UBC  ATSC 201 - Meteorology of Storms

Help


In the News & Notes link above, you will find important Tips to make the start of term easier for you.



Software we use in this course

Canvas learning management system - warm-up quizzes, midterm exam, portal to which submit your homework, grades, discussion boards, "inbox" messaging/email system.  For more info, here is a UBC  Canvas Student Guide pdf.
(Free for UBC students.  It is a web-app that you access via your normal web browser. So you don't need to download any special software to your computer.)

Zoom video meeting software - for office hours.  For more info, here is a UBC  Zoom Student Guide pdf.
(Free for UBC students, when you access it via Canvas. When you access it the first time via your normal web browser, it will give you the option to download a Zoom app to your computer.  The Zoom app is recommended, but if you prefer not to download the app (or if your computer doesn't let you), then you can still use your normal web browser. )

iClicker-Student  - personal response system, that you use during class meetings to respond to multiple-choice polling questions .  This iClicker questions count a large portion of your grade, so you need to use iClicker-Student.  For more info, here is a UBC  iClicker Student Guide.
(Free for UBC students when you access it through Canvas.)

Piazza - Discussion boards, if students prefer this over the Canvas Discussion boards.
(Free for UBC students as a web-app using your normal web browser.  Access it initially via Canvas).

Excel - Spreadsheet software that you will use for almost all the homework assignments.
(Free for UBC students.  Get Microsoft Office 365 from  https://it.ubc.ca/services/desktop-print-services/software-licensing/office-365-students )

CamScanner-  (optional) To use your smart-phone or iPad camera to take high-quality scans of handwritten homework and other documents that you want to turn in, such as weather maps and other diagrams that you draw.  This works much much better than just taking a photo with your smartphone camera.
(The free version of CamScanner is satisfactory for this course.  See  https://www.camscanner.com/ )

Web Browser - Almost any browser is satisfactory. 
(Free. https://www.google.ca/chrome/  )



Excel Tutorials

Tutorial 1.  How to create a spreadsheet to calculate a table of numbers, plot them in a graph, switch which variables are plotted on the horizontal and vertical axes, and change the vertical axis to a flipped pressure scale in log coordinates with the largest pressure at the bottom of the graph.

Tutorial 2.  Example of plotting multiple curves on the same graph, using trig functions, and more tips for debugging your work to get the correct answer.  Shows how to calculate solar elevation angle vs local time, from Chapter 2 of Practical Meteorology.

Because this video is long and has large file sizes, I split it into two parts: (a) and (b). 

  1. HD video of part a (mp4, 406 MB.  Could take several minutes to download, so wait before you try to play it.)
  2. HD video of part b (mp4, 338 MB.  Could take several minutes to download, so wait before you try to play it.)

And here are the same videos, but at lower resolutions:

  1. low-res part a (mp4, 157 MB.  Could still take several minutes to download, so wait before you try to play it.)
  2. low-res part b (mp4, 127 MB.  Wait until it fully downloads before you try to play it.)

Tips for Debugging Excel

Here are some common mistakes that you can be on guard for:
  1. incorrect units. (To help catch these errors, always write the units in an adjacent cell in Excel.)
  2. failure to use cell absolute addresses where needed. (where both row and column are held fixed) 
  3. failure to select the "x-y scatter" chart when making graphs, even if you want points to be connected by lines. (Never use the "line" graph.)
Debugging method:
As was shown in the videos, if the equation in a cell is giving a bad result, click once in the cell, and then click in the formula bar.  This will cause the cells in the spreadsheet to be color coded to match the colors of terms in the formula bar.  This way, you can check to see if your formula is pointing to the correct cells.  You can fix bad cells by typing in the correct row and column ID for the cell, and adding dollar signs ($) if needed to make it an absolute reference.



Canvas Issues

Online Guides for Students: https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-10701

UBC ITSC Helpdesk:  https://it.ubc.ca/got-question-about-it-products-and-support#helpdesk

There is a drop-in Help room in Koerner Library, or you can open a ticket online or by phone.



Key Web pages for this course

1) The overall course website is 
https://www.eoas.ubc.ca/courses/atsc201/

2) From that site, if you click on the assignments tab, it takes you to
https://www.eoas.ubc.ca/courses/atsc201/A201Assignments/index.html

3) Then click on the link for the current Week.  Such as Week 1.  This takes you to the detailed schedule for the whole week:
https://www.eoas.ubc.ca/courses/atsc201/A201Assignments/A201Assignments01.html

A legend at the bottom of this page explains the abbreviations that I use for the exercises.

4) The textbook is free online.
https://www.eoas.ubc.ca/books/Practical_Meteorology/

The homework exercises are at the end of each chapter.


5) For the Warm-up Exercises on "UBC Canvas" find it at

https://canvas.ubc.ca/

This Canvas web site also has the online Discussion Board for this course, where you can ask and answer questions with your fellow classmates. 

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Many students made similar mistakes in Homework 2. Some tips:

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Tips for Getting the Right Answer:

  1. For any equation, find the solved example (Sample Application) in the book, and do it on your own.  It helps if you recreate the solved example on your own spreadsheet, because then you can check your spreadsheet answer with the answer in the book.  After you have debugged your spreadsheet, then ...
  2. Then, for most exercises, all you need to do is change a few numbers in the spreadsheet for the exercise that was assigned.
  3. But don't forget, when you do your actual exercise, carry your units along in a separate spreadsheet cell next to each number ... don't just add them at the end and hope they come out right. 
  4. If you got the wrong answer or units, but claim that you checked them and they were OK, then you get double marks off for that part of the problem.
  5. For your Discussion or Exposition, you will need to write your own.  Do not copy the one from the textbook.

Grades on Homework:

If you have a question about how your homework was marked, please contact Prof. Stull directly. My room, phone, and email are listed in the Home page for this course.

Skipped Assignments:

Because I want you to earn  the highest grade possible in ALL your courses, I have included some flexibility in the marking scheme.  As you can see in the Evaluation link under the Home directory, you don't need to complete all of the Homework, Warm-up Questions, and Clicker Participation to earn full marks.  Also, there are bonus marks for the course.  That way, if you have an important term paper or exam in some other course, you can skip an assignment in my course to help you budget your time better.  But be careful when you do this, because you will still be responsible for understanding all the topics for the midterm and final exams.  Any assignment turned in late will not be marked, and will count as one of the "skipped" assignments.  So if you are planning to do an assignment, please turn it in on time.  If you haven't finished all of the assignment, turn in the portion that you have finished to get partial marks, and to get feedback from the marker.