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 306: Severe and Hazardous Weather (3)

This course examines the fundamentals of atmospheric phenomena with an emphasis on understanding concepts and processes behind severe manifestations of weather and climate. Physical and dynamical aspects of extratropical cyclones, winter weather phenomena, thunderstorm phenomena, tropical weather systems, and large-scale, longer-term weather events are analyzed. The course is designed so that students will develop an understanding of the important interactions between the evolution of the sciences of climatology and meteorology, technological advances, and the impacts of extreme weather and climate events. Case studies are employed to investigate human, economic, and environmental consequences of extreme weather and climate events. Students will be a unique position to apply what they have learned immediately to weather events occurring at home, across the country, or around the world.
The course includes analyses of humankind's impacts on the environment and how these impacts contribute to increased severity and risk of these phenomena. For example, we explore how flooding is exacerbated due to stream channeling and damming by humans. We examine how tornado and hurricane risk is escalating due to a number of societal factors, including rapid population growth and expansion, together with increases in wealth, development, and urbanization. Course is offered every semester.

GEOG 406/506: Natural Hazards and Environmental Risk (3)

This course investigates how the normal processes of the earth-atmospheric system concentrates their energies and deal disastrous blows to humans and their structures. Geophysical processes such as earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, tsunamis, tornadoes, volcanoes, drought, and windstorms are explored. In particular, we examine the spatial and temporal factors of these hazards, the physical earth-atmosphere system processes that create these hazards, and the societal aspects that effect and, in many cases, compound the disasters associated with these natural phenomenon. Historical and contemporary case studies are utilized to investigate the interaction between society and natural hazards. Course is offered every fall.

GEOG 498/600: GIS Applications in Meteorology and Climatology (3)

This seminar explores, evaluates, and applies geographic information systems in meteorology, climatology, and related geo- and social sciences.

MET 300: Meteorology (4)

Study of the physical and dynamic processes involved in atmospheric science. Radiation and energy budgets, thermodynamics, stability, water vapor and clouds, pressure, winds, and circulation theorems. This rigorous course begins to integrate aspects of calculus and physics that are involved with meteorological processes into course lectures, homework and exams. This four-credit course includes three hours of lecture and a two-hour lab each week. Prerequisites for this course include GEOG 105 and GEOG 106, MATH 229, and PHYS 250A. For non-majors this course can be combined with other courses to count towards the B.S. degree requirements. Course is offered every fall.

MET 320: Synoptic Meteorology (3)

Introduction to meteorological codes, analysis, forecasting techniques, and the theory of synoptic-scale weather systems. Basic principles of atmospheric thermodynamics, kinematics, and numerical weather prediction. Two hours of lecture and two hours of laboratory.

MET 444/544: Mesoscale Meteorology (3)

This course covers the most active area of research in meteorology – the structure, evolution, forcing, and prediction of weather phenomena with short spatial and temporal scales. Discussions concentrate around three basic themes: winter weather phenomena, severe convective storms, and heavy rain and flash flood processes. We spend most of our time investigating convective phenomena. Observing systems and numerical weather prediction are applied to mesoscale phenomena such as severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, and heavy snow. The overall objective of the course is to develop student's ability to apply fundamental principles of the atmospheric sciences to diagnose, understand, and predict mesoscale weather phenomena. Course is offered every spring.