Introduction to Meteorology - The COMET Program

Skew-T Mastery

Language: English
Publish Date: 2006-10-04
Skill Level: 2

Description:

Meteorologists typically examine atmospheric soundings in the course of preparing a weather forecast. The skew-T / log-P diagram provides the preferred method for analyzing these soundings. This module comprehensively examines the use of the skew-T diagram. It explores thermodynamic properties, convective parameters, stability assessment, and several forecast applications. The module is designed for both instruction and reference. It also comes with an interactive Web-based skew-T diagram that calculates several common forecast parameters.

Tephigram Mastery

Language: English
Publish Date: 2013-04-24
Skill Level: 2

Description: Since the advent of rawinsonde observations, thermodynamic diagrams have been used by meteorologists to analyze sounding data in the course of preparing their weather forecasts. This module comprehensively examines the use of the tephigram, widely used for over 60 years by meteorologists in the United Kingdom, Canada, and other countries throughout the world particularly in Europe and Africa. It explores thermodynamic properties, convective parameters, stability assessment, and several forecast applications. The module is designed for both instruction and reference. It also comes with an interactive Web-based tephigram that calculates several common forecast parameters.

Weather Radar Fundamentals

Language: English
Publish Date: 2012-03-21
Skill Level: 1

Description:

This 2-hour module presents the fundamental principles of Doppler weather radar operation and how to interpret common weather phenomena using radar imagery. This is accomplished via conceptual animations and many interactive radar examples in which the user can practice interpreting both radar reflectivity and radar velocity imagery. Although intended as an accelerated introduction to understanding and using basic Doppler weather radar products, the module can also serve as an excellent refresher for more experienced users.

Basics of Visible and Infrared Remote Sensing

Language: English
Publish Date: 2014-02-05
Skill Level: 1

Description:

This lesson presents the scientific and technical basis for using visible and infrared satellite imagery so forecasters can make optimal use of it for observing and forecasting the behaviour of the atmosphere. The concepts and capabilities presented are common to most international geostationary (GEO) and low-Earth orbiting (LEO) meteorological satellites since their inception, and continue to apply to both current and newer satellite constellations. The lesson reviews remote sensing and radiative transfer theory through a series of conceptual models. Discussions contain explanations of the different Meteosat First Generation imager channels and the phenomena that they can monitor individually and in combination. This lesson is an online version of the first ASMET (African Satellite Meteorology Education and Training) lesson published on CD-ROM in 1997. Conversion to HTML is courtesy of EUMETSAT. While the images have not been updated, the concepts are fundamental and remain relevant today. Most of the images are from Meteosat and depict weather conditions over Africa, although some GOES imagery is included as well.

Met 101: Introduction to the Atmosphere

Language: English
Publish Date: 2017-03-01
Skill Level: 0

Description: This lesson provides an overview of Earth’s atmosphere, its vertical structure, the fundamental forces acting on air, and how the atmosphere's composition affects the colors we see in the sky. The lesson also includes information about how Earth receives energy from the Sun as solar and infrared radiation, and the mechanisms for transferring heat around the globe. Learners will be introduced to the components of Earth’s water cycle, and also briefly explore the main types of systems used to observe the atmosphere.

Met 101: Basic Weather Processes

Language: English
Publish Date: 2017-02-24
Skill Level: 0

Description: This lesson provides an overview of basic weather processes, beginning with how the distribution of incoming solar energy helps to establish Earth’s atmospheric circulations. Learners will gain an understanding of the differences between weather and climate, and how Earth’s winds tend to have dominant patterns determined by region. An introduction to atmospheric stability, clouds, precipitation processes, and thunderstorm characteristics is also included, along with an introduction to weather impacts affecting aviation operations.

Skywarn Spotter Convective Basics

Language: English
Publish Date: 2011-04-22
Skill Level: 0

Description: The "SKYWARN® Spotter Convective Basics" module will guide users to a basic understanding of convective storms. Through three different scenarios, you will cover reporting and proper communication of local storm reports to the National Weather Service (NWS), personal safety during these events, and field identification of convective storm hazards. After completing the scenarios, you will be given the opportunity to practice identifying storm features from a spectrum of photos.

Space Weather Basics, 2nd Edition

Language: English
Publish Date: 2005-11-11
Skill Level: 1

Description:

This lesson presents an overview of space weather processes, their impacts on Earth and human activities, and the technologies used for forecasting space weather events. The lesson goal is to provide NWS forecasters a basic understanding of space weather and the operations of NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC). It will be of interest to a general audience as well.

