Spring 2018 

Jerry Y. Harrington
OFFICE: 517 Walker Building
PHONE: 863-1584
OFFICE HOURS: Wednesday, Thursday, Friday 4:30 - 5:30 pm 

Dana Tobin
OFFICE:  412 Walker Building
OFFICE HOURS: Monday 1:15 - 2:15 pm 

101 Walker Building
9:05am – 9:55am Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 

METEO 300 and METEO 431. See policy below. 

Physics and Chemistry of Clouds by Lamb and Verlinde 


METEO 437 is a 3 credit lecture course that is designed to provide you with basic knowledge on the physical and chemical basis of clouds in the atmosphere. 


  • Exam 1 (Tuesday, February 13th, 6:30 –8:30 pm): 25%
  • Exam 2 (Thursday, March 29th, 6:30 - 8:30 pm): 25%
  • Exam 3 (Final Exam Period): 25%
  • Homework: 25% 

            Location of Exam: 529 and 511 Walker Building 


“I see and I forget, I hear and I forget, I do and I understand.” - Confucius 

If you merely read books and listen to others, you will never really learn anything new. New knowledge is only truly gained by thinking and working things through for yourself. The difference is like that between one who simply reads about an experience and one who lives it. - Paraphrase of one of Schopenhaurs’ Aphorisms. 

“The main job of a teacher is to free the student from the teacher” - Zen Buddhist Saying 


It is expected that you have a working knowledge of mathematics (calculus-based), physics (mechanics, electricity and magnetism, thermodynamics), and chemistry. These are implied prerequisites for the course. Students with weak backgrounds in these fundamental disciplines are advised to either postpone enrollment in this course, or to get up to speed now. Your ability to understand the material in this course depends critically on how well you learned your math, physics, chemistry, and thermodynamics. 

I expect active participation from all students in the course, each week. I also expect each student to keep up with the material on her/his own. This includes reviewing lecture notes, reading assigned material, and reading material from the suggested library books. It is never possible to fully understand the material in a course simply by attending lectures. It is best to think of me as a guide through the relevant material, but it is you who must do all the hard work that goes along with the learning process. Like anything else, what you get out of this course depends on what you put into it, and it depends on your attitude as well. Working hard, thinking a lot, and maintaining a positive perspective are the best ways to gain the most from this course! 

COURSE LETTER GRADES: I assign letter grades based on the class statistics. I nearly always use the mean of the final score distribution as lowest B- grade.  In past classes, the mean has usually fallen around 76 to 80, but not always. Breaks between letter grades are assigned based on the standard deviation in the final score distribution. I generally add the mean plus the standard deviation to find the lowest A- and the mean minus the standard deviation is generally the lowest C.  Divisions among specific letter grades (such as B-, B and B+) are generally determined by dividing the grade range into three equal parts. Scores below a 50 automatically earn an F grade in this course. 


Cheating and plagiarism are serious offenses that may be grounds for failing an assignment, an exam, or even the course. Please review the College policies related to academic integrity on the web at : Earth and Mineral Sciences Academic Integrity Policy:


    • Phase Nucleation
    • Growth of Cloud Particles from the Vapor
    • Collection Processes and Precipitation

    • Atmospheric Constituents & Chemical Reaction Rates
    • Equilibrium Conditions
    • Formation of New Substances 

  • INTRODUCTION: Energy and its Transformations
    • Molecular energy and its transformations
    • Distributions of Energy
    • Thermodynamics Review

    • Thermodynamic Drivers
    • Cloud Macrophysics
    • Supersaturation Development 



  • QC921.5.R63 1988;  Rogers and Yau; A Short Course in Cloud Physics
  • QC921.5 F55 1962; Fletcher; The Physics of Rainclouds
  • TD174.H55 1997; Hill; Understanding Environmental Pollution
  • QC861.2 H63 2000; Hobbs; Basic Physical Chemistry for the Atmospheric Sciences
  • QC879.6 H62 2000; Hobbs; Introduction to Atmospheric Chemistry
  • QC921.5 M3 1971; Mason; The Physics of Clouds
  • QC921.5 P78 1997; Pruppacher and Klett; Microphysics of Clouds and Precipitation
  • TD883.T85 1997; Turco; Earth under Siege
  • QC882.T93 1977; Twomey; Atmospheric Aerosols
  • QC861.3.W35 2006; Wallace and Hobbs; Atmospheric Science 


Disclosure: The materials below were not written by me, but were authored by Department, College, or University committees. 


  1. Students can demonstrate familiarity with microphysical principles and how they determine the structures of the atmosphere and clouds. (related to program objectives 1 and 2)
  2. Students can demonstrate the ability to apply principles of cloud microphysics and atmospheric chemistry to the solution of atmospheric problems. (related to program objectives 1 and 3) 


  1. Students can demonstrate knowledge of cloud properties. (relate to program outcomes a, b, and c)
  2. Students can demonstrate knowledge of the thermodynamic drivers of cloud development and evolution. (related to program outcomes b, c, and d)
  3. Students can demonstrate knowledge of basic atmospheric chemistry and its role in atmospheric phenomena. (related to program outcomes b, c, and d) 

Assistance with Textbooks 

Penn State honors and values the socioeconomic diversity of our students. If you require assistance with the costs of textbooks for this course, contact the Office of Student Care and Advocacy (120 Boucke Building, 863-4926, For additional need related to socioeconomic status please visit

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 prohibited. 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 materials may be held in violation of the University’s Code of Conduct, and/or liable under Federal and State laws. 

For example, uploading completed labs, homework, or other assignments to any study site constitutes a violation of this policy. 

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 Student Disability Resources (SDR) website provides contact information for every Penn State campus: ( For further information, please visit the Student Disability Resources website ( 

In order to receive consideration for reasonable accommodations, you must contact the appropriate disability services office at the campus where you are officially enrolled, participate in an intake interview, and provide documentation: 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. 


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 Care and Advocacy 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. 

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:

Reporting Bias-Motivated Incidents

Penn State takes great pride to foster a diverse and inclusive environment for students, faculty, and staff.  Acts of intolerance, discrimination, or harassment due to age, ancestry, color, disability, gender, gender identity, national origin, race, religious belief, sexual orientation, or veteran status are not tolerated ( and can be reported through Educational Equity via the Report Bias webpage

Counseling and Psychological Services

Many students at Penn State face personal challenges or have psychological needs that may interfere with their academic progress, social development, or emotional wellbeing.  The university offers a variety of confidential services to help you through difficult times, including individual and group counseling, crisis intervention, consultations, online chats, and mental health screenings.  These services are provided by staff who welcome all students and embrace a philosophy respectful of clients’ cultural and religious backgrounds, and sensitive to differences in race, ability, gender identity and sexual orientation.  Services include the following: 

Counseling and Psychological Services at University Park  (CAPS): 814-863-0395
Counseling and Psychological Services at Commonwealth Campuses
Penn State Crisis Line (24 hours/7 days/week): 877-229-6400
Crisis Text Line (24 hours/7 days/week): Text LIONS to 741741