ATMS 411/611 Atmospheric Physics [main page] [homework] [2022 notes] [2021 notes] [2020 notes] [2019 notes] [2018 notes] [2017 notes] [2015 notes] [2010 notes].


Week 16: 11 Dec

Class evaluations are now open.

General plan:
Continue presentations of final projects on Monday and Tuesday.
Homework 6 is due on December 10th.
Final project reports for 611 are due at the end of the day on December 17th.

The time for the class final is 8 a.m. - 10 a.m. on Friday December 15th.
We may use that time to finish presentations as needed, and for cloud physics discussion.
Class will meet in RM LP300 on Friday, and through Zoom.


Class final is online, to be distributed on Thursday December 14th at 8 am, and due at the end of the day on December 20th.

Chapter 4 powerpoint, Radiation Transfer.
Chapter 4 as a PDF document.
Cloud physics chapters 5 and 6 presentation.

Monday and Tuesday

Plan:
Final project presentations.

As time permits:

An approximate look at microwave radiometry measurements for cloud liquid water path. (General case: H20 vapor and O2 absorb and emit radiation in the 0 to 300 GHz range too, so the 0-50 GHz is used for remotely sensing water vapor and liquid water at the same time and cosmic microwave background energy from the universe needs to be considered.).

Additional Topics:
Take solar radiation from the top of the atmosphere to the surface, showing effects of gaseous and aerosol absorption and scattering on the spectra  See slides 27- 32.

Global radiation balance and deficit See slides 12, 26.

How radiation absorption couples with atmospheric thermodynamics and layer heating.
Layer heating rate = -divergence of net irradiance (also known as flux). Slides 39, 41, 42.

Related Information:

The lee wave case 20231010 presented by Jonathan: Zoomed view: Zoomed out view.

 

Week 15: 4 Dec

Class evaluations are now open.

General plan:
Continue with chapter 4 on radiation in the atmosphere on Monday and Tuesday.
Start presentations of final projects on Wednesday December 6th.
Bring questions for homework 6 (due on December 10th) to class.
Final project reports for 611 are due at the end of the day on December 17th.
The time for the class final is 8 a.m. - 10 a.m. on Friday December 15th. We may use that time to finish presentations as needed, or for discussions, to be announced.
Class final is online, to be distributed on Thursday December 14th at 8 am, and due at the end of the day on December 20th.

Chapter 4 powerpoint, Radiation Transfer.
Chapter 4 as a PDF document.
Cloud physics chapters 5 and 6 presentation.

Preparation:
Work on finishing your final project presentation.
Attend class/zoom to be aware of the radiation transfer examples.
Work on homework 6.

Wednesday and Thursday

Plan:

Final project presentations. We have a volunteer to go first.

As time permits:

Optimal diffuse radiation, optical depth for cloud brightness that makes for a peak in the total downwelling solar radiation.
Nexrad NWS radar backscattering model for water and ice hydrometeors.

An approximate look at microwave radiometry measurements for cloud liquid water path. (General case: H20 vapor and O2 absorb and emit radiation in the 0 to 300 GHz range too, so the 0-50 GHz is used for remotely sensing water vapor and liquid water at the same time and cosmic microwave background energy from the universe needs to be considered.).

Additional Topics:
Earth's global energy budget (slide 26) and surface radiation only budget (slide 17).
Surface temperature calculation (simple Python code) due to the green house effect of infrared active gases.
Online Python interface.

Take solar radiation from the top of the atmosphere to the surface, showing effects of gaseous and aerosol absorption and scattering on the spectra  See slides 27- 32.

Global radiation balance and deficit See slides 12, 26.

How radiation absorption couples with atmospheric thermodynamics and layer heating.
Layer heating rate = -divergence of net irradiance (also known as flux). Slides 39, 41, 42.

Tuesday

Outcome:

Completed and interpreted the 1 layer atmosphere model that describes the greenhouse effect in the atmosphere.
Discussed the spectral dependence of light absorption by gases in the atmosphere.
Absorption of solar and thermal infrared radiation by common gases in the atmosphere.
Detailed absorption of solar radiation at the surface. The model has Rayleigh and aerosol scattering and absorption taken out.
Detailed absorption cross section per molecule for major IR active gases in the atmosphere as a function of wavelength.

Energy balance image, 1 layer model image, 1 layer model output image.
Diffuse radiation.
Nexrad NWS radar backscattering model for water and ice hydrometeors.

Monday

Outcome:

Discussed the global energy balance, infrared radiation transfer, and started a 1 dimensional, 1 layer model of the atmosphere radiation balance.
Energy balance image, 1 layer model image, 1 layer model output image.

 

Week 14: 27 Nov

General plan:
Continue with chapter 4 on radiation in the atmosphere.
Discuss homework 6.

Chapter 4 powerpoint, Radiation Transfer.
Chapter 4 as a PDF document.

Preparation:
Read chapter 4.
Read homework 6.

Thursday

Outcome:

Discussed the cloud above a reflecting ground, deriving the total reflection and transmission coefficients for the combination.
Had a homework 6 discussion, and went through us of the Mie theory calculator.

