Instructors: Cecilia Bitz
The atmosphere is part
of a complex system that is often best investigated with models.
Atmospheric models offer the opportunity to probe real phenomena, and
models can be used as a learning tool to explore ideas though "what if"
experimentation. This course will provide an overview of what weather
and climate models entail, and how these models are used in the
atmospheric sciences. Students will learn to run stateoftheart
models used for research in the atmospheric sciences. The course will
cover techniques to visualize and analyze atmospheric phenomena.
Students will be introduced to numerical methods and highperformance
computing. Prerequisite: MATH 124126, PHYS 121122, and ONE of the
following ATMS 101,111,211,301; ASTR 150,321; or ESS 201.
We will likely spend every Thursday in the computing lab for handson
activities. The computer lab is room ATG 623.
The
objective for this course are to learn how weather and climate models
are
applied to solving problems in atmospheric sciences.
To learn
modeling and visualization of model output as resources for
professional careers in the environmental sciences. To learn
the basics in numerical methods and highperformance computing. To
learn a
phenomenological approach to understanding complex problems.To empower undergraduates with research skills for
independent learning and to assist with university research projects.
Unfortunately there is
no perfect text book for this course for all the topics. The required
text is "A Climate Modeling Primer" by McGuffie and Henderson Sellers.
There will be supplementary reading material handed out in class.
If you feel the text
book is too expensive, I think an article
by
the
same
authors
might
serve
as
a
good
alternative.
Weekly exercises will
involve running, analyzing, and interpreting models. When running a
model for the first time in the course, designing a reasonable
experiment, successfully setting it up and running the model will be
the main goal of an exercise. In subsequent weeks, students will be
judged on their interpretation of the results.Thus homework will be
evaluated for a combination of following instructions, application of
scientific method, and analysis of results. Exams will test students'
understanding of reading and lecture materials. The course grade will
be weighted 50% from homework and 50% from participation, midterm and
final exam. A final project may be substituted for the final exam for
everyone, depending on the class opinion at about midterm.
Late policy  I will
allow each of you to turn in one assignment late, but you must give me
notice by email at least 24 hours in advance of the due date. I may
allow more than one under special circumstances, but I want to
discourage getting into the habit of turning in work late. It is not
wise for you to get behind, and it makes grader more difficult for me.
Week 
Lectures 
Exercises 
Reading 
1 
Introduction to numerical modeling in
atmospheric sciences. Basics of turning equations of motion,
thermodynamics, etc. into
numerical schemes. Boundary value problems versus initial value
problems. Basics of using matlab and writing a simple script. lecture1.pdf 
HW1
due 1/17 basics of matlab and finite difference 
McG&HS Ch 1 
2 
Introduction to CAM. The value of idealized
studies. Introduction to first case study: Baroclinic wave. Analyzing
model output from the case study, model validation. lecture2.pdf 
HW2
due 1/24 Optional Reading (rather advanced) by Jablonowsky and Williams (2006) about this exercise. HW2 exemplar answers New! 
Chapter on weather modeling handed out in
class. 
3 
What is a
parameterization? What is resolved in a model? What is uncertainty?
Introduction to sensitivity studies. Hypothesis testing to investigate
the case study. Few lecture notes this week since I mostly wrote on the
board and demo'd software. lecture3.pdf 
HW3
due 1/31 HW3 results New! 

4 
Examples of research
using models for mesoscale and synoptic scale applications. Ensemble
forecasts. Analysis of an ensemble. lecture4.pdf Lorenz model matlab script, also get this one 
HW4
due 2/7 Katrina animation 

5 
Blocking and predictability lecture5.pdf 
HW5
due 2/14 discussion of same event with animations 

6 
Midterm
in class on Tuesday 
HW6
due 2/21 
Reading for next week paper by McG&HS or 
7 
Climate modeling
introduction. Planetary atmospheres and energy
balance
modeling. lecture6.pdf and written notes 
HW7
due 2/28 HW7answers 
McG&HS Ch
5 
8 2/26 2/28 
Energy balance climate
modeling lecture7.pdf and written notes PLEASE BE AWARE,
there are a few mentions of sign error corrections in the written
notes. They refer to 2011. I did not make any errors when writing on
the board in class nor in the EBM model itself that I know of in 2013.
I'm sorry I didn't erase them in the notes. I only just realized on my
flight today and now I can't change them. 
HW8 due
3/7 HW8answers 

9 
Climate Feedbacks and why
climate models disagree about
future warming 
HW9answers 

10 
Examples of climate research using CAM.
Class summary. 
HW10 due 3/20 
Optional
reading Hawkins_Sutton_2008 on
Climate Model Uncertainty 
3/20 
10:3012:20 Final exam in class 
Goosse H., P.Y. Barriat, W. Lefebvre,
M.F. Loutre and V. Zunz. Introduction
to
Climate
Dynamics
and
Climate
Modeling Free Web Book.
Durran, D., Numerical Methods for Fluid
Dynamics with Application to Geophysics, Springer, 2010. Available
by
pdf from UW network. An advanced book. The first three chapters
are relevant for homework 1.
Hartmann, D., Global Physical Climatology, Elsevier Academic Press, 1994
McGuffie, K., and A. HendersonSellers, A climate modeling primer, 2nd ed., John Wiley and Sons, 2005.
Robinson, W., Modeling dynamic climate systems, Springer, 2001.
Wallace, J. M. and Hobbs, Atmospheric
Science: An Introductory Survey. 2nd ed. 2006.
Washington, W., and C. Parkinson, An
introduction to threedimensional
climate modeling, 2nd ed., University Science Books, 2004.
http://www.theweatherprediction.com/
A web site with useful
information about weather prediction.
What is in a typical Earth
System
Model, here the French IPSL model
My own web site with
animations from an ultrahigh resolution climate model
