Maricopa Community Colleges  GPH212   19962-99999 

Official Course Description: MCCCD Approval: 11-28-1995

GPH212  1996 Spring – 2003 Fall

LEC  3.0 Credit(s)  3.0 Period(s)  3.0 Load  Acad

Introduction to Meteorology I

Atmospheric processes and elements. General and local circulation, heat exchange and atmospheric moisture.

Prerequisites: None.

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MCCCD Official Course Competencies:


GPH212  1996 Spring – 2003 Fall

Introduction to Meteorology I



Describe the face and form of the earth and its place in the solar system. (I,II)


Locate places on the earth using the geographic grid system. (III)


Explain the relationship between the earth and sun in regard to the length of days, seasons, time and solar energy. (IV)


Describe types, characteristics, and role of energy in the Earth/atmosphere system (V)


Identify and describe the basic weather elements of moisture, pressure and wind. (VI,VII)


List basic weather controls, and appraise the effects of these controls on the weather elements. (V-VII)


Describe middle latitude cyclones and explain their development. (VIII)


Identify and describe the major elements of weather forecasting. (IX)


Identify and describe major storm types. (X)


Display on a map the geographic pattern of temperature, pressure, wind, precipitation, and storms. (V-X)


Identify and describe classifications of world climate. (XI)


Identify and explain climate controls (XI,XII)


Display the world climate pattern on a world map. (XI)


Identify and describe natural and human factors influencing changes in climate. (XII)

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MCCCD Official Course Outline:


GPH212  1996 Spring – 2003 Fall

Introduction to Meteorology I


I. Place of Earth in Solar System

II. Face of the Earth

A. Land Masses

B. Water Bodies

C. Relief

D. Shapes and Dimensions

III. Location of Points on the Earth

A. Spherical Coordinates: Geographic Grid

B. Plane Coordinates

IV. Earth/Sun Relationships

A. Rotation

B. Revolution

C. Inclination of the Earth's Axis

D. Seasons

E. Special Latitude Lines

1. Equator

2. Tropics

3. Circles

V. Energy

A. Heat

1. Specific Heat

2. Latent Heat

3. Atmospheric Transfer

B. Radiation

1. Wave Characteristics

2. Temperature

3. Absorption

4. Emission

5. Equilibrium

6. Greenhouse Effect

7. Albedo

C. Temperature

1. Seasonal Variations

2. Daily Variations

3. Controls

4. Human Comfort

5. Measurement

VI. Moisture

A. Humidity

1. Absolute

2. Specific

3. Relative

B. Mixing Ratio

C. Vapor Pressure

D. Measurement

E. Dew Point

F. Condensation Nuclei

G. Dew

H. Frost

I. Fog

1. Radiation

2. Advection

3. Upslope

4. Evaporation

J. Clouds

1. Classification

2. Identification

3. Development

VII. Pressure and Wind

A. Atmospheric Pressure and Measurement

B. Wind

1. Pressure Gradient Force

2. Coriolis Force

3. Geostrophic Wind

4. Wind Flow Aloft

5. Surface Winds

C. Global Wind Systems

1. Idealized General Circulation of the Atmosphere

2. Average wind and Pressure Patterns

3. Polar Front and Subtropical Jet Streams

4. Ocean-atmosphere Interactions

D. Local and Small-scale Wind Systems

1. Scales of Motion

2. Friction and Turbulence in the Boundary Layer

3. Eddies

4. Thermal Circulations

5. Sea and Land Breezes

6. Local Winds and Water

7. Monsoons

8. Mountain and Valley Breezes

9. Katabatic Winds

10. Compressional Winds

VIII. Middle Latitude Cyclones

A. Air Masses

1. Source Regions

2. Classification

3. Air Masses of North America

B. Fronts

1. Stationary Fronts

2. Cold Fronts

3. Warm Fronts

4. Occluded Fronts

C. Middle Latitude Cyclone Development

1. Upper-level Waves

2. Upper-air Processes

3. Role of Convergence and Divergence

4. Role of the Jet Stream

5. Vorticity

6. Vertical Structure of System

IX. Weather Forecasting

A. Surface Charts

B. Upper Level Charts

C. Numerical Weather Prediction

D. Satellites

X. Storms

A. Types of Thunderstorms

1. Air-mass

2. Supercell

3. Squall-line

4. Mesoscale Convective Complexes

B. Severe Thunderstorm Characteristics

1. Stages of Development

2. Wind Shear

3. Microburst

4. Gust Front

5. Dust Storms

6. Hail

7. Lightning

8. Thunder

C. Tornadoes

1. Distribution

2. Dryline

3. Formation

4. Wall Cloud

5. Funnel Cloud

6. Winds

7. Movement

8. Gustnadoes

9. Waterspouts

D. Hurricanes

1. Tropical Weather

2. Regions of Development

3. Stages of Development

4. Structure

5. Movement

6. Storm Surge

XI. Global Climate

A. Global Temperatures

B. Global Precipitation

C. Climate Classification Systems

D. Patterns of Global Climate

XII. Climate Change

A. Past Climates

B. Possible Causes of Climatic Change

1. Plate Tectonics and Mountain Building

2. Variations in Earth's Orbit

3. Volcanic Eruptions

4. Variations in Solar Output

C. Global Warming

1. Modification of Natural Greenhouse Effect

2. Greenhouse Gas Increases

3. Role of Oceans

4. Role of Cloud Cover

5. Possible Positive/negative Consequences of Global Warming

6. Is the Warming Real


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