Weather Map Analysis

METEO 413  -- Weather Map Analysis – Spring 2021

Tuesdays and Thursdays 9:05-10:20, ZOOM

Instructor:  Bill Syrett, 606C Walker, 865-6172   
Office Hours: W 7am-10am & by Appointment

“Analysis of actual surface weather observations, with emphasis on the Norwegian cyclone model, missing or bad data, and mesoscale phenomena.” 

Prerequisite: METEO 411,   This is an Elective Course,   No Textbook

Students who do not meet these prerequisites may be dis-enrolled during the first 7-day free add-drop period after being informed in writing by the instructor (see: If you have not completed the listed prerequisites, then promptly consult with the instructor if you have not done so already.  Students who re-enroll after being dis-enrolled according to this policy are in violation of Item 15 on the Student Code of Conduct (

Academic Integrity Policy: 

Students in this class are expected to complete quizzes individually without contact with other students.  Class members may work on the maps in groups, but then each student must complete their map(s) separately.  The complete college policy link:

Students with Disabilities:

The Office of Disability Services ( requests and maintains disability-related documents; certifies eligibility for services; determines academic adjustments, auxiliary aids, and/or services; and develops plans for the provision of academic adjustments, auxiliary aids, and/or services as mandated under Title II of the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) of 2008 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.  A list of these services is provided at

Maps (assigned Tuesdays) are due FRIDAYS at 11:00 am 

Tuesday classes will generally consist of a detailed review of the week's assignment with (hopefully) lots of discussion. The review will then usually be followed by a brief lecture concerned with expanding upon what you have learned and preparing you for the next map.  The review and lecture will usually not take more than an hour, leaving the rest of the time for starting the next assignment.  I recommend you use the time to get started and ask any questions that you may have.  Bring colored pencils to class, please.  You are encouraged to develop your analysis skills independently. Class participation will be used to decide borderline grades.  Tardiness or absence will negatively affect your grade.

No less than 2/3 of your grade will be determined by your performance on 13 surface analysis cases that will consist of one or more maps covering different parts of the Northern Hemisphere, usually the United States, where the highest resolution and quality data can be found, and where many of you will likely find employment!  You will be graded on how well you follow the Norwegian Cyclone Model, the quality of your isopleths, detail and neatness.  There is no curve, grades will follow 90-80-70 standard with the ‘-‘ and ‘+’ system as well.  For example, a grade just below 90 may receive a B+.

The rest of your grade will be determined by your performance on weekly in-class quizzes and exercises.  These will usually be given on Thursdays and should take no more than an hour.  You may use any remaining time to work on your weekly map assignment.  

  • Late maps are docked one full letter grade (10 pts) (two if I don't have them by Monday at NOON).
  • No credit for maps received after 8:00am Tuesday.
  • I will drop your lowest map grade and your lowest quiz/exercise grade.
  • Enjoy yourselves (within reason)! 

Tentative Schedule - subject to change!

  • Weeks 1-3: The basics.  Norwegian cyclone model.
  • Weeks 4-9: Variations on the same theme.  Topographic influences and limited (or bad) data.  Cyclone families.
  • Weeks 10-12: Mesoscale phenomena, time-limited analyses.
  • Weeks 13,14: In-class assignments, no homework.

Formal course objectives and outcomes in relation to the Meteorology program are included on the back

Objectives for METEO 413:

  1. Students can demonstrate familiarity with the Norwegian cyclone model and how well it describes the surface and upper-air observations (relate to program objectives 2 and 3)
  2. Students can demonstrate skills for the analysis of synoptic-scale and mesoscale surface and upper-air observations of the atmosphere (relate to program objectives 1 and 3) 

Outcomes for METEO 413:

  1. Students can demonstrate the ability to analyze and interpret maps of surface and upper-air data (relate to program outcomes a, b, c, and e)
  2. Students can demonstrate knowledge of the structure and evolution of synoptic-scale and mesoscale weather systems (relate to program outcomes b and c)
  3. Students can demonstrate knowledge of land- and ocean-surface influences on synoptic-scale and mesoscale weather systems (relate to program outcomes b and c) 

Program Objectives

Program Objectives are statements that describe the expected accomplishments of graduates during the first few years after graduation

  1. To produce graduates who possess quantitative, scientific reasoning skills that can be applied to  atmospheric problems
  2. To produce graduates who have a general knowledge of a range of atmospheric phenomena and applications, and have expertise in one or more program subdisciplines or related interdisciplinary areas
  3. To produce graduates who are equipped to contribute to solving problems in the atmospheric sciences and related disciplines, through service in business or as educators, researchers, and leaders in academia, government, the private sector, and civil society. 

Program Outcomes

Statements that describe what students are expected to know and are able to do by the time of graduation. These relate to the skills, knowledge and behaviors that students acquire in their matriculation through the program. 

