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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 241 Fundamentals of Tropical Forecasting (3) Applying atmospheric principles to the tropics, with an emphasis on the development, structure, prediction and destructive impact of hurricanes.

METEO 241 Fundamentals of Tropical Forecasting (3)

Worldwide, approximately 80 tropical cyclones develop each year. This global annual average of tropical cyclones is small in comparison to the thousands of low-pressure systems that routinely parade across the middle latitudes each year. Yet tropical storms and hurricanes garner far greater attention from meteorologists and the media. The obvious reason for this lopsided focus is that tropical cyclones can inflict great devastation to life and property.

One of the primary goals of Meteorology 241: Fundamentals of Tropical Forecasting is to give students a working knowledge of hurricanes and tropical storms so that they can become critical weather consumers. For example, when a hurricane bears down on the coast of the United States, the media often portray the storm as a monster capable of laying waste to anything in its path. In METEO 241, students will understand that the initial fury of a land-falling hurricane is focused within a swath of coastal area approximately 30 miles long or less.

To ensure that students develop the knowledge and skills required to critically assess weather forecasts issued by the National Hurricane Center, METEO 241 will provide, like METEO 101, an apprentice-training environment. Under the tutelage of professional weather forecasters, students, in their role as apprentices, will also work toward the goal of creating their own tropical-weather forecasts.

In the process, students in METEO 241 will learn about the pitfalls of forecasting the tracks and intensities of tropical storms and hurricanes as they actively work with output from sophisticated numerical models available on the Internet. Moreover, successful students will apply their knowledge of the fundamental concepts of atmospheric science in order to competently evaluate forecasts issued by the National Hurricane Center in Miami and the Joint Typhoon Warning Center in Honolulu.

Students will also gain a broad perspective of the general weather and oceanic patterns in the tropics. For example, students will learn about El Nino and La Nina. In the process, they will discover that El Nino and La Nina are not to blame for every unusual weather event that occurs anywhere in the world.

It should be noted here that METEO 241will be one of four courses required for students to earn a Certificate of achievement in Weather Forecasting, a unique online program offered through Penn State's World Campus. The three other courses that will comprise this online program are METEO 101: Understanding Weather Forecasting, METEO 361: Fundamentals of Mesoscale Weather Forecasting and METEO 410: Advanced Topics in Weather Forecasting.

To facilitate the learning objectives, METEO 241 will include the use of digital video, audio, simulation models, virtual field trips to on-line resources for weather data, text, and interactive quizzes that provide timely feedback.

To demonstrate their mastery of the learning objectives, students will complete automated online quizzes, actively engage in online discussion groups focusing on real-time weather, and publish, to a personal "e-portfolio", four comprehensive projects that will explore timely case studies related to weather forecasting. The e-portfolio will take the form of a Web site that students initially create during the second course of the program (METEO 241 or METEO 361). Students will augment their e-portfolio as part of the requirements for METEO 241, METEO 361 and METEO 410. They will also use the space to reflect on their learning.

At the end of the program, students will make a final e-portfolio entry that highlights their program accomplishments. In this way, the e-portfolio will serve both as a showcase of a student's work for the purpose of course assessment and as a chronicle of a student's achievements during the program. By using their Penn State personal Web space to host their e-portfolios, students will be able to share their work not only with program faculty and students, but also with external audiences, including potential employers. Upon successful completion of the program, graduates will receive a copy of their final e-portfolio on CD-ROM.


General Education: None
Diversity: None
Bachelor of Arts: None
Effective: Spring 2004
Prerequisite: METEO 101

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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