Global energy balance, energy balance image, 1 layer model image, 1 layer model output image.
Nexrad NWS radar backscattering model for water and ice hydrometeors.
Summary of scattering regimes.

Go from single particle cross sections to coefficients and optical depths for scattering, absorption, and extinction through an approximate look at microwave radiometry measurements for cloud liquid water path. (General case: H20 vapor and O2 absorb and emit radiation in the 0 to 300 GHz range too, so the 0-50 GHz is used for remotely sensing water vapor and liquid water at the same time and cosmic microwave background energy from the universe needs to be considered.).

Wednesday

Outcome:

Reviewed asymmetry parameter.
Go from single particle cross sections to coefficients and optical depths for scattering, absorption, and extinction.
Mean-free path between scattering events.
Cloud 2-stream transmission and reflectivity at visible wavelengths.

Tuesday

Outcome:

Summarize the scattering regimes with efficiency calculation.
Image for the efficiency factors for absorption, scattering, and extinction at 550 nm as a function of size parameter.
Image for the tfficiency factors for absorption, scattering, and extinction for water droplets as a function of wavelength for 1 and 10 micron diameters.
An excellent free program is available for doing these Mie theory calculations.
Discussed the asymmetry parameter for scattering and the 2 stream model approach.

Monday

Outcome:

Reviewed cross sections for scattering, absorption, and extinction and scattering efficiency factor.
Discussed the single scatter albedo and asymmetry parameter.
Discussed the 3 scattering regimes based on calculation of the size parameter.

Related Information:

Surface temperature calculation (simple Python code) due to the green house effect of infrared active gases.
Online Python interface.

An excellent free program is available for doing Mie theory calculations.

Theory of multiple scattering in one dimension (an excellent research and teaching paper).
Derivation of the 2 Stream Model for transmission and reflection of light by a cloud.

Lee wave clouds looking south from campus. Note the light scattering character of the cirrus and lee wave clouds. Click for larger version.

 

Week 13: 20 Nov

General plan:
Continue with chapter 4 on radiation in the atmosphere.
Finish homework 5, and discuss homework 6.

Chapter 4 powerpoint, Radiation Transfer.
Chapter 4 as a PDF document.

Preparation:
Read chapter 4.
Finish homework 5.
Read homework 6.

Wednesday

Plan for Wednesday and following days:

Chaos before class as the door was locked. Started 10 minutes late and ended 10 minutes late.

Finished with the water and ice refractive index discussion with Debye relaxation, theory, and application to remote sensing of supercooled liquid water containing clouds.
Discussed the scattering phase function, and cross sections for absorption, scattering and extinction.

Tuesday

Outcome for Tuesday:

Rayleigh, single, and multiple scattering demo by adding milk to a vessel of water, slowly, and viewing with a flashlight and polarization sheet.
Vision: A look at eyes; their photoptic an scotoptic response; and a simulation of color interpretation. Course on color and vision.
Started discussion of the complex refractive index of water

Monday

Outcome for Monday:

Continue with clear sky color and polarization. Dipole radiation pattern. Rayleigh scattering.
Rayleigh scattering demo, the "Sunset Egg".

Related Information:

New thoughts on enhanced water vapor evaporation fresh off the press.
Climate change report and associated art.
Rayleigh scattering.

Real and imaginary parts of the refractive index of water (and spreadsheet with values.)
Electromagnetic penetration depth compared with typical hydrometeor diameter.
Dipole radiation pattern related to Rayleigh scattering.

Surface temperature calculation (simple Python code) due to the green house effect of infrared active gases.
Online Python interface.

Theory of multiple scattering in one dimension (an excellent research and teaching paper).
Derivation of the 2 Stream Model for transmission and reflection of light by a cloud.

Lee wave clouds looking south from campus. Note the light scattering character of the cirrus and lee wave clouds. Click for larger version.

Cloud types (from the NWS).

Seasons and sun-Earth distance, relevant to the homework 5. (from Met. Today. 13 Ed.)

Radar Backscatter efficiency for spherical ice and water hydrometeors for a wavelength of 10.71 cm.
Click image for a larger version.

 

Week 12: 13 Nov

General plan:
Continue with chapter 4 on radiation in the atmosphere.
Discuss homework 5.

Chapter 4 powerpoint, Radiation Transfer.
Chapter 4 as a PDF document.

Preparation:
Read chapter 4.
Read homework 5.

Thursday

Plan for Thursday and following days:

Continue with response time of the atmosphere and ocean to a dramatic sudden radiative change, discussion of problem 4.29.
Clear sky color and polarization. Dipole radiation pattern.
Size parameter and scattering in the atmosphere.
Cloud 2 stream transmission and reflectivity at visible wavelengths.
Cloud above a reflecting ground.
Diffuse radiation.
Global energy balance.
Nexrad NWS radar scattering model for water and ice hydrometeors.
Summary of scattering regimes.

