METEO 526 Numerical Weather Prediction

Instructor: Dr. David R. Stauffer MWF 12:20 – 1:10 pm 126 Walker Building

Meteorology 526: Numerical Weather Prediction 

  • 621 Walker Building
  • 814-863-3932
  • MWF  12:20 – 1:10 pm                                               
  • 126 Walker Building                                                          
  • Office Hours: After class and by appointment 
  • Text: Thomas T. Warner, Numerical Weather and Climate Prediction, Cambridge University Press, 2011.


Selected papers from open literature (OL)

Course handouts  

Dale R. Durran, Numerical Methods for Wave Equations in Geophysical Fluid

Dynamics, Springer.1999.  (On reserve, additional background material for course notes, printed copy (EMS Library) and e-book ( 

Course Outline: 

Topics / Reading 

  • Intro. to NWP, systems of equations for atmosphere and oceans, scale analysis, approximations to equations, averaging and filter scales, parameterization, ‘gray’ zones / 1-12, 119-121, OL
  • Map projections, model grids and vertical coordinates, generalized vertical coordinates, boundary conditions / 24-40, 89-95                96-117, OL                                                                                                                                   
  • Review of wave motions, shallow-water model, linearization, phase and group velocity, hydrostatic vs. nonhydrostatic wave modes, geostrophic adjustment  / 12-16, 236-240, OL 
  • Model initialization, objective analysis, spinup and insertion noise, nudging and digital filters, statistical (OI, Kalman filter 

    EnKF) and variational (3DVAR, 4DVAR / adjoint) methods, hybrid methods / 198-250, OL


  • Finite differences, the advection equation, truncation error,  computational modes, false (numerical) diffusion, linear numerical stability analysis / 17-23, 51-53, 58-72 
  • Numerical issues / necessities, the diffusion equation, smoothing and filtering, nonlinear, computational instability, aliasing, effective resolution / 72-89, 95
  • Series expansion methods, spectral, finite element,  pseudospectral methods / 42-51 
  • Computational efficiency and accuracy, grid-staggering, multi-step, multi-stage, time-splitting schemes, semi-Lagrangian, semi-implicit methods / 53-58, 75-80, 358-364                                                                                                                                    


  • Survey of weather / climate modeling literature: student presentations / OL
  • Ensemble methods, coupled model applications, verification methods, model analysis  techniques / 252-282, 378-400, 294-319, 343-357


*Basic shallow water model code / graphics software will be provided to the class 


  • EXAMS (2) - 50%
  • Problem sets, shallow-water / idealized WRF model assignments - 10%
  • Student presentation - 15 %
  • Final paper – Extended shallow-water / WRF model studies - 25 %

Academic Integrity: 

Students in this class are expected to write up their problem sets / modeling studies individually, to work the exams on their own, and to write their papers in their own words using their results and proper citations.  Class members may work on the problem sets in groups, but then each student must write up the answers separately.  Please see: Earth and Mineral Sciences Academic Integrity Policy, which is adopted by this course: