ATSC 404 · Dynamic Meteorology

Dynamic principles governing atmospheric motions on a rotating planet. Simplified mathematical models of atmospheric flow based on scale analysis. Application to synoptic-scale and general circulation of the troposphere. [3-0-0] Prerequisite: One of PHYS 312, MATH 316 and one of EOSC 250, MATH 217, MATH 317.

Course Availability & Schedule

Course Webpage

 Alternate year course

Odd year start – Term 2


Valentina Radic


Required: J.R. Holton "An Introduction to Dynamic Meteorology", 4th edition, Academic Press, 2004. (PDF available online, see Syllabus) 

Or: J.R. Holton & G. J. Hakim "An Introduction to Dynamic Meteorology", 5th edition, Academic Press, 2013. 532 pp

Course Content

2016 : Syllabus

2014 : Syllabus

2008 : Syllabus 

2006 : ATSC 404 course content

Lecture Topics

Day 1 (Jan 4): Intro presentation Math Assignment (due on Friday 8th Jan in class)

Day 2 (Jan 6): Fundamental Forces

Day 3 (Jan 8): Hydrostatic Balance (Math Review Quiz)

Day 4 (Jan 11): Rotating Frame of Reference

Day 5 (Jan 13): Apparent Forces 

Day 6 (Jan 15): Problems (Homework due on Monday 18th Jan in class)

Day 7 (Jan 18):  Total Derivative, Momentum Equation (Homework keys; graded homework due by Friday)

Day 8 (Jan 20): Momentum Equation in Cartesian Coordinates, Scale Analysis of Momentum Equation 

Day 9 (Jan 22): Problems (Homework due on Monday 25th Jan in class)

Day 10 (Jan 25): Scale Analysis of Momentum Eq.: Geostrophic and Hydrostatic Approximation (Homework keys; graded homework due by Friday)

Day 11 (Jan 27): Continuity Equation 

Day 12 (Jan 29): Problems (Homework due on Monday 1st Feb in class)

Day 13 (Feb 1): Thermodynamic Energy Equation (Homework keys; graded homework due by Friday)

Day 14 (Feb 3): Convective (In)Stability, Potential Temperature 

Day 15 (Feb 5): Problems (Homework due on Wednesday 10th Feb in class)

Day 16 (Feb 10): Basic Equations in Isobaric Coordinates (Homework keys; graded homework due by Friday)

Day 17 (Feb 12): Balanced Flow: Geostrophic Vortex, Cyclostrophic Vortex, Gradient Wind (Homework due on Monday 22nd Feb in class)

Day 18 (Feb 22): Streamlines and Trajectories, Thermal Wind (Homework keys; graded homework due by Friday)

Day 19 (Feb 24): More on Thermal Wind and Gradient Wind

Day 20 (Feb 26): Problems (Homework due on Monday 29th Feb in class)

Day 21 (Feb 29): Vorticity, Vorticity Equation (Homework keys; graded homework due by Friday)

Day 22 (Mar 2): Scale Analysis of Vorticity Equation 

Day 23 (Mar 4): Conservation of Barotropic Potential Vorticity, Problems (Homework due on Monday 7th Mar in class)

Day 24 (Mar 7): More on Barotropic Potential Vorticity, Quasi-Geostophic Analysis (Homework keys; graded homework due by Friday)

Day 25 (Mar 9): More on Quasi-Geostrophic Analysis 

Day 26 (Mar 11): Problems (Homework due on Monday 14th Mar in class)

Day 27 (Mar 14): Waves: Basic Concepts, Dispersion and Group Velocity (Homework keys; graded homework due by Friday)

Day 28 (Mar 16): Perturbation Theory for Linearising the Governing PDEs 

Day 29 (Mar 18): Shallow-water Gravity Waves; Problems (Homework due on Monday 21st Mar in class)

Day 30 (Mar 21): Rossby Waves (Homework keys; graded homework due by Wednesday 30th Mar) 


See Syllabus 2016.

Extra material:

Matlab Assignments from 2014:

Assignment 1: Coriolis (codes)

Assignment 2: Thermodynamics (codes)

Assignment 3: Vorticity (codes)

Assignment 4: Waves (codes)

Assignment 5: Baroclinic instability (codes)