Department Personnel








GEOG 105/106: Introduction to the Atmosphere.

Have you ever pondered these questions?

  • Why do some thunderstorms produce tornadoes and others do not?
  • Why do most hurricanes form in summer and autumn?
  • How come it is snowing in Chicago, and raining and 60F in Carbondale?
  • Why do fronts trigger severe weather?
  • Why are weather forecasts so often wrong?
  • Why is the sky blue?
  • How are societies impacted by climate ("changes in latitude, changes in attitude" -Jimmy Buffet)?
  • How will El Niño impact winter temperatures in Chicago?
  • Why do flowers bloom in Chicago before they do in DeKalb?
  • Why does it get cooler as you hike up a Colorado mountain?
  • Why does the wind blow more from the west than any other direction in Illinois?
  • Why should cows not stand under a tree during a thunderstorm?
  • Why does it rain when surface temperatures are below 320F?
  • Why does it get dark earlier during the winter months?

Learn the answers to these and other intriguing questions in GEOG 105/106. We will explore various atmospheric concepts, examine interesting weather phenomena, and identify how we can apply this information to decisions we face in our daily activities.

What General Education Objectives are met in Geography 105/106?

Through analogies presented in lecture and laboratory it helps students develop critical thinking skills. Introduces students to the scientific method as a means of understanding issues such as global climate change and the ozone hole. Integrates information from other related science fields such as geology, biology, physics, and chemistry. Develops written and computational skills through laboratory assignments, making use of computers and other instruments. Provides a historical review of meteorology, giving perspective to how a science develops and how science is shaped by societal and cultural needs.

Facts about Geography 105/106:

Course Offered: Both spring and fall semesters: 4 credit hours (you must register for both Geog 105 and Geog 106)

General Education: Fulfills a science/math distributive area requirement and matches the following general education goals: develop communication and technical skills, apply various modes of inquiry, and develop an understanding of integrated knowledge, through a combination of lecture material, readings, and laboratory assignments, and exams.

Course Goal: To provide non-meteorology majors with a basic understanding of how the atmosphere works and impacts our lives and environment.

GEOG M410/M510: Weather Dynamics I (4)

This course will introduce you to the fundamental equations that control the motions of the atmosphere based on the conservation laws of momentum, mass and energy. The basic equations will then be simplified to express relationships among wind speed, pressure and temperature fields in isobaric coordinates. Upon finishing this course, you are expected to know the origin and usefulness of each basic equation, be able to apply the relationships among meteorological variables to make quantitative calculations, explain the large-scale atmospheric motion and understand the basics of numerical prediction.

GEOG M411: Weather Dynamics II (4)

Course Objectives: to familiarize you with the foundation and methodologies of dynamics and be able to explain (1) atmospheric rotation based on circulation theorem, (2) vorticity and lee side trough, (3) vorticity equation and the use of it in short-term forecasting; (4) the use of geopotential tendency equation or quasi-geostrophic potential vorticity equation in synoptic forecasting and the use of w equation and distribution of Q vectors in estimating vertical velocity; and (5) the influence of turbulence to the atmospheric boundary layer evolution, and its effect to the transport of energy and water, and to wind profiles.

GEOG M430: Micrometeorology (3)

Course Objectives: learn radiation and energy budget at the earth surface, introduce the physical basis of boundary layer climates/energy and water vapor transfer, and their effect to climates of various surfaces. Field observations are conducted to measure net radiation, latent and sensible and ground heat fluxes over various surfaces to further the understanding of surface energy budget.

GEOG M485: Atmospheric Physics (3)

Course Objectives: This atmospheric physics course emphasizes on three major topics: (1) atmospheric thermodynamics; (2) cloud development and precipitation; and (3) radiative transfer and energy exchange within the earth-atmosphere system. Upon finishing the course, you should be able to explain the atmospheric thermodynamic processes and to quantify important atmospheric variables associated with cloud and precipitation from given observation. Further, you should have a physical and quantitative understanding on the importance of atmosphere in regulating the global energy budget and dynamic factors that influence the atmosphere.