Introduction to Climatology

Language: English
Publish Date: 2008-09-22
Skill Level: 1

Description: This module provides an overview of climatology, the study of climate. The module begins by examining the drivers that combine to create the climate regions of the world—from those at the mesoscale (local) level to those at the synoptic-scale (continental) and global-scale levels. Examples include locally dominant winds, air masses, fronts, ocean currents, Earth’s rotation around the sun, and latitude. Each discussion of a climate driver has an ‘example/exploration’ segment, where the information is applied to several cities. The module also examines a scheme for classifying the world’s climate zones, the sources and uses of climate information, and some of its limitations. The module is intended for a wide range of users, from forecasters and scientists to those in business and government as well as the general public—in short, anyone interested in learning about climatology. Some familiarity with basic meteorology is useful although not required.

MJO, Equatorial Waves, and Tropical Cyclogenesis

Language: English
Publish Date: 2012-11-13
Skill Level: 2

Description: This case study focuses on monitoring of the MJO and equatorial waves and their role in tropical cyclogenesis. Learners will use conceptual models to understand the structure of the MJO and equatorial waves. They will identify and monitor those circulations using geostationary satellite images. 850-hPa synoptic analysis is used to track equatorial Rossby and mixed Rossby-gravity waves. Focus is on May 2002, a period when an MJO and associated equatorial waves spawned sets of twin cyclones over the Indian Ocean. This case study is similar to a synoptic meteorology laboratory exercise but is designed for use in an online course.

Tropical Cyclone Intensity Analysis

Language: English
Publish Date: 2014-05-15
Skill Level: 2

Description: This lesson provides guidance for operational forecasters needing to combine different intensity methods to determine the intensity of a tropical cyclone. Each of the intensity methods is summarized, focusing on both strengths and weaknesses. These methods include the Dvorak technique, surface observations, scatterometry, the Advanced Dvorak Technique (ADT), microwave sounders (AMSU), SATCON, and subjective interpretation of passive microwave patterns. Consideration of the previous intensity estimate and forecast is also examined. Three case studies task the learner with combining the various methods to derive appropriate intensity estimates and a final quiz tests learner knowledge to demonstrate successful completion of the lesson.

Tropical Mesoscale and Local Circulations

Language: English
Publish Date: 2012-11-27
Skill Level: 2

Description:

This interactive module is part of an online university-level tropical synoptic meteorology course, which helps international meteorologists meet basic instructional requirements. In the module, we discuss:

  • Mesoscale, thermally-forced circulations (i.e. land-sea breeze and mountain-valley breeze), including
    • How they are formed and their diurnal cycle
    • Factors that modify thermally forced circulations
    • The weather associated with thermally forced circulations, particularly convection and other significant weather
  • Interactions of mesoscale, thermally forced circulations with other atmospheric phenomena, including
    • Intersection of mesoscale circulations and of mesoscale circulations with convective outflow boundaries
    • Thermally forced circulation interactions with monsoonal and trade wind flows
  • The impact of thermally forced and interacting circulations at various scales on the diurnal cycle of precipitation in the tropics, and
  • A case example from the Lake Victoria basin, showing complex thermally forced circulations, outflow boundaries, and synoptic scale flow.

Jet Streams

Language: English
Publish Date: 2012-11-13
Skill Level: 1

Description: This module describes the general characteristics of upper-level jet streams (Polar Jet, Subtropical Jet, and Tropical Easterly Jet) and two major tropical low-level wind maxima (Somali Jet, African Easterly Jet). Included are discussions of their formation, maintenance, influence on synoptic weather, and role in the general circulation.

Tropical Mesoscale Convective Systems

Language: English
Publish Date: 2013-05-14
Skill Level: 2

Description:

Mesoscale Convective Systems (MCSs) occur globally and can account for significant percentages of the annual precipitation in some locations. MCSs are responsible for flooding as well as damaging surface winds in some instances. Thus, it is important for forecasters to understand when, where, and how MCSs develop and maintain themselves.

This module covers all modes of MCSs with a strong focus on the tropics and the different aspects that brings to MCS development, maintenance, and structure. It describes conceptual models of MCSs and the dynamical and physical processes that influence their evolution. Also included are examples of MCSs from various areas of the tropics.

Weather Observing Fundamentals

Language: English
Publish Date: 2014-03-11
Skill Level: 1

Description: "Weather Observing Fundamentals" provides guidance for U.S. Navy Aerographer's Mates, Quartermasters, and civilian observers tasked with taking and reporting routine, special, and synoptic observations. Although the focus of this lesson is on shipboard observations, much of the content applies to land-based observing and reporting as well. The lesson details standard procedures for taking accurate weather observations and for encoding those observations on COMNAVMETOCCOM Report 3141/3. Exercises throughout the lesson and four weather identification drills at the end provide learners with opportunities to practice and build their skills.

