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University Bulletin
Undergraduate Degree Programs

These course descriptions are not being updated as of August 1, 2016. Current course descriptions are maintained in LionPATH.

METEO 004 (GN) Weather and Risk (3) Non-technical introduction to the science and historical development of meteorology, and the role of weather forecasting as a tool for risk management by individuals, businesses, and societies.

METEO 004 Weather and Risk (3)

METEO 004 traces the development of weather forecasting as both a scientific discipline and as a tool for risk management. Beginning from the pre-modern history of weather forecasting as a diverse set of folkloric and ritualistic practices, the emergence of meteorology as a genuine science has enabled the development of powerful tools for managing risks faced by individuals, businesses and societies.

Students will learn about the fundamental principles that govern the global atmospheric circulation, and how this circulation shapes weather and climate. They will learn how this scientific understanding has served as the foundation of a global system of weather observation and forecasting, encompassing a worldwide network of atmospheric observing instruments, powerful computer modeling systems, and a highly elaborate system for disseminating information to diverse users. Demand for weather forecasts is driven by the need to manage weather risks confronting agriculture, transportation, the military, insurance, humanitarian relief, and virtually every other sector of society. Examples will be given of how forecasts are incorporated into the decision-making of businesses. This topic leads to a discussion of the economic value of weather information, and the role of public and private providers of information.

The treatment is organized around three themes. First, the possibility of generating a forecast of future conditions requires the adoption of the perspective that the natural world has an underlying regularity, and that this regularity can be discovered and organized through research. The second theme is the critical role of instrumentation in providing the quantitative basis for formal scientific forecasting models. Third, developments in weather forecasting have not proceeded solely from improvements in scientific knowledge: rather, society's demand for risk management tools has acted as a constant spur on efforts to improve forecasting techniques, as part of a feedback loop between the producers and consumers of forecasts.

General Education: GN
Diversity: None
Bachelor of Arts: None
Effective: Summer 2007

Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.


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Course descriptions are stored in LionPATH, the University-wide student information system. Please visit the LionPATH Course Catalog to access current course descriptions. At that point, you will be leaving the University Bulletin website.

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