ATMO 200: Fall 2020

Atmospheric Processes and Phenomenon


Welcome! This course is currently being taught for undergraduate students during the Fall 2020 semester at Univ. of Hawaii at Manoa. If you are interested in following along with the course, you can find a day by day schedule of course video lessons on youtube, and the course textbook below. This is the first time this course is being taught online, and you are more than welcome to join us!

Lessons are listed on the corresponding day, with multiple lessons making up one "lecture". The topic of each lesson is given, and the youtube link to that lesson follows.

Learning Objective: Upon completion of this course, students will have a qualitative and quantitative understanding of the primary processes that control the state of the atmosphere, weather, and climate. Students will practice observing, connecting physical processes with their governing equations, and will be able to apply what they learn to understand the weather here in Hawaii.

Topics: Atmospheric variables (temperature, pressure, density, humidity etc.), gas laws, radiation balance and processes, thermodynamics, conservation laws, laws of motion, clouds and precipitation, convection, atmospheric circulations, mid-latitude and tropical weather systems, severe weather, forecasting, and climate.


Atmospheric Science: ATMO 200 Companion Text edited by Alison Nugent:

Practical Meteorology: An Algebra-Based Survey of Atmospheric Science by Roland Stull:

This page will be updated throughout the Fall 2020 semester as the course progresses.

Lectures are recorded, and available on youtube (links provided below).

Youtube Playlist:

 Week 1 (8.24, 8.26, 8.28): Chapter 1

M: Course Intro, and What is an Atmosphere?

W: Retaining an atmosphere

F: S.I. Units, Atmospheric Pressure and Density, Ideal Gas Law

Week 2 (8.31, 9.2, 9.4): Chapter 1

M: Buoyancy

W: Hydrostatic Balance​

F: Atmospheric Temperature Structure, PSet 1 Due, PSet 2 assigned

Week 3 (9.7, 9.9, 9.11): Chapter 3, and Chapter 5

M:  -- No Class, Labor Day --

W: Lapse Rates & Stability

F: Inversions, Diurnal Changes in Stability, PSet 2 due, PSet 3 assigned

Week 4 (9.14, 9.16, 9.18): Chapter 4

M: Introduction to Moisture in the Atmosphere

W: Saturation, Latent Heating, and Influences on Stability


Tentative Course Plan (to get a sense of where the course is going):

F: Moisture & Saturation, PSet 3 due

Week 5 (9.21, 9.23, 9.25): Chapter 4, and Chapter 5

M: Exam Review

W: Exam 1 covering 1st 4 weeks of class, and PSets 1-3

F: Latent Heating, Moist Adiabatic Lapse Rate, Moist Stability, PSet 4 assigned

Week 6 (9.28, 9.30, 10.2): Chapters 4, 5, and 6

M: Exam 1 Returned, LCL, Skew-Ts

W: Cloud Types, Identifying Clouds & Tropopause in a Skew-T, Aerosols/CCN

F: Cloud Microphysics, PSet 4 Due, PSet 5 assigned

Week 7 (10.5, 10.7, 10.9): Chapters 5 and 7

M: Atmospheric Optics, Particle Scattering

W: Precipitation Processes

F: Wrap up, from raindrop shapes to cloud seeding, PSet 5 due, PSet 6 assigned

Week 8 (10.12, 10.14, 10.16): Chapter 2 and 11

M: Earth's energy budget

W: Black body radiation, Stefan-Boltzman Law

F: Coriolis Force, Global Circulation, PSet 6 Due

Week 9 (10.19, 10.21, 10.23): Chapter 2 and 11

M: Global Circulation Patterns

W: Exam 2 covering PSets 4-6

F: SOEST Open House, No Class, PSet 7 Assigned

Week 10 (10.26, 10.28, 10.30): Chapters 9 and 10

M: Connecting global circulation to global climates

W: Geostrophic Wind, synoptic charts

F: Wind force balances, cyclones, anti-cyclones, PSet 7 Due, PSet 8 Assigned


Week 11 (11.2, 11.4, 11.6): Chapters 12 and 13

M: Air Masses and Fronts

W: Fronts and Storms

F: Mid-latitude frontal cyclones and air mass thunderstorms, PSet 8 Due, PSet 9 Assigned

Week 12 (11.9, 11.11, 11.13):

M: Veterans Day, No Class

W: Convective Storms, synoptic charts, meteograms

F: From airmass thunderstorms to severe, PSet 9 Due, PSet 10 Assigned

Week 13 (11.16, 11.18, 11.20):

M: LFC & EL, Stability & Buoyancy, Tropical cyclones

W: Hawaiian weather phenomenon

F: Balloon Launch!, PSet 10 Due

Week 14 (11.23, 11.25, thanksgiving):

M: Exam 3 covering PSets 7-9

W: Intro to climate, PSet 11 Assigned

F: No Class, Thanksgiving!

Week 15 (11.30, 12.2, 12.4):


W: Greenhouse gases, atmospheric window

F:  One layer atmosphere and climate feedbacks, PSet 11 Due, PSet 12 Assigned

Week 16 (12.7, 12.9):

M: Climate feedbacks, climate regulators

W: Climate game, PSet 12 Due

Final Exam Date: Monday December 14th, 12-2 set by the University calendar.

© Updated August 2019

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