METEO 497A Ryan SP2015

Inside Numerical Weather Prediction Models Instructor: William Ryan Tuesday and Thursday, 11:15 am-12:30 pm 607 Walker

METEO 497A, Inside Numerical Weather Prediction Models

Semester:  Spring, 2015


William F. Ryan
401 Walker Building,
Office Hours by appointment.

Class meeting times and locations:

Tuesday and Thursday, 11:15 am-12:30 pm, 607 Walker
Course designation in curriculum:  Elective

Brief course description: 

This class explains the key components of current operational weather prediction models, focusing on student prepared quantitative temperature and precipitation forecasts.

Prerequisites and concurrent courses: 

METEO 411:  Synoptic Lab and/or METEO 421:  Dynamics

Students who do not meet these prerequisites may be dis-enrolled during the first 10-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 (

Required textbooks and recommended textbooks:


DeCaria, A. and Van Knowe, G, 2014: A First Course in Atmospheric Numerical Modeling


Stensrud, David J., 2010:  Parameterization Schemes: Keys to Understanding Numerical Weather Prediction Models and Warner, Thomas T., 2011:  Numerical Weather and Climate Prediction .

Internet materials and links: 

Operational Model Matrices:;

Also, many lectures and additional materials will be posted on Angel:

Course expectations:

The objective of this course is to understand how numerical weather forecast models “work” with an emphasis on model initialization procedures, parameterization of key sub-grid scale processes and the use of ensemble forecast models.

Course content: 

This course will cover: The governing equations and their numerical solution, parameterization of sub-grid scale processes, model initialization and ensemble models, as well as coupled numerical models.

Course policies:

A portion of your grade will be determined by class attendance, it is expected that you will attend every class.  Your participation is critical to the success of this class.  You will be expected to respond to questions from the instructor and a portion of your grade will be determined by your participation.

And here’s the boilerplate:

This course abides by the Penn State Class Attendance Policy 42-27:, 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, family emergencies, and regularly scheduled university-approved curricular or extracurricular activities.  Students who encounter serious family, health, or personal situations that result in extended absences should contact the Office of 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.

Assessment tools:

Required written/oral assignments:  Students will provide oral weather briefings and/or verification briefings with supporting slides 2 times per semester.  Beginning in late January, students will provide temperature forecasts for a selected location 3 times per week.  In March and April, students will provide precipitation forecasts for a selected location 3 times per week.  There will be occasional homework assignments.  Briefings, forecasts and other assignments will account for 40% of the total grade.

Examination policy: 

There will be five (5) quizzes.  There will be no final exam.  Each quiz will account for 10% of the total grade.

Attendance and Participation: 

Attendance and participation in class discussion are expected and will account for 10% of the total grade.

Grading policy: 

Quiz scores may be curved if the class median score is below 80%.  Late assignments will be reduced one grade level (e.g., A to B).  Forecasts may not be entered late.

Academic integrity statement:

Students in this class are expected to write up their problem sets individually, to work the quizzes on their own, and to write their papers in their own words using proper citations.  Class members may work on the problem sets or forecasts in groups, but then each student must write up the answers or submit the forecast separately.  Students are not to copy problem or exam answers from another person's paper and present them as their own; students may not plagiarize text from papers written by others.  Students who present other people's work as their own will receive at least a 0 on the assignment and may well receive an F or XF in the course.  For information about the Earth and Mineral Sciences Academic Integrity Policy, which this course adopts, please see:

Accommodations for students with disabilities:

Penn State welcomes students with disabilities into the University's educational programs. Every Penn State campus has an office for students with disabilities. The Office for Disability Services (ODS) Web site provides contact information for every Penn State campus: For further information, please visit the site: http.

In order to receive consideration for reasonable accommodations, you must contact the appropriate disability services office at the campus where you are officially enrolled, documentation: http. If the documentation supports your request for reasonable accommodations, your campus’s disability services office will provide you with an accommodation letter. Please share this letter with your instructors and discuss the accommodations with them as early in your courses as possible. You must follow this process for every semester that you request accommodations.

Weather and Emergencies:

Campus emergencies, including weather delays, are announced on Penn State Live ( ) and communicated to cellphones, email, the Penn State Facebook page, and Twitter via PSUTXT (to sign up, please see