Wednesday

Outcome:

New thoughts on enhanced water vapor evaporation fresh off the press: A quick look at the summary.
Finished with perturbations of the radiation balance due to sun-earth distance variation and albedo changes, holistic approach for problem 4.21.
Started response time of the atmosphere and ocean to a dramatic sudden radiative change, discussion of problem 4.29.

Tuesday

Outcome:

Revisit the solar radiation model, review.
Albedo discussion.
Measurements of the Earth's spherical albedo, from the NOAA Deep Space Climate Observatory. Data portal. Lagrange points and satellite location. (great project idea).
Earth and Sun radiation balance from the perspective of a person on the moon.
Started perturbations of the radiation balance due to sun-earth distance variation and albedo changes, holistic approach for problem 4.21.

Monday

Outcome:

Briefly look at another interesting 7 days of weather from Nov 2022.
General discussion of blackbody radiation.

Related Information:

Reno NWS radar at sunrise.

New thoughts on enhanced water vapor evaporation fresh off the press.

Climate change report and associated art.

Rayleigh scattering.

 

Week 11: 6 Nov

General plan:
Finish atmospheric thermodynamics discussion.
Midterm take home exam.
Start Chapter 4 on radiation in the atmosphere.

Chapter 3 powerpoint, Atmospheric Thermodynamics.
Chapter 3 as a PDF document.

Chapter 4 powerpoint, Radiation Transfer.
Chapter 4 as a PDF document.

Preparation:
Read chapter 4.
Read homework 5.

Thursday

Outcome:

Continue with a look at the UNR weather station data for the last 7 days as an introduction to total downwelling solar and IR radiation in the atmosphere and meteorological connections, in addition to the effect of partly cloudy skies on downwelling solar radiation (potentially a big boost of the diffuse radiation with no change of the direct radiation.)
Introduction to diffuse, direct, and total radiation. Longwave and shortwave measurements. Shadowband radiometer. Compared average solar and IR radiation. OneNote discussion,
As an overview of the topics to be discussed in this chapter.

Wednesday

Outcome:

Why we don't always hear thunder though we see lightning, problem analysis using generalized Snell's law, finish this problem

Then begin chapter 4 with a look at the UNR weather station data for the last 7 days.

Tuesday

Outcome:

Anomalous propagation of radar beams and use of the correlation coefficient for the two polarization components to identify it.

Then discussed subsidence inversions, well-mixed atmospheric boundary layers, and how mixing air masses can bring to subsaturated air masses to supersaturation when they combine.

Why we don't always hear thunder though we see lightning, problem analysis using generalized Snell's law. Started with how to calculate sound ray paths in the atmosphere.

Monday

Outcome:

Looked at clouds from Sunday.
Summarizeed the Brunt-Vaisalla frequency result from last week, showed a more direct way to go to the frequency from expressing the environmental temperature as an approximation T=T0-Γz and the lifted air temperature as T'=T0Dz .
Then expressed the Brunt-Vaisalla in terms of the vertical gradient of potential temperature dθ/dz, and connected it with stability.

Sound (and radar) propagation in the atmosphere as affected by temperature (and density).
Started with Snell's law and the definition of refractive index.
Related refractive index to the speed of waves in media, and talked about "slow is more normal" as a way of easily figuring out how rays refract.
Upward and downward refraction, with examples of why we don't always hear thunder though we see lightning, and the trapping of sound in temperature inversions.

Related Information:

Reno radar image at sunrise (from the NWS) and from the UNR Alert camera network (look at a time lapse video).
Demonstration of neutral density, Brunt-Vaisalla frequency, and internal gravity waves in stratified liquids manuscript and video.
Lee wave clouds on Sunday November 5th at around noon. Movie. Sounding before and after the cloud observation.

Measurements of the Earth's spherical albedo as by Finnish researcher, from the NOAA Deep Space Climate Observatory. Data portal. Lagrange points and satellite location.

Continue discussion of Atmospheric Thermodynamics:
Sound propagation in the atmosphere (slides 151-154).
Subsidence inversion. (slide 99).
Well-mixed atmospheric boundary layer (slide 100).
Mixing air masses and effect on condensation (slides 110-112).
Parting words on entropy

 

 

Week 10: 30 Oct

General plan:
Finishing homework 4.
Chapter 3 powerpoint, Atmospheric Thermodynamics.
Chapter 3 as a PDF document.

Preparation:
Homework 4.

Thursday

Outcome:

Lee waves (gravity waves) and the Brunt-Vaisalla frequency to discuss the clouds over the Sierras example below. Derivation using OneNote. Alternative derivation and discussion.
Discussed use of Google Earth to measure the wavelength of gravity waves and relate to the stability of the atmosphere from sounding measurements as a possible project for the class.

Related Information:

Demonstration of neutral density, Brunt-Vaisalla frequency, and internal gravity waves in stratified liquids manuscript and video.
Alternative derivation and discussion.

Weather on October 24-26, for discussion:
Big picture and clouds over the Sierra Nevada mountains on Wednesday October 25, related to the first topic below. Sierra crest.
Surface analysis.
Surface pressure extremes and 250 mb wind.
Summary of the local precipitation measurements and related surface meteorological measurements.

