AOSS 441 - Meteorology and Climate of the Rockies
Section: 201
Term: SU 2009
Subject: Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences (AOSS)
Department: CoE Climate and Space
3 (Non-LSA credit).
Requirements & Distribution:
With permission of instructor.
Advisory Prerequisites:
AOSS 320, 321, 323.
This course counts toward the 60 credits of math/science required for a Bachelor of Science degree.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

Get hands-on experience making meteorological measurements and analyzing climate data in the beautiful Teton Mountains! In AOSS 441, you'll be introduced to principles of atmospheric and environmental science — with the Rockies as your field laboratory. With its diverse geological and climatic variations, this is an ideal location to develop and apply an understanding of meteorological processes to define micro-climate variations in the mountains and to grasp the importance of mountainous regions on Earth's climate. The class will also visit the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) to learn from scientists there techniques for boundary layer measurements using advanced measurement and sounding systems, and to learn about career opportunities in the Atmospheric and Climate Sciences. The course is designed for majors in atmospheric, geological, and environmental sciences to gain field-based knowledge and experience of Rocky Mountain climates and meteorology. The field course will be team taught by professors from several different disciplines and extensive field research experience. You'll learn about and use of mobile technology and sensors together with state-of-the-art mesoscale meteorological modeling tools for weather prediction in the mountains.

Course Curriculum: This course is taught in modules as a hands-on research experience. At the end of each module a project write-up is due with some projects completed in small groups of 3-4, and others are completed by students individually. A list of probable projects is given below, but they may change somewhat as instructors develop new projects.

Rocky Mountain Geology and Ecology: Through field observations students learn basic rock identification, the geologic history of the Rockies, and how geology and glaciations affect the chemistry of streams and soils, and the hydrological cycle of the Rockies. Students integrate their knowledge of mountain meteorology and geology to understand the driving factors behind five distinct mountain ecosystems.

Mountain Meteorology: Using on-site weather measurements in camp and portable meteorological towers placed in various mountain passes and on mountain tops, as well as flying an instrumented weather balloon, students learn the basic principles of boundary layer meteorology in complex terrans. Students will also learn cloud identification and dynamics with an emphasis on topographic clouds and cloud measurements.

Meteorological Instrumentation: Students will learn how to set-up and calibrate meteorological sensors and air quality monitoring instruments. Special projects to measure the impacts of local activities such as biomass burning or other extraordinary events will be also carried out.

Climates of the Rockies: Students will learn about the various climate zones in the Rockies and travel to and make measurements atop mountains, on snow fields, and along other mountain zones to learn first hand about the unique micro-climates and ecosystems of the Rockies.

AOSS 441 - Meteorology and Climate of the Rockies
Schedule Listing
201 (LEC)
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