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Undergraduate Degree Programs

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

Meteorology (METEO)

METEO 005 (GN) Severe and Unusual Weather (3) Non-technical introduction to the physical processes important in the formation of various severe and unusual weather phenomena.

METEO 005 Severe and Unusual Weather (3)

METEO 005 provides a current, relevant, and scientifically accurate discussion of a wide range of severe and unusual weather. Severe weather has made a major imprint on the world’s cultures and economies throughout history (e.g., the drought of the 1930s led to westward migration and changes in agriculture practices in the U.S., utilities in East Coast cities were placed underground after the Blizzard of 1888, and the severe winter of 1941–1942 helped change the momentum of World War II), and also has been prominent in our literature and entertainment (e.g., The Wizard of Oz, The Grapes of Wrath, Twister, The Perfect Storm).

Students will learn about the fundamental principles that govern severe and unusual weather. Concepts are taught in a descriptive manner without relying heavily on mathematics; thus, the material is highly accessible to students with a wide variety of backgrounds. It is believed that learning about weather is enhanced by experiencing weather. For this reason, the class frequently draws upon examples of significant historical and recent severe weather events. Students will be able to apply what they have learned immediately to weather events occurring near their homes or around the world.

The course has four major themes. The unit on hazardous cold-season phenomena treats the formation of freezing and frozen precipitation, lake-effect snowstorms, and blizzards. The unit on hazardous warm-season weather treats thunderstorms and larger-scale conglomerations of thunderstorms known as convective systems, including hurricanes. Students also will learn about flash floods, lightning, tornadoes, downbursts, and hailstorms. The unit on hazardous weather triggered by mountainous terrain deals with topographically-forced gravity waves, downslope windstorms, and rotors. The final unit treats a wide variety of unusual atmospheric optical phenomena resulting from the interaction of light with raindrops or ice crystals, such as rainbows, glories, and haloes.

General Education: GN
Diversity: None
Bachelor of Arts: None
Effective: Summer 2011

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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