Hurricane Otis landfall over Acapulco, Mexico, and sea surface temperature (zoom in).
Hurricane Otis with lightning overlay.

Reno radar image at sunrise (from the NWS) and from the UNR Alert camera network (look at a time lapse video).

Continue discussion of Atmospheric Thermodynamics:
Chinook wind, effect of precipitation on the upslope side of a mountain for air temperature on the downwind side. (slides 72-73)
Shortened skewT for problem 3.48.
Subsidence inversion. (slide 99).
Well-mixed atmospheric boundary layer (slide 100).
Convective condensation temperature (slide 101).
Mixing air masses and effect on condensation (slides 110-112).
Saturated lapse rate equation. (slides 116-122).
Downslope wind storm diagnosed with potential temperature contours. (slide 128).
Gravity waves and the Brunt-Vaisalla frequency (slides 129-150).
Sound propagation in the atmosphere (slides 151-154).
Parting words on entropy

Wednesday

Outcome:

Investigated the influence of precipitation on the windward side of mountains on the lee side temperature: Chinook wind. OneoteDiscussion for problem 3.48.
Shortened skewT for problem 3.48.

Tuesday

Outcome:

Last day for presentations for Homework 4.
We had 3 presentations. (Great presentations everyone!)
Look at the flow over the Sierra Nevada mountains video, linked in Related Information above, to introduce two topics of discussion: Chinook wind and lee waves (gravity waves).

Monday

Outcome:

Continued with presentations for Homework 4, and heard about some wild storms!

 

Week 9: 23 Oct

General plan: Chapter 3 powerpoint, Atmospheric Thermodynamics.
Chapter 3 as a PDF document.

Preparation:
Read chapter 3, Atmospheric Thermodynamics.
Read homework 4.

Thursday

Outcome:

Start with presentations for Homework 4. Presenters be sure to submit your presentation to WebCampus.
Presentations will continue on Monday.
Answer any remaining questions about presentation contents.

Wednesday

Outcome: (Note: The AMS Student chapter meets at 11:30 a.m. in LP 208 conference room. All are welcome to attend.).

Preparation:
Download the NOAA Weather and Climate Toolkit, WCT. The application is located in the folder.

Obtained the IR satellite image (and movie) using the WCT. (Part G)
Showed how to read the IR radiance as a function of latitude and longitude, and use of the buttons on the left and right sides of the image.
Created an animation of the IR imagery for several hours at your sounding location.
Obtained the Level II (choose radar elevation(s)) or Level III radar composite movie using WCT. (Reno example).

Related Information:

We used level 1 IR data from the toolkit for GOES IR radiance data. Level 2 products are available too.
Definition of the level 2 derived data types in the toolkit for GOES imagery.
ABI-L2-CTPF is the cloud top pressure.
ABI-L2-ACHAF if the cloud top height.
ABI-L2-ACHTF is the cloud top temperature.

Tuesday

Outcome:

Preparation:
Download the NOAA Weather and Climate Toolkit. The application is located in the folder.

Discuss NEXRAD radar.
Use the "Archived Radar Data" tool to get the NEXRAD radar data image at the time of your sounding (Part F of HW4).
Later we'll make a movie of it using the NOAA Weather and Climate Toolkit (WCT).
Discussed IR imagery and geostationary satellites with OneNote .
Obtain the IR satellite image (and movie) using the WCT. (Part G)

Monday

Outcome:

Finish making the graph of θ(z) and θE(z). Demonstrate saving a graph template.
Discuss reanalysis and obtain the 500 mb height map from it. (Part E of HW4).

Related Information:

Earth School wind viewer for visualizing atmospheric flow at various surface levels of the atmosphere along with a variety of fields like pressure, CAPE, RH, Total Cloud Amount.

 

 

Week 8: 16 Oct

General plan: Chapter 3 powerpoint, Atmospheric Thermodynamics.
Chapter 3 as a PDF document.

Preparation:
Read chapter 3, Atmospheric Thermodynamics.
Read homework 4.

Thursday

Outcome:

Start working on homework 4 together. Have your sounding chosen for class, and be ready to use either the computers in the classroom or your own.
Markup GIF of sounding, filling in the CAPE area and CIN area with different colors. Mark the LCL, LFC, and EL.
Started making the graph of θ(z) and θE(z).

Related Information:

Earth School wind viewer for visualizing atmospheric flow at various surface levels of the atmosphere along with a variety of fields like pressure, CAPE, RH, Total Cloud Amount.

Plan later:
Chinook wind, effect of precipitation on the upslope side of a mountain for air temperature on the downwind side. (slides 72-73)
Subsidence inversion. (slide 99).
Well-mixed atmospheric boundary layer (slide 100).
Convective condensation temperature (slide 101).
Mixing air masses and effect on condensation (slides 110-112).
Saturated lapse rate equation. (slides 116-122).
Downslope wind storm diagnosed with potential temperature contours. (slide 128).
Gravity waves and the Brunt-Vaisalla frequency (slides 129-150).
Sound propagation in the atmosphere (slides 151-154).
Parting words on entropy.