  1. Graduates can demonstrate skills for interpreting and applying atmospheric observations
  2. Graduates can demonstrate knowledge of the atmosphere and its evolution
  3. Graduates can demonstrate knowledge of the role of water in the atmosphere
  4. Graduates can demonstrate facility with computer applications to atmospheric problems
  5. Graduates can demonstrate skills for communicating their technical knowledge 

Other Sometimes Useful Information
Course Copyright

All course materials students receive or to which students have online access are protected by copyright laws. Students may use course materials and make copies for their own use as needed, but unauthorized distribution and/or uploading of materials without the instructor’s express permission is strictly prohibit-ed. University Policy AD 40, the University Policy Recording of Classroom Activities and Note Taking Services addresses this issue. Students who engage in the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted mat-erials may be held in violation of the University’s Code of Conduct, and/or liable under Federal and State laws. 


This course abides by the Penn State Attendance Policy E-11:, and Conflict Exam Policy 44-35: Please also see Illness Verification Policy:, and Religious Observance Policy: Students who miss class for legitimate reasons will be given a reasonable opportunity to make up missed work, including exams and quizzes.  Students are not required to secure the signature of medical personnel in the case of illness or injury and should use their best judgment on whether they are well enough to attend class or not; the University Health Center will not provide medical verification for minor illnesses or injuries. Other legitimate reasons for missing class include religious observance, military service, family emergencies, regularly scheduled university-approved curricular or extracurricular activities, and post-graduate, career-related interviews when there is no opportunity for students to re-schedule these opportunities (such as employment and graduate school final interviews).  Students who encounter serious family, health, or personal situations that result in extended absences should contact the Office of the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs (AVPSA) and Student and Family Services for help:  Whenever possible, students participating in University-approved activities should submit to the instructor a Class Absence Form available from the Registrar's Office:, at least one week prior to the activity.

DO NOT double-book other classes or tests during 413 class time. 

Weather Delays

Campus emergencies, including weather delays, are announced on Penn State News and communicated to cell phones, email, the Penn State Facebook page, and Twitter via PSUAlert (Sign up at:  However, as this is a remote class you should expect to have class every day. 

Wellness Days

There are two wellness days that will affect our schedule.  Because the class is designed on a weekly schedule we will need to discuss how we want to handle these so that the “flow” of class continues but you still are not in class or expected to do work on those days. 

Recommended Policies

Syllabus and Paper Acknowledgement Forms
In addition, the new recommendation from the college is that all students sign and return the Syllabus Acknowledgement Form during the first week of the semester. In addition,. The College also recommends the attached Paper Submission Form as a way to have students take responsibility for papers/labs/homework done as part of group work. 

Penn State E-mail Accounts

All official communications from Penn State are sent to students' Penn State e-mail accounts. Be sure to check your Penn State account regularly, or forward your Penn State e-mail to your preferred e-mail account, so you don't miss any important information. 

Deferred Grades

If you are prevented from completing this course within the prescribed amount of time, it is possible to have the grade deferred with the concurrence of the instructor. To seek a deferred grade, you must submit a written request (by e-mail or U.S. post) to your instructor describing the reason(s) for the request. It is up to your instructor to determine whether or not you will be permitted to receive a deferred grade. If, for any reason, the course work for the deferred grade is not complete by the assigned time, a grade of "F" will be automatically entered on your transcript. 

Military Personnel

Veterans and currently serving military personnel and/or spouses with unique circumstances (e.g., upcoming deployments, drill/duty requirements, disabilities, VA appointments, etc.) are welcome and encouraged to communicate these, in advance if possible, to the instructor in the case that special arrangements need to be made. 

Technical Requirements

For this course, we recommend the minimum technical requirements outlined on the Dutton Institute Technical Requirements page (, including the requirements listed for same-time, synchronous communications. If you need technical assistance at any point during the course, please contact the ITS Help Desk (  Specifically for Meteo 413, Canvas will be the repository for all lessons, assignments and grades.  In addition, you must purchase colored pencils and you must have reliable and constant access to a printer. 


The term "Netiquette" refers to the etiquette guidelines for electronic communications, such as e-mail and bulletin board postings. Netiquette covers not only rules to maintain civility in discussions, but also special guidelines unique to the electronic nature of forum messages. Please review some general Netiquette guidelines that should be followed when communicating in this course. 

Disruptive Behavior

Behavior that disrupts normal classroom activities will not be tolerated, in accordance with Items 9 and 14 in the Student Code of Conduct


In the case of an emergency, we will follow the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences Critical Incident Plan (  In the event of an evacuation, we will follow posted evacuation routes and gather at the Designated Meeting Site.  Evacuation routes for all EMS buildings are available at  For more information regarding actions to take during particular emergencies, please see the Penn State Emergency Action Guides

Disclaimer Statement

Please note that the specifics of this Course Syllabus can be changed at any time, and you will be responsible for abiding by any such changes. Changes will be posted in the course announcements.