Atmospheric Physics

University of Reading

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Atmospheric Physics

  • Host University

    University of Reading

  • Location

    Reading, England

  • Area of Study

    Atmospheric Science, Environmental Science

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites

    Pre-requisites: MT11C Introduction to Meteorology MT11D Weather and Climate Fundamentals

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    Summary module description:
    The fundamental processes in cloud physics and atmospheric radiative transfer.

    To provide the student with an understanding of the physical processes that interact with dynamics in weather systems and climate, emphasising clouds and radiative transfer

    Assessable learning outcomes:
    By the end of this module, the student should be able to:
    Describe and explain the formation of cloud particles on aerosol particles, the glaciation process, and the development of precipitation , and have an appreciation of how these processes are represented in numerical weather prediction models.
    Quantitatively describe the radiation field in the atmosphere and the bulk properties of the atmosphere that determine the interaction with the radiation field, and describe and calculate scattering, absorption and emission of radiation by atmospheric gases and particles.
    Explain the origin of rainbows and the visual appearance of clouds

    Additional outcomes:
    The student will be able to look at the sky with enhanced appreciation.

    Outline content:
    Lecture contents:
    Water vapour and aerosols in the atmosphere; nucleation and growth of cloud droplets, the mechanisms of cloud glaciation, development of precipitation as rain, snow, graupel and hail, and their representation in forecasting models; electrification of storms, orographic enhancement of precipitation and weather modification; definition of basic radiation quantities, solar and thermal infrared emission of radiation, introduction to scattering and absorption, single and multiple scattering, spectroscopy, and absorption and emission of radiation, the radiative transfer equation and heating rates.
    Demonstration content:
    cloud formation; absorption vs scattering; single vs multiple scattering; rainbows

    Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
    Thirty-two 50 minute lectures. Problem solving exercises are either free standing or incorporated within lectures. Approximately six assignments with problems to illustrate and apply lecture material.

    Summative Assessment Methods:

    Written exam 50%
    Set exercise 50%

    Other information on summative assessment:
    Coursework will comprise of approximately 6 assignments

    Formative assessment methods:
    One non-assessed problem sheet in the Spring term.

    Penalties for late submission:
    The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.
    where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
    where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

    The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at:
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:
    2 hours

    Requirements for a pass:
    A mark of 40% overall

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Some courses may require additional fees.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.

ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) credits are converted to semester credits/quarter units differently among U.S. universities. Students should confirm the conversion scale used at their home university when determining credit transfer.

Please reference fall and spring course lists as not all courses are taught during both semesters.

Please note that some courses with locals have recommended prerequisite courses. It is the student's responsibility to consult any recommended prerequisites prior to enrolling in their course.


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