Wednesday

Outcome:

Homework 4 discussion.
Stability of the atmosphere in terms potential temperature gradient. (slides 74-87) Draw the vertical distribution of θ(z) for the afternoon sounding, on the slide.
Conditionally unstable atmosphere.
Convective instability and relation to equivalent potential temperature.
00Z 15 Aug 2020 sounding to illustrate well mixed boundary layer, convective temperature, CAPE, and to interpret stability in terms of θ(z) and θE(z).

Related Information:

Tornado observations.
Tornado tracks.
Upper air soundings, Univ. of Wyoming.
Map of upper air sounding locations where weather balloons are launched.
Archived radar data to use for getting a quick look at precipitation, when choosing a site.
Python program and executables for viewing observed and modeled soundings in the context of severe weather (optional) description.

Tuesday

Outcome:

Homework 4 discussion.
Stability of the atmosphere in terms of lapse rate and potential temperature gradient. (slides 74-87)
Conditionally unstable atmosphere.
Convective instability and relation to equivalent potential temperature

Monday

Outcome:

Talked about the eclipse and clouds, and sounding.
Saturated adiabatic lapse rate discussion. (slides 68-72).
CAPE: Convective available potential energy example and theory. (slides 94-95, 98, 103-107). Use OneNote for the derivation of CAPE.
Homework 4 discussion.

Related Information:

Eclipse on 14 Oct 2023 and UNR lidar. Click images for larger version.
From a cloudless sky in Pueblo Colorado, using a dark filter in front of the camera.
As seen through a partial break in the clouds in Reno. There may have been an optically thin cirrus cloud layer above this altocumulus cloud.

MPLidar data for the 14th obtained from the top of the Physics Building at UNR.


 

 

 

Week 7: 9 Oct

General plan: Chapter 3 powerpoint, Atmospheric Thermodynamics.
Chapter 3 as a PDF document.

Preparation:
Read chapter 3, Atmospheric Thermodynamics.
Work on homework 3. Problem 4 should be finished by Monday, and parts of problem 1.

Thursday

Outcome:

Discuss potential temperature a little more:
Looked at an example for the 300 K isentropic surface today.
Isentropic analysis in dynamical meteorology.
Latent heat release during phase change discussion in general.
Example of a convective cloud growing in Reno.
Example of the heat needed and entropy change for melting ice.
Example of air temperature change due water condensation.
Mixed phase clouds and the Bergeron process, ice crystals grow at the expense of water droplets.


Saturated adiabatic lapse rate.
Chinook wind, effect of precipitation on the upslope side of a mountain for air temperature on the downwind side.

Plans for later:
Stability of the atmosphere in terms of lapse rate and potential temperature gradient.
Conditionally unstable atmosphere.
Convective instability and relation to equivalent potential temperature.
CAPE: Convective available potential energy example and theory. Homework 4 discussion.
Subsidence inversion.
Well-mixed atmospheric boundary layer.
Convective condensation temperature.
Mixing air masses and effect on condensation.
Saturated lapse rate equation.
Downslope wind storm diagnosed with potential temperature contours.
Gravity waves and the Brunt-Vaisalla frequency.
Sound propagation in the atmosphere.
Parting words on entropy.

Wednesday

Outcome:

Derivation of the potential temperature relationship step by step OneNote.
Introduce entropy per unit mass, s, from dq=Tds during the derivation.
One definition of entropy.
Discussion of potential temperature.
Did an example vertical cross section from south to north through the US for looking at potential temperature contours.

Tuesday

Outcome:

Summarize problem 3: All of the properties in the table represent the air parcel we described by its pressure, temperature, and wetbulb temperature.
Review the first law of thermodynamics and applications.
Specific heat capacity discussion and calculation from the 'Equi-Partition of Energy Theorem'.
Specfic heat capacity at constant pressure, cp derivation and discussion.
Derived the dry adiabatic lapse rate.
Discussed the UNR MPLnet lidar in the last 10 minutes.

Monday

Outcome:

Review Normand's rule.
Work on problem 3 together in class, using both the skew T, and the python program to check results.
Use the simple relation for thetaE to discuss it below and above the LCL,
and for a 100% efficient precip process to the TOA, and back down dry.
Discuss why thetaE is important. (Map of thetaE). (Map of CAPE). (Map of thetaE for Oklahoma).
Review the first law of thermodynamics and applications.
Specific heat capacity discussion and calculation from the 'Equi-Partition of Energy Theorem'.
Specfic heat capacity at constant pressure.

Related Information:

National Weather Service Mesoscale Analysis Center.
PNAS article that advocates for using thetaE to express climate change (in addition to global surface temperature.)
Equivalent potential temperature equation and discussion.
Potential temperature analysis for dynamics over mountainous terrain.
Forecast video that uses isentropic analysis.
Forecast isentropic surfaces (COD).

Video showing the derivation of a relationship between Theta and ThetaE.

