Climate Studies

Weekly Meetings on Thursdays at 2pm in Wx Station Conference Room and/or Wx Station 


Kyle Imhoff (

Arthur Person (           

Course Description:
This professional elective course is offered each semester and can be enrolled for as much as 3 credits over as many as three semesters. Climate studies involves applied climatology as a student would experience in an operational state climate office. As a result, most of the tasks, which are individualized for each participant, are related to the routine procedures of an active state climate office. Students will have an opportunity to assess the quality of near real-time data (CoCoRaHS), contribute to a monthly e-publication, write a climate tweet, create charts and graphs for a variety of research projects and improve the climate web interface for the public. Occasionally, data requests and special projects will surface allowing an even wider experience.

Course Protocol:
Each student will receive assignments via Canvas every other week. They will be required to complete the short term tasks in a timely manner and to e-mail the instructor weekly updates on the progress of their work. The weekly (required) meetings will illustrate how to complete the assignments.

Grading Criteria  
Both weekly updates and completed assignments will be used to assess the student’s effort. 

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 sub-disciplines 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 

Course Objectives: 

  1. Students can demonstrate knowledge of effective approaches for applying climate and weather data to clients (relate to program objectives 1, 2, and 3

Course Outcomes: 

  1. Students can demonstrate knowledge of the basic principles for applied climatology (relate to program outcomes a, b, and c)
  2. Students can demonstrate the ability to assess near real-time atmospheric data (relate to program outcomes a, b, c, and e)
  3. Students can demonstrate the ability to assemble specific indicators of climate change at a variety of climate/weather stations (relate to program outcomes b and e)
  4. Students can demonstrate knowledge of the role that climatology plays in forensics (relate to program outcomes a, b, c and e)
  5. Students can demonstrate knowledge of the relationship between the atmosphere and the environment (relate to program outcomes c and e.

Academic Integrity

Students in this class are expected to write up their problem sets individually, to work the exams on their own, and to write their papers in their own words using proper citations.  Class members may work on the problem sets in groups, but then each student must write up the answers 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 or websites 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.  Please see: Earth and Mineral Sciences Academic Integrity Policy:, which this course adopts. To learn more, see Penn State's "Plagiarism Tutorial for Students." 

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 

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