A ATM 500 Atmospheric Dynamics

Syllabus, Fall 2018

Course number: 7709 (3 credits)

Meets Tuesday, Thursday 10:15 - 11:35 AM in ES B13

Instructor: Brian Rose

Teaching assistant: Hing Ong

  • Email: hwang2@albany.edu
  • Office: ES 338
  • Office hours:
    • Drop-in homework and review sessions, Monday 10:25 - 11:25 AM in ES 223
    • Regular office hours, Tuesday 2 - 3 PM in ES 338

Course website:


From the bulletin: Fundamentals of geophysical fluid dynamics necessary to understand atmospheric motions; conservation laws, fundamental forces, rotational effects, scaling of the equations of motion, concept of balance, circulation, vorticity and divergence.

Grading and course requirements

  • Homework: 45%
  • Midterm exam: 20% (Thursday Oct. 18 in class)
  • Final exam: 35% (Wednesday Dec. 12, 10:30 AM - 12:30 PM)

This course will consist of classroom lectures (with occasional demonstrations), assigned reading, and regular homework assignments. All three components are necessary for building an understanding of this fascinating but complex subject.

Textbook (required):

Geoffrey K. Vallis (2017): Atmospheric and Oceanic Fluid Dynamics (2nd ed.), Cambridge University Press.

We will follow this text closely, and all students will need to follow the regular reading assignments. One copy of the book will be on reserve at the Science Library. Electronic versions of the figures are available here: http://empslocal.ex.ac.uk/people/staff/gv219/aofd/

The 1st edition (2006) is acceptable. I have noted a few differences in section numbers on the reading schedule.

Other useful books:

Some of these will be kept on reserve at the Science Library

  • Holton and Hakim (2013): An Introduction to Dynamic Meteorology (5th ed.), Elsevier Academic Press.
  • Benoit Cushman-Roisin and Jean-Marie Beckers (2011): Introduction to geophysical fluid dynamics: physical and numerical aspects, Academic Press.
  • John Marshall and R. Alan Plumb (2007): Atmosphere, Ocean and Climate Dynamics: an introductory text, Elsevier Academic Press.
  • Joseph Pedlosky (1987): Geophysical Fluid Dynamics (2nd ed.), Springer.
  • Jonathan E. Martin (2006): Mid-Latitude Atmospheric Dynamics: a first course, John Wiley and Sons.

About the course

The emphasis in this course in on deductive reasoning. That means working logically and systematically from premises to conclusion, rather than memorizing formulas and heuristics.

We will also emphasize clarity of communication, which is one of the key underpinnings of all science. In your homework and exam answers you should always strive to explain your method clearly and concisely. Unclear answers may not earn full credit, even if you give the correct answer.

Homework policy

There will be quasi-weekly homework assignments (about 11 total, but check the schedule as it may evolve through the semester). Homework will be due at the beginning of class on the stated due date, usually 1 week after it is handed out. LATE HOMEWORK will incur a penalty of 15% per day. Exception: each student is granted ONE freebee late day to be used on one assignment of their choice.

For these purposes "days" are defined as 24 hour periods after the due date and time, which is 10:15 am. Late assignments will not be accepted after solutions have been discussed in class.

Exceptions to the above policy for legitimate reasons (e.g. travel for conferences and fieldwork) will be considered on a case-by-case basis, but must be discussed in advance.

Homework can be submitted on paper or by email.

Academic integrity

We strive for an atmosphere of open inquiry and mutual respect. Class discussion in encouraged. Some collaboration and discussion with classmates on homework exercises is permissible, and sometimes even a good idea. However you must always submit your own work and your own thoughts, and give proper credit to others for previous work and ideas. It is every student's responsibility to become familiar with the standards of academic integrity at UAlbany. Claims of ignorance, of unintentional error, or of academic or personal pressures are not sufficient reasons for violations of academic integrity. Please review these policies in the Graduate Bulletin at http://www.albany.edu/graduatebulletin/requirements_degree.htm