 

 

Week 6: 2 Oct

NOTE: Tuesday and Wednesday class will be held through Zoom only. (I'm on travel).

General plan: Chapter 3 powerpoint, Atmospheric Thermodynamics.
Chapter 3 as a PDF document.

Preparation:
Read chapter 3, Atmospheric Thermodynamics.
Work on homework 3.

Thursday

Outcome:

Discussed dew point temperature, wet bulb temperature, and how to calculate them.
Did a demonstration of wetbulb temperature measurement.
Discussed how to use the skewT diagram to get dewpoint temperature with pressure, temperature, and wetbulb temperature given.
Discussed the lifting condensation level and Normand's rule.
Discussed potential and wetbulb potential temperatures.
Discussed the heat index chart.

Monday-Wednesday

Outcome:

Review the hypsometric equation, layer thickness.
Begin discussion of problem 4 in the homework, hurricanes, related textbook Problem 3.26. Hurricanes and cyclostrophic flow.
Example of how to use Endnote Online for managing references.
Sea level equivalent pressure and station pressure. Altimeter equation.
Types of thermodynamic processes.
First law of thermodynamics and applications.
Specific heat capacity discussion and calculation from the 'Equi-Partition of Energy Theorem'.

Related Information:

Nonlinear dynamics and chaos course offered next semester in Mechanical Engineering (upper level elective credit).
UNR now has a micropulse lidar in operation for measuring the vertical distribution of clouds and aerosols. Extend the time range to see more data.

 

Week 5: 25 Sept

General plan: Chapter 3 powerpoint, Atmospheric Thermodynamics.
Chapter 3 as a PDF document.

Preparation:
Read chapter 3, Atmospheric Thermodynamics.
Read homework 3.

Chapter 3 topics
We will have several homework assignments from this especially important chapter.
The goals (learning and review objectives)

a. Ideal gas equation applied to dry and moist air.
b. Virtual temperature.
c. Potential temperature.
d. Hydrostatic equation.
e. Increasingly detailed description of the temperature and pressure distribution in the atmosphere.
f. SkewT logP diagrams.
f-g. Relative humidity, absolute humidity.
g. Dew point temperature.
h. Wet bulb temperature.
i. Equivalent potential temperature.
j. Latent heat release and absorption in condensation and evaporation of water.
k. Stability of air parcels.
l. Indices on soundings.
m. Brunt–Väisälä frequency and gravity waves.
o. Sound propagation in the atmosphere.
p. Hurricane thermodynamics and dynamics.

Thursday

Outcome:

Geopotential review. Thickness of atmospheric layers, and the consequences with large scale wind.
Hypsometric equation definition.
Geostrophic wind related to pressure surface height gradient (variation of height with horizontal position). (Consequences of the hypsometric equation).
Begin discussion of problem 4.

Related Information:

Nonlinear dynamics and chaos course offered next semester in Mechanical Engineering (upper level elective credit).

Wednesday

Outcome:

Simulation of ideal gases including gravity.
Review virtual temperature. Water vapor mixing ratio. Look at lines of constant mixing ratio on a skewT-lnP diagram, and do an example, and one of convective temperature.
Hydrostatic equation. Variation of g with altitude. Geopotential. Thickness of atmospheric layers.

Tuesday

Outcome:

Discuss homework 3.
Chapter 3, discuss saturation vapor pressure and climate change. Kinetic theory of gases. Ideal gas equation for water vapor.
Simulation of ideal gases. Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution for molecular speeds.
Virtual temperature. Water vapor mixing ratio. Hydrostatic equation. Variation of g with altitude. Geopotential. Thickness of atmospheric layers.

Monday

Outcome:

Chapter 3, thermodynamics. Ideal gas equation in it's many forms. Partial pressure discussion and example. Saturation vapor pressure for water and ice and a cloud example.
Began discussion of how pressure arises from the kinetic theory of gases.

Related Information:

Clouds observed at about 10:33 am LDT in Reno, the 5 am LDT sounding, and the HRRR 18:00z model sounding, (note the DGZ).
Click image for larger version.

Simulation of ideal gases.

.


 

Week 4: 18 Sept

General plan: Finish working on homework 2. Start Chapter 3, Atmospheric Thermodynamics.
Bring together atmospheric physics theory and observations.

Thursday

Outcome:

Discuss the CO2 in the atmosphere and the Ruddiman hypothesis, from the chapter 1 presentation.
Work on assignment 2, bring questions to class. Discussed a few problems.

Wednesday

Outcome:

Continue to discuss problem 4, setting up analysis.
Discuss the seasonal variation of sea level pressure figures side by side.
Discuss reanalysis weather and climate data, website, and video.
Do an example time series analysis for monthly averaged sea level pressure by hemisphere.
Discuss the CO2 in the atmosphere and the Ruddiman hypothesis.

Tuesday

Outcome:

Talk about the IVT vector and its meteorological orientation from x and y components.
Do part g, calculation of the integrated water vapor transport for Barrow.
Calculate the precipitable water vapor in mm for each location.
Estimate the scale height of the atmosphere using the mean virtual temperature for each site.
Started problem 4, by goingthrough the related problem 1.20 in the textbook, and looking at the average pressure.

