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1. Course title

Synoptinen meteorologia II
Synoptisk meteorologi II
Synoptic Meteorology II


2. Course code


Aikaisemmat leikkaavat opintojaksot 53607 Synoptinen meteorologia II, 5 op

3. Course status: optional

-Which degree programme is responsible for the course?
Master's Programme in Atmospheric Sciences

-Which module does the course belong to?
ATM300 Advanced Studies in Atmospheric Sciences (optional for Study Track in Meteorology)

-Is the course available to students from other degree programmes?

4. Course level (first-, second-, third-cycle/EQF levels 6, 7 and 8)

Master’s level, degree programmes in medicine, dentistry and veterinary medicine = secondcycle
degree/EQF level 7
Doctoral level = third-cycle (doctoral) degree/EQF level 8

-Does the course belong to basic, intermediate or advanced studies (cf. Government Decree
on University Degrees)?
Advanced studies

5. Recommended time/stage of studies for completion

After you have taken synoptic meteorology 1. Can either be in the first or second year of masters studies.

6. Term/teaching period when the course will be offered

The course will be lectured every other year (odd years) in the III period.

7. Scope of the course in credits

5 cr

8. Teacher coordinating the course

Victoria Sinclair PhD

9. Course learning outcomes

The course has five main learning objectives:

1. The student has an deep understanding of theories which explain the development of a variety of weather systems in the mid-latitudes.
2. The student is able to accurately described different weather situations both in writing and orally.
3. The student has the ability to accurately interpret weather maps, observations, and numerical model output in an effective and meaningful way.
4. The student is able to apply their theoretical knowledge to real-life weather situations to diagnose the physical processes acting and to understand why this weather situation has developed and to predict (forecast) how it will change in the near future.
5. The student is able to give coherent and in-depth explanations of why the weather is doing what it is by applying and integrating different aspects of theory.

10. Course completion methods

The course will consist of

  1. Lectures
  2. A Learning Diary / Blog. Students need to write a learning diary on the lecture content. One learning diary entry per lecture is required and each entry should be 200 -  300 words.
  3. 4 exercises.
  4. An individual case study on a weather event. Students need to research a specific weather event of their choice, apply theories and concepts that you have learnt in synoptic meteorology 1 and 2 to explain why the weather system developed as it did. You need to collect or make plots of relevant fields and write a 10 - 15 page report in English. Students also need to give a short presentation to the class about their case study topic.

11. Prerequisites

Synoptic Meteorology 1 (ATM 352)

12. Recommended optional studies

Mesoscale Meteorology (ATM351) is a closely related course

13. Course content

-Description of the course content

  • Revision of the traditional form of the QG omega equation and QG height tendency equation.

  • Friction and diabatic heating in the traditional form of the QG omega and height tendency equation. How these terms affects cyclones and anticyclones

  • Trenberth form of QG omega equation and its application to weather charts

  • Q-vector form of QG omega equation, idealised examples and application to real weather situations

  • Potential Vorticity (PV) tendency equation, PV view of cyclogenesis & non-conservation of PV

  • PV charts and their interpretation (potential temperature on dynamics tropopause, PV on 315, 330K isentropes)
  • Climatological distribution of PV
  • Cyclone classifications: LC1 versus LC2 and Type A/B/C

  • Sting jets

  • Rossby wave breaking; cyclonic and anticyclonic wave breaking, how to identify on weather charts

  • Rossby wave source (mathematical and "physical" explanations)

  • Downstream Development and Eddy kinetic energy equation

  • Extra-tropical transition of hurricanes

  • Banded precipitation in instabilities (e.g inertial instability, symmetric instability, conditional symmetric instability)

  • Dynamic frontogenesis and the Sawyer Elliassen Equation

  • Cold air damming, lake effect snow, freezing rain

  • Weather forecast process - how to use NWP output.

  • Use of ensembles in weather forecasting; explanation of many Ensemble forecast products from ECMWF

14. Recommended and required literature

A set of printed handouts (~10 pages of notes / equations) will be given at the start of the course

Useful textbooks include:
Midlatitude Synoptic Meteorology, Dynamics, Analysis and forecasting"  by Gary Lackmann.

Synoptic-dynamic meteorology in mid-latitudes part 1 and part 2 by Howard Bluestein
Mid-Latitude Atmospheric Dynamics, a First Course by Jonathan E. Martin.

15. Activities and teaching methods in support of learning


  1. Lectures: as well as covering the topics above, we will also spend 10-20 minutes each lecture analyzing the current weather situation in Finland and world-wide
  2. Learning Diary: students are asked to think about the lecture topics, reflect on the new material and identify how it relates to previous course / knowledge
  3. Exercises: 4 exercises consisting of some theoretical pen and paper questions and some more practical questions
  4. Case study: Students need to apply their knowledge to investigate a weather event that took place in the extra-tropics. This also gives experience in structuring and writing a scientific report.

16. Assessment practices and criteria, grading scale

50% of the final grade is from the case study report and presentation

30% of the final grade is from the Exercises

20% of the final grade is from the learning diary

17. Teaching language

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