ATMS 360 Homework and Course Deliverables (return to main page)
[How to write lab report]

Assignment 7
Lapse rates in Reno.

The goal is to become familiar with near surface weather station data and its importance.
Another goal is to practice writing lab reports.

We will compare and contrast temperature inversions in the first 150 meters of the atmosphere above the surface in the month of August 2020 with February 2020.
We will do the analysis in class for February 2020 and August 2020 will be done as homework.
It will be good to do the August 2020 analysis immediately after we do the February 2020 analysis in class.

We will obtain and use data from the UNR and Desert Research Institute (DRI) weather stations and discuss how to do so.
DRI is close to TMCC and the National Weather Service office, north east of UNR.

We will use time series and/or scatter plots of relevant meteorological data (wind speed, solar and IR radiation, etc) that helps
explain inversions.

Calculate the average fraction of the day for inversions during these months.
Prepare and discuss the histogram of temperature inversion.
Your discussion could include a comparison of the histogram for February 2020 that we will work on in class.

1. Google Earth image showing the location of the DRI and UNR weather stations and the overall sense of topography.
The GPS coordinates of the sites are in the table below under site description.
Here's a calculator to convert from minutes and seconds to decimal degrees for the DRI site.
2. Time series overlay graphs for UNR and DRI for temperature and pressure that scope the data. (August 2020 data)
3. Diurnally averaged overlay graphs for UNR to see what an average day looks like (August 2020 data) [pressure:wind, pressure:solar, wind:solar, temperature:solar, lapse rate:solar] Here's an example from February 2020.
4. Time series graph of lapse rate calculated from the UNR and DRI weather station data. (August 2020 data).
5 Histograms of lapse rate for February 2020 and August 2020 to facilitate comparison.
6. Use lab report format.

Install Google Earth, or use it with a browser.
Install Excel and Microsoft Word.
Install the Endnote plugin into Microsoft Word to use in managing your references, and use of Web Of Science to obtain them.
Automated weather station discussion and one company that sells them.
Presentation discussing a common type of temperature sensor element, thermistors.
Aerosol pollution in Reno during 2020 to get a feel for seasonality and special events, like the massive wild fires we had in 2020. Image and spreadsheet versions.
Archived meteorological data for use in understanding specific events.
Reno as a valley subject to cold pools.
Lapse rate definition.
Notes for assignment 7 (OneNote format).

All of the Western Regional Climate Center Weather Sites click here  
UNR Weather Station on Valley Road

click here
Accurate Coordinates:
39.53918 N, 119.80476 W

Photograph and Video

click here
DRI Weather Station

click here
39.57083 N, 119.235 W

click here
Slide Mountain Weather Station click here click here

Assignment 6

The goal is to develop skill in working with meteorological radar data.
This assignment works with precipitation and Doppler data from NEXRAD radar.
Practice giving presentations of meteorological data.

1. Presentation turned in through webCampus. (50 points possible)
2. Present your presentation to the class. (50 points possible)

Choose a specific radar for your study. Here's where you choose the radar.
Try to choose a radar location and time that is unique.
You can look over the composite radar data throughout the country to get an idea of where and when to choose a location.
Find the coordinates of your radar.

Presentation Contents:
1. Put your radar coordinates into Google Earth and make an image of the location of the radar.
2. Get a GIF movie of at least 6 images of base reflectivity data from your radar a day when precipitation is present.
3. Get a base velocity image (or GIF movie) of base velocity for the same time.

In your presentation:
Discuss the location of your radar, in particular, any challenges that come about due to location.
Discuss the dbZ level of your base reflectivity image. Is it large or small?
Discuss your base velocity image, interpreting wind direction and speed.
You can add other related meteorological data to enhance your presentation.

Install Google Earth, or use it with a browser.
Install Powerpoint or use it from a browser, or use Google Docs, or Pages on the Mac.
It may be useful to also explore the National Weather Service radar site.



Assignment 5

The goal of this quick-study style lab is to become familiar with meteorological radar used to detect precipitation.
Examples are on this page for composite reflectivity
and for the Reno NWS dual polarization radar measurements.
Example of Doppler image for Des Moines Iowa.

Submission is through webcampus.. Copy these questions to MS word and work on them.
Be sure to give your sources for answers. We'll go through this in class.

1. What diameter range are raindrops?
2. What is the shape of raindrops?
3. Why don't raindrops get arbitrarily large?

Local Rain Measurements:
4. What is the rainfall rate equation?
5. How does a simple rain gauge work?
6. How does a tipping bucket rain gauge measure rain?
7. How does a disdrometer work?

Weather Radar.
Weather radar presentation as powerpoint and as a pdf document for understanding radar and dbZ.

8. What is the name of weather radars used by the National Weather Service?
9. What wavelength range used by this radar?
10. Briefly, how does radar work to measure rain?
11. Calculate the size parameter x=2 pi * Raindrop Radius / radar wavelength.
12. What 'radiation regime' is the size parameter of equation 11? Note that it is the same radiation regime that gives rise to the blue sky on a clear day. Note.
13. What is the basic relationship for radar backscattering in terms of number of raindrops per volume, back scattering strength, droplet diameter D, and radar wavelength lambda? Note.
14. Why must the radar be empirically calibrated given question 13, and question 4?
15. How does Doppler radar work? What can be detected with it?
16. How does dual polarization radar work, and what can be detected with it?


National Weather Service discussion of weather radar.
Understanding radar discussion from the weather underground.


Assignment 4
Online (see webCampus) precipitation estimates.

Purpose: Become familiar with precipitation estimate measurements.

Assignment 3 Online (see webCampus) measurement of atmospheric temperature.

Purpose: Become familiar with atmospheric temperature measurements.

Assignment 2 Online (see webCampus) overview of Atmospheric Instrumentation.

Purpose: Broad overview of atmospheric instrumentation measurements.
This is an online homework assignment and is described on webCampus.

Assignment 1 Online (see webCampus) atmospheric radar measurements.

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