METEO 410: Advanced Topics in Weather Forecasting

Steve Seman, David Babb

Course Description

METEO 410: ADVANCED TOPICS IN WEATHER FORECASTING (3 credits) - Exploring highly specialized topics and techniques in weather forecasting that span from mesoscale to planetary spatial scales and short-term to long-range time scales. Prerequisites: METEO 101, 241, and 361.

METEO 410 is the final course in the four-course Certificate of Achievement in Weather Forecasting. This course will be offered for the first time during the Fall 2006 semester.

Course Overview

The Map Wall in Walker Building
The "Map Wall" in Walker Building, home of the Meteorology Department at the University Park campus.

Meteo 410 is a practicum in which you "learn by doing." The environment in which the practicum will take place is the national weather forecasting contest -- you will compete against undergraduate students with similar backgrounds at universities all over the country. We firmly believe that students can learn all the theory about atmospheric science there is to learn, but, until they put it to real practice, their learning does not reach its full potential. Meteo 410 is the vehicle for each of you to fulfill the full potential of your learning.

The discussion boards will offer a way for the class to take a team approach, so no one will feel like they're in it alone. It will follow the briefer-briefee format established in METEO 241 and 361. The frequency of participation on the discussion boards will be higher, however --the briefer will post on five days during his or her week (details will appear in the Getting Started section of the course), while we will require the briefee to contribute on at least three days during the week. Ultimately, the more folks participate, the better the team will do in the contest.

As a result of the increased time commitment on the boards, class participation will count 40% (up from 30%) of the final grade. Standings in the national forecasting contest will count 20% (details will appear in Getting started once the course becomes available), and four e-portfolio assignments will count 40% (one of the four is a recap with reflections on your week as a weather briefer, so it won't require any in-depth research --details will be forthcoming in the Getting Started section).

The forecasting contest doesn't begin until mid-September. During the time between the start of the semester and the start of the contest, there will be new material that addresses advanced topics in temperature and precipitation forecasting that will put you in a much stronger position to compete.

Although there will be a short e-portfolio assignment that requires you to investigate a case study in the setting of the new material, there will be NO quizzes on the new material. We assume that each student who reaches METEO 410 is there strictly for learning -- we decided that motivation to learn should be the driving force for studying the new material and that quizzes no longer serve an important adrogogical role. When a forecast requires you to know more about a concept that we haven't yet discussed (or haven't delved deeply into the concept), we will write a brand new section (a vignette similar to the each topic in Lessons 2 and 3 of METEO 361) and then post it in a METEO 410 "forecaster's toolbox." In turn, this toolbox will serve as a reservoir for new topics that we encounter during the semester (no quizzes on the vignettes). The rationale here is that it makes little sense to write a shotgun of new forecasting topics that may or may not crop up during the forecasting contest. It makes much more sense to keep our eye on the ball and address only those new concepts that have direct impact on the national weather forecasting contest.

These vignettes will grow throughout time (from semester to semester), and former METEO 410 students will always be able to access them in the METEO 410 library (a feature that will be added to the Milli Bar). Thus, as long as you stay active in the Milli Bar, you will always have the opportunity to add to your forecasting skills as time goes on (ah, yes, Lee's favorite enterprise -- planting the seeds for life-long learning).

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 410, 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 and spring semesters.

We hope to see you online!