METR 101 Introduction to the Weather • 5 Cr.


Introduces the study of the weather, including atmospheric properties and processes that control temperature, wind, precipitation, and storm systems. Students also discuss weather forecasting, air pollution, and climate change. Format may include field trips and guest lectures.


After completing this class, students should be able to:

  • Diagram the vertical structure of the Earth's atmosphere and explain the concepts of density, pressure, and temperature, and how each varies vertically in the atmosphere.
  • List the major constituent gases of the atmosphere, and describe the special roles played by water in the Earth's atmosphere.
  • Visually identify and classify clouds into the four main cloud families and ten main types.
  • Summarize the concepts of energy and heat transfer in the atmosphere, and identify the primary components of the Earth-atmosphere heat balance.
  • Apply the concepts of forces and force balances in diagramming and describing the nature of atmospheric motions.
  • Show how fronts are formed at the boundaries between air masses, and explain how such boundaries contribute to the formation of various types of storms that occur on Earth, including mid-latitude cyclones, tropical cyclones, thunderstorms, and tornadoes.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of various weather forecasting techniques, and explain the main limitations inherent in weather predictions.
  • Describe the most important anthropogenic effects on the Earth's atmosphere, including air pollution and global warming.