratch
2. Project #2 Friday September 22 Trinket
3. Project #3 Friday October 6 SimpleData
4. Project #4 Friday October 20 SST
5. Project #5 Friday November 3 MesonetData
6. Project #6 Friday November 17 CRUTEM
7. Project #7 Friday December 8 GriddedData

Office hours
before and after class, or the class time of the alternative section
Other time can be arranged: In the past we have done Thursday 9-10 pm, at the base of Adams Center (Tower),
in or near the HLC. We can do something like this, as needed.

Textbook recommendations
There is no prescribed textbook. But if you want a Python book, you can read some of my opinions.

Hardware recommendations
At least 95% of past students have completed METR 1313 using their own Hardware. If you are not able to bring a laptop to class, you can often borrow one from the instructor. I have several for that purpose. Another option is to use the computers built into the desks of our classroon, NWC 5720. But you will need an account to use those. Go to Then in the upper right of that web page, click on the word FORMS and then the link SoM computing account. There is an online form to fill out. If granted an account, a password will be emailed to you.

In Fall 2017, we will start from the same place that Harvard University does:
We learn to program Scratch. We do this in addition to the official course description.

Here is what was advertised, and approved by the Academic Programs Council:
Connecting to server, the linux command line, the linux file system, basic linux commands, the linux text
editors, offering a file on the WWW.
A program as a script of sequential linux commands
Introduction to Python: numerical variables and values, arithmetic, loops, print statements, a simple Python
Python data structures: strings, lists, tuples, sets, dictionaries
control flow, booleans
searching and sorting
python plotting: matplotlib
simple python cgi scripts
arrays and numpy
working with simple files of data: text files and netCDF files