Courses Catalogue

Introduction To Atmospheric Physics

COURSE CODE: PHY3110
COURSE CREDIT UNIT: 3
ACADEMIC PROGRAMME: Physics BSc
COLLEGE/SCHOOL/FACULTY: School of Natural and Applied Sciences
STATUS: Elective
PROGRAMME TYPE: Undergraduate

Course Description

COURSE DESCRIPTION

 

This course covers the structure, composition and dynamics of the Atmosphere, radiation and thermodynamics of the Atmosphere, and the Hydrosphere. It also includes Atmospheric remote sensing, modelling,

 

COURSE JUSTIFICATION/RATIONALE

 

This course is given to students in order to study the structure, composition and dynamics of the atmosphere.

 

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

 

By the end of this course, the student should be able to:

§  describe the basic structure of an atmosphere and the climate system.

§  use fundamental thermodynamics to derive expressions for the variation of temperature, pressure, and total density, by height.

§  Explain the concept of potential temperature and how it relates to static stability.

§  Explain the components of the Earth radiation balance.

§  Discuss optical depth and transmission function.

§  Write down Schwarzschild’s equation of radiative transfer and to solve it for both solar and thermal radiation streams under simple conditions.

§  Derive a simple model of the “greenhouse effect”.

§  Determine the forces acting on a parcel of air and apply Newton’s 2nd Law to deduce the equations of motion for a compressible gas on a rotating planet.

§  how to apply scale approximations to the equations of motion (e.g., hydrostatic and geostrophic approximations).

§  derive the continuity equation and to calculate the concentration of an atmospheric species being given the chemical reactions involving it.

§  identify the main anthropogenic and natural constituents that influence the Earth’s climate.

 

LEARNING OUTCOMES

 

A student completing the course is expected to:

§  verify the basic composition, structure and dynamics of the atmosphere;

§  explain the workings of the hydrologic cycle and discuss the mechanisms of water transport in the atmosphere and in the ground;

§  identify the different layers of the atmosphere

§  Describe how climate models can be used for weather forecasting, climate simulation, and investigations of the causes of climate change.