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METO-111 Meteorology

This course is designed as an introduction to the study of weather, climate, and the atmosphere.  Topics will include solar and terrestrial radiation, temperature and humidity, cloud formation, air pressure and winds, circulation and weather patterns, tornadoes, hurricanes, air pollution, and climatic change.

This course is a Science core course, Science elective, and an Arts and Science elective.

Larry Brown

Overall Course Objectives | Major Course Topics | Course Format | Orientation |
Course Requirements | Texts and Materials | Exams | Course Web Site

Overall Course Objectives

Once you have completed this course you will be able to:

  • Describe the composition of the atmosphere, and how this composition has evolved over time.
  • Discuss the primary ways in which clouds form.
  • Identify different cloud types and explain their occurrence.
  • Discuss the vertical divisions of the atmosphere.
  • Exhibit an understanding of the physical concepts of density and buoyancy, and how these concepts relate to weather.
  • Explain the Coriollis Effect, and its implications for weather.
  • Explain the greenhouse effect, ozone depletion, and various types of air pollution.
  • Recognize global weather patterns and climatic zones and explain their distribution.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the relationships between the sun and earth which cause the seasons, solstices and equinoxes.
  • Discuss the difference between conduction, convection, and radiation transport of heat.
  • Discuss the concept of specific heat.
  • Explain the role of water as a heat reservoir and temperature modifier.
  • Discuss the windchill index.
  • Compare sensible heating and latent heating of the atmosphere.
  • Distinguish between heat and temperature.
  • Discuss how and why air pressure changes at the earth's surface.
  • Explain the formation of the strong air masses that affect U.S. weather.
  • Discuss the causes and effects of horizontal and vertical winds.
  • Relate adiabatic processes to relative humidity changes.
  • Discuss global wind patterns and important local winds.
  • Describe the different types of fog and precipitation, and explain why each occurs.
  • Recognize and explain optical phenomena in the atmosphere.
  • Discuss extratropical cyclones and anticyclones and their effect on U.S. weather.
  • Recognize the different types of frontal systems.
  • Discuss the life cycle of a thunderstorm.
  • Explain why lightning occurs.
  • Discuss the atmospheric and terrain conditions that spawn tornadoes.
  • Discuss the characteristics and distribution of hurricanes.
  • Interpret surface weather maps and upper air charts.
  • Forecast the weather for several east coast U.S. cities.

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Major Course Topics

List the major topics

  • Introduction to the Atmosphere
  • Solar and Terrestrial Radiation
  • Temperature
  • Moisture and Atmospheric Stability
  • Condensation and Precipitation cloud classification and varieties
  • Air Pressure and Winds
  • Circulation of the Atmosphere westerlies, jet streams, ocean currents, global weather
  • Air Masses
  • Weather Patterns fronts, cyclones
  • Thunderstorms and Tornadoes
  • Hurricanes
  • Weather Analysis and Forecasting weather charts, satellites
  • Air Pollution
  • Earth's Changing Climate volcanic activity, greenhouse warming
  • World Climates geography and climatic zones

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Course Format
  • Is not self-paced; homework and some quizzes are submitted regularly by Canvas e-mail with deadlines.
  • Does not require on-campus meetings except for four tests in the Test Center, and a mandatory orientation. (For more information on taking tests in the Test Center, see the Exam section below.)
  • Does not require real-time chats.

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This course does not have a face-to-face orientation.

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Course Requirements
  • Review the “What you should know before you register” section of the Distance Learning Homepage.
  • Four exams in the Test Center
  • Eight online quizzes
  • Three project papers, each requiring four weeks (both outside and internet) and a summary paper
  • There are 12 chapters from the book, and 12 homework assignments of about 12-15 questions.

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Texts and Materials Required:

 Textbook information:  To visit our bookstore's online sales site, please visit and follow the instructions for selecting textbooks.

Technical Requirements and Plug-Ins:

Review the Technical Requirements link above. The following plug-ins are required for this course:

  • Acrobat Viewer
  • Internet Explorer
  • PowerPoint Viewer
  • Windows Media Player
  • Word Viewer
  • Microsoft Word for homework, if you don’t have the full version of Microsoft Word

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For purposes of verification and assessing learning outcomes, this course has four proctored exams, including a final exam, at the HCC Test Center for students in the local region or at a regional institution for remote students. The exam will have a flexible window of time during which it needs to be taken rather than a single date and time.

If you have any questions or comments about this course, please send a message to
Larry Brown,

Last updated on 08-Oct-07
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