The lesson covers a large amount of content. You may wish to work through the material in multiple sessions.

Flow Interaction with Topography

Language: English
Publish Date: 2001-01-01
Skill Level: 1

Description: This is a foundation module in the Mesoscale Meteorology Primer series. Topics covered include an overview of factors that control whether air will go up and over a mountain or be forced around it, the role of potential and kinetic energy, the Froude number and what it tells you, and air flow blocked by topography.

Principles of Convection I: Buoyancy and CAPE

Language: English
Publish Date: 2002-07-24
Skill Level: 1

Description:

This module provides a brief overview of Buoyancy and CAPE. Topics covered include the origin of atmospheric buoyancy, estimating buoyancy using the CAPE and Lifted Index, factors that affect buoyancy including entrainment of mid-level air, water loading, convective inhibition, and the origin of convective downdrafts. This module delivers instruction with audio narration, rich graphics, and a companion print version.

Principles of Convection II: Using Hodographs

Language: English
Publish Date: 2003-10-28
Skill Level: 1

Description: This lesson provides a basic understanding of how to plot and interpret hodographs, with application to convective environments. Most of the material previously appeared in the CD lesson, Anticipating Convective Storm Structure and Evolution, developed with Dr. Morris Weisman. Principles of Convection II: Using Hodographs includes a concise summary for quick reference and a final exam to test your knowledge. The lesson comes with audio narration, rich graphics, and a companion print version.

Principles of Convection III: Shear and Convective Storms

Language: English
Publish Date: 2003-11-18
Skill Level: 1

Description:

This module discusses the role of wind shear in the structure and evolution of convective storms. Using the concept of horizontal vorticity, the module demonstrates how shear enhances uplift, leading to longer-lived supercell and multicell storms. The module also explores the role of shear in the development of mesoscale convective systems, including bow echoes and squall lines. Most of the material in this module previously appeared in the COMET modules developed with Dr. Morris Weisman. This version includes a concise summary for quick reference and a final exam to test your knowledge. The module comes with audio narration, rich graphics, and a companion print version.

A Convective Storm Matrix: Buoyancy/Shear Dependencies

Language: English
Publish Date: 2003-04-29
Skill Level: 2

Description: In order to help forecasters build a strategy for anticipating convective storm structures, their evolution, and the potential for severe weather, A Convective Storm Matrix provides learners the opportunity for extensive exploration of the relationship between a storm's environment and its structure. The matrix is composed of 54 four-dimensional numerical simulations based on the interactions of 16 different hodographs and 4 thermodynamic profiles. By comparing animated displays of these simulations, learners are able to discern the influences of varying buoyancy and vertical wind shear profiles on storm structure and evolution. A series of questions guides the exploration and helps to reveal key storm/environment relationships evident in the matrix. A synopsis of the physical processes that control storm structure, as well as the current conceptual models of key convective storms types, is included for reference. Subject matter expects for A Convective Storm Matrix: Buoyancy/Shear Dependencies include Mr. Steve Keighton, Mr. Ed Szoke, and Dr. Morris Weisman. Note: This module was originally published on CD-ROM in March 1996 (v1.1) and re-released in 2001 as v1.3 for Microsoft Windows users only. CD-ROM version 1.3 works fairly well with Windows 98/ME/NT4/2000 but has reported to be problematic with Windows XP. Users of version 1.1 should obtain the patch located at http://www.comet.ucar.edu/help/ModuleSupport/matrix_problem.htm or use the new, Web-based module.

Jet Streak Circulations

Language: English
Publish Date: 2005-04-25
Skill Level: 3

Description: This Webcast is based on a presentation given by Dr. James T. Moore of Saint Louis University at the 5th Annual MSC/COMET Winter Weather Workshop on 30 November 2004 in Boulder, Colorado. Dr. Moore reviews many aspects of jet streak dynamics including convergence/divergence, ageostrophic winds, propagation, and coupled jets.

NWP Essentials: NWP and Forecasting

Language: English
Publish Date: 2015-04-08
Skill Level: 1

Description:

This lesson introduces forecasters to the complex and multifaceted process for creating a forecast. It also discusses how NWP fits into that process. In addition, the lesson provides a broad overview of the basic components of NWP and how they combine to produce a model forecast.

NWP Essentials: Precipitation and Clouds

Language: English
Publish Date: 2015-04-08
Skill Level: 2

Description:

Both the processes of convection and of rainfall formation are typically subgrid scale, and require parameterisation. This lesson examines two types of precipitation parameterisation used by models:

  • Convective parameterisation
  • Microphysics

The lesson also discusses how to identify when these parameterisations are not performing well and steps to address the issues that arise.