Monday

Outcome:

Review part f, determine the scale height of the atmosphere from the slope of the plot of lnP(z) vs z. Compare with the scale height calculated from the average virtual temperature.
Example of how to add equations in reports.
Do part g, calculation of the integrated water vapor transport for Rochambeau. Discussed the application to atmospheric rivers with the homework links.

While we are doing data analysis in class, be sure to let me know if you need more time, or more explanation.
I want to be sure everyone is on the same page.
Zoom recordings are available if you miss class, so it will be important to catch up.

Preparation: Homework 2, questions 1, 2, and 3a-f should be completed by Monday's class.


Week 3: 11 Sept

General plan: Start working on homework 2.
Bring together atmospheric physics theory and observations.

Thursday

Outcome:

Calculate air density and water vapor density for Rochambeau and copy the formulas to do the same with Barrow.
Copy the pressure overlay graph and replace pressure and temperature with density and water vapor density for Rochambeau and Barrow, to finish parts d and e.
Did part f for Rochambeau, determine the scale height of the atmosphere from the slope of the plot of lnP(z) vs z.
Compare with the scale height calculated from the average virtual temperature from the surface to 2 km.

While we are doing data analysis in class, be sure to let me know if you need more time, or more explanation.
I want to be sure everyone is on the same page.
Zoom recordings are available if you miss class, so it will be important to catch up.

 

 

Week 3: 11 Sept

General plan: Start working on homework 2.
Bring together atmospheric physics theory and observations.

Thursday

Outcome:

Calculate air density and water vapor density for Rochambeau and copy the formulas to do the same with Barrow.
Copy the pressure overlay graph and replace pressure and temperature with density and water vapor density for Rochambeau and Barrow, to finish parts d and e.
Started part f, determine the scale height of the atmosphere from the slope of the plot of lnP(z) vs z. Compare with the scale height calculated from the average virtual temperature.


While we are doing data analysis in class, be sure to let me know if you need more time, or more explanation.
I want to be sure everyone is on the same page.
Zoom recordings are available if you miss class, so it will be important to catch up.

Wednesday

Outcome:

Continue with problem 3, first part of part c, and bring in the Barrow data for the first part of part d.
Then we'll do the second part of part c and part d, overlay of air density for both sites.

While we are doing data analysis in class, be sure to let me know if you need more time, or more explanation.
I want to be sure everyone is on the same page.
Zoom recordings are available if you miss class, so it will be important to catch up.

Tuesday

Outcome:
Problem 2:
Discussed the Excel spreadsheet, especially calculation of the lapse rate.
Continued with problem 3, part c.

Monday

Outcome:
Began Homework 2, discussed problem 2 and did an Excel example for how to calculate lapse rate.
Began problem 3, discussed parts a & b and strategy for working with figures in MSword.

Preparation: Read over homework assignment 2, especially problems 3 and 4. Work on problems 1 and 2, and bring questions to class.
You could install Google Earth (free) and Microsoft Office (Excel, etc, free when you login using your netID) on your home computer to help with this and other assignments.
We will continue to use them throughout the semester.

Related Information:

NOAA Seminars in Atmospheric and other sciences.
Sea surface temperature.
US Navy STEM opportunities for high school and university students, see especially the flyers at the bottom of the page.
Hurricane Lee discussion.

 

 

Week 2: 4 Sept

General plan: Set up homework 1, and start working on homework 2.
Become familiar with atmospheric properties, skewT atmospheric thermodynamics diagrams, and how to solve atmospheric physics problems.

Thursday

Plan:
Homework 1 due date was changed to be Sept. 7th to allow time for discussing use of Google Earth, and writing hints.
Hot air balloons this week. An application of Archimedes principle and air density, obtain and discuss the hot air balloon equation.
Begin Homework 2 discussion.

Preparation: Read chapter 1 and read over homework assignment 2, especially problems 3 and 4.
You could install Google Earth (free) and Microsoft Office (Excel, etc, free when you login using your netID) on your home computer to help with this and other assignments.
We will continue to use them throughout the semester.

Related Information:

Top 10 weather events in the New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Slidell LA area.
Past weather from the NWS.

 

Wednesday

Outcome:
Discuss any questions about homework 1. Place a point on the blank skewT for practice.
Atmospheric skewT data, and high resolution versions for the morning for example.
Look at the comma separated values output for the high resolution versions to see the raw data.
Discuss wind barbs, and sounding indices.
Discuss precipitable water vapor, lapse rate a little more.
Chapter 1 presentation.

Related Information:

Example skewT diagrams.
Video describing skewT diagrams.
Example of radiosonde errors that can lead to faulty skewT diagrams.

Hot air balloons this week. An application of Archimedes principle and air density.

Time zone in Reno.
World time zone map and Greenwich England.
Current time UTC (Coordinated Universal Time).
How to convert to and from UTC.
World time converter.

