METEO 361: Fundamentals of Mesoscale Weather Forecasting

Steve Seman, David Babb

Course Description

METEO 361: FUNDAMENTALS OF MESOSCALE WEATHER FORECASTING (3 credits) - Applying atmospheric principles to small-scale weather systems, with an emphasis on the conceptual modeling and short-range prediction of severe thunderstorms. Prerequisites: METEO 101

METEO 361 is the third course in the four-course Certificate of Achievement in Weather Forecasting. This course will be offered for the first time during the Spring 2006 semester.

Course Objectives

A caravan of Doppler on Wheels (DOW) takes the most expeditious route to intersect developing severe thunderstorms.

In METEO 361, you'll learn all about the climatology and the underpinning science of severe thunderstorms as well as the forecasting tools professionals use to predict and analyze mesoscale weather systems. As it turns out, there's much more to mesoscale meteorology than severe weather. Bands of lake-effect snow, for example, qualify as mesoscale weather. So do urban heat islands. And there are many other features that fall into the purview of this course.

One of the keys to success in METEO 361 is a working knowledge of the principles in METEO 101. That's because synoptic-scale weather patterns provide the background environments in which mesoscale systems develop.

In the final analysis, exploring topics beyond the realm of severe weather will provide you with a more well-rounded apprenticeship in mesoscale meteorology and mesoscale forecasting. Rest assured, however, that severe weather will be thoroughly covered in METEO 361.


METEO 361 is noticeably less structured than METEO 101 (and similar to METEO 241). Instead of weekly deadlines, we partitioned the course into three "time blocks" of four or five weeks. Within each time block, each student will complete the assigned lessons, corresponding quizzes and the block's overarching e-portfolio project.

We assume that all certificate students are highly motivated and committed to achieving a lofty standard of excellence. Carefully planning your work schedule for each "time block" is pivotal to your success in METEO 361. Your plan should reflect a schedule that calls for you to work steadily and deliberately toward your goals of learning and critically thinking about the material and designing an e-portfolio that is well written and well thought out.


e-Portfolio / Blog Assignments: At the end of each "time block" of lessons, students are required to create a blog or a Web page that documents a specific case study (each e-portfolio assignment focuses on pivotal scientific concepts presented in the block of lessons).

Storm chasers arrive in time to collect DOW data from a low-precipitation (LP) supercell.

Laboratory Exercises: Each lesson has a lab exercise that explores concepts using real data (or requires students to discuss concepts in a classroom forum).

Quizzes: At the end of each lesson, you'll take a quiz which tests your ability to apply the concepts you learned in the lesson.

Course Materials

All course material for this course will be available online.

Technical Specifications

For this course we recommend the minimum technical requirements outlined on our Program and Course Technical Requirements page.


If you're interested in enrolling in METEO 361, please refer to the World Campus Course Catalog (select "METEO - Meteorology" in the Course ID field). The course is offered online through the World Campus during the fall, spring and summer semesters.

We hope to see you online!