EMSC 100
Freshman Seminar in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences

Lab Exercise #1



Welcome to your first laboratory exercise. This particular laboratory exercise is designed to give you some practice with concepts from Lesson 1 while exposing you to learning tools available in METEO 3. 

Before you get started, there are a few over-arching things to consider when approaching laboratory exercises.

  • Follow directions. We find that most of the time, students lose points on these exercises simply because they don't follow directions. Make sure that you include all of the proper data sources that each lab requires and that you perform all the steps of the analysis that are required of you. You may find it helpful to print off these instructions.
  • Don't procrastinate. Each week's exercise should not take you very long to complete, but I recommend that you get started early and not wait until the last minute. Doing so will prevent you from being adversely affected by any technical snafus. Websites you'll need to complete this assignment, like all websites, can go down unexpectedly (that's bad news for you if it happens near the assignment deadline). Another reason not to procrastinate is that the weather doesn't necessarily cooperate on a single day's notice. Suppose a given week's lab exercise requires you to work with a specific type of "weather" (low visibility, for example). If you wait until the last minute to do your assignment, the weather conditions that you are asked to document and analyze may not be present (in which case you will be out-of-luck).

With these simple suggestions in mind, let's get started.


Collect the Data

  1. Check out this station model showing the weather conditions from an unknown time and date at KUNV -- University Park, PA. You'll need this station model to answer some of the questions below.
  2. Go to "Classroom" Discussion: Lesson 1 in Canvas and read my Lesson 1 comments. Not only do my comments have some important tips for Lesson 1, but it's also the basis for one of your lab questions.  Also, click on the link for "Additional Resources" in my post as you'll need some of the tools and "Mini-Lectures" on that page to complete the lab.

Analyze the Data

  1. (1 point) Based on the station model given for KUNV, state the temperature of the station in both Fahrenheit and Celsius. Note: For questions 1, 2, and 4, you may want to use the interactive "Station Model Tool" on the "Additional Resources" page. The tool allows you to enter your own data to see what the corresponding station model will look like, giving you an opportunity to check your work.
  2. (1 point) State the sky cover and any obstructions to visibility (if any).
  3. (1 point) See the following statement:
    Interpreting a Station Model: You should be able to interpret station models at the end of this lesson, which for the most part means familiarizing yourself with where temperature, dew point, sky cover, and obstructions to visibility are located on the model (and familiarizing yourself with the basic weather symbols and sky coverage indications). That's all covered on p.26 in the textbook. But, you should also be able to determine wind direction and speed from the station model. The first key to that is remembering that wind direction is always expressed as the direction FROM which the wind is blowing, based on the compass angles shown in figure 1.26 on p. 27.
    What does the statement in bold tell you about the convention for expressing wind direction?
  4. (1 point) With your answer to #3 in mind, state the direction and speed of the wind on the KUNV station model. For wind direction, specify the numerical direction (for example, 135 degrees) and describe it using words (for example, "southeast"). For wind speed, proper units are a must.
  5. (1 point) In my "Mini-Lecture" titled "Interpreting Contour Plots" (the second "Mini Lecture" on the "Additional Resources" page), what is the UTC time and date of the map of surface temperatures I use in the video? Convert the UTC time to local time in St. Louis, Missouri on that date (Central Standard Time). Note: the graphic in the video is a little small, so you may want to view a full-screen version of the video.

Submit Your Lab

Please follow the instructions for lab submission in Canvas.