Hail, New York Times article.

Tropopause height discussion.

 

Tuesday

Outcome:

Exponential model for pressure with height and use of pressure as a vertical coordinate, setting up the SkewT vertical axis definition. Scale height of the atmosphere.
Skew T log P discussion for HW 1. Atmospheric skewT data, and high resolution versions.
Look at the morning sounding and read the temperature and dew point at various heights.
Talk about stability and cloudiness.
Discuss wind barbs.

Preparation (see Tuesday of last week):

Related Information:

Labor day weekend storm.
Wind barb interpretation.
Wind as a vector and its speed and direction.
Atmospheric river video, a discussion, and definition.
Online Python.
Anaconda Python/Excel merger.
El Nino discussion; it looks like we'll have an El Nino year.

 

 

Week 1: 28 August

Thursday

Outcome:

Chapter 1 presentation
Brief smoky sky optics discussion, why looking towards the sun smoke looks much worse than looking the opposite direction due the aerosol scattering phase function shape, stronger forward than backscattering.
More on air pressure and density
Skew T log P discussion

Preparation (see Tuesday):

Related Information:

New NASA TEMPO satellite for atmospheric chemistry. First images. (geostationary, new, attached to a telecom satellite).

 

Wednesday

Outcome:

Chapter 1 presentation
Atmospheric composition
Air pressure and density
Skew T log P discussion

Preparation (see Tuesday):

Related Information:

Tropical Tidbits discussion of hurricane Idalia (social media post of the same).
How to calculate the angular scattering pattern
of optical phenomena
Origin of the atmosphere presentation

Tuesday

Outcome:

Discussion of ocean optics
Examples of atmospheric physics
'Field trip' outdoors to appreciate the blue sky and polarization of sky light at 90 deg to the sun in the last 12 minutes. Brewster effect calibration of polarizers.

Preparation:

Read chapter 1
Do online homework 1
Consider doing the Skew T lnP MetEd Module that covers nearly everything, starting with the basics, for Homework 1.
Pressure and mass of the entire atmosphere calculated with the Python tool. Prepare by setting up an account. Get acquainted code.

Related Information:

Fresnel equations description and online calculator to get the reflection coefficient for sunlight reflecting off of water.
Scattering of sunlight in the ocean discussion (local backup), complementary to the atmosphere.
Absorption of sunlight in the ocean.
Ocean optics. A more technical discussion
Electromagnetic absorption by water.
Past behavior of hurricanes summary
Future modeled behavior of hurricanes summary

Monday

Outcome:
Introductions.
'Blue marble' discussion (Earth from space).
Discussed water and soil reflectivity (albedo) and specular and diffuse reflections from surfaces.
Discussed light scattering by molecules in the atmosphere, Rayleigh scattering, and blue sky.
Questions from students motivated bringing polarizers to class on Tuesday for a look at the blue sky.

First Day Agenda
Introductions -- each student introduce themselves.
Syllabus.
Homework.
Webcampus for online homework assignments/reading.

How to monitor smoke conditions, example

Geostationary satellite loop for the western US

Smoke Pollution Measurements at UNR

Purple Air network for smoke and aerosol pollution

Smoke forecast for our area.


Required and Optional Course Materials

Upcoming Homework Assignments

Online Homework 1 is due 3 Sept 2023. See webcampus. This is based on MetEd.

Online Homework 2 is due 10 Sept 2023. See webcampus. This is based on MetEd.

Homework 1 is due 6 Sept 2023, to be turned in through web campus.

Homework 2 is due 21 Sept, to be turned in through web campus.

Homework for this week: Read chapter 1.


Final Project Assignment and Ideas

The final project has been posted.

This class includes:
Lecture/discussion in class.
Active class participation/activity involving atmospheric data from around the world.
Study using online modules for atmospheric science education.

Overview Presentation: Atmospheric Science relies heavily on measurements and models!
Next discuss atmospheric pressure and density (OneNote).
Mass of the atmosphere calculation using an online Python editor.

Vertical structure of the atmosphere image.


Related Information:

Weather at the UNR station from January 1st to August 24th, 2023.

Blue Marble Earth views as seen from space.

Ocean Optics. A more technical discussion.

Albedo discussion.

Thunder and lightning.

Different ways to report pressure.

Summer of floods!

It's hurricane season! Image and animation of the Eastern Pacific. Images from this very useful weather website.
Hurricane track.
Hurricane formation discussion.

It's fire season too! Loyalton fire tornado!
Satellite imagery for 19 August 2020.
Satellite imagery (NASA polar orbiting satellite) and from GOES 16 (NOAA geostationary satellite).

Fire and meteorology feedback: Air pollution in Reno on the 16th of August 2020. Meteorology on the 15th and 16th of August 2020.
Note the difference in stability and boundary layer height.

Hail.

Wind barbs. Click image for larger version.

Reminder of cause for the seasons.


Pittsburgh Spirit Fountain Cloud Physics and coordinate system (click image for larger version.)

The fountain in Pittsburgh PA and its rainbow.

Spectra for PAHs.