Course Descriptions

Use the links below to explore the courses offered in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences.  Visit the university course catalog for descriptions of courses outside of the department that may be required to earn a major or minor.

First-Year and Foundational Courses

ATMS 103 Introduction to Meteorology (3 hrs)

An informative study of the fundamentals of weather and current issues related to global weather and climate.  Designed for the general student, this course satisfies the three-hour interdisciplinary natural sciences general education requirement.  Atmospheric science majors may substitute ATMS 113 for ATMS 103 (Students may not receive credit for both ATMS 103 and 113).  Fall and Spring

ATMS 111 Understanding the Atmosphere Lab (1 hr)

Introduction to meteorology lab.  A significant portion of the laboratory sessions will be spent outside observing weather elements.  Corequisite: ATMS 113.  Fall.

ATMS 113 Understanding the Atmosphere ( 3 hrs)

An introduction to meteorology and climatology.  This course will focus on the basics of understanding the weather, including how weather observations are made and used.  Atmospheric science majors may substitute ATMS 113 for ATMS 103 (Students may not receive credit for both ATMS 103 and 113).  Fall.

ATMS 178 Liberal Arts Colloquium (3 hrs)

This introductory colloquium is designed for freshmen and first year students with fewer than 25 earned credit hours and satisfies a requirement of the Liberal Arts Core.  The course title and topic depends on the instructor.  Titles have included Global Climate Change in China (Huang), Society, Technology, and Weather (Miller), and Weather in History (Hennon).  Fall.

ATMS 205 Weather Analysis (1 hr)

Basic plotting of various weather codes, fundamentals of map analysis, and basic techniques of weather forecasting.  Prerequisite: ATMS 103, 113, or permission of instructor.  Fall

ATMS 230 Fortran for Meteorologists (3 hrs)

Basic Fortran 90 computer programming tailored for meteorological applications.  Topics include algorithm development, program writing and execution, and data manipulation.  Prerequisite: MATH 167 or equivalent.  Spring.

ATMS 241 Geography in Meteorology (1 hr)

An introductory lab course covering map reading and design, physical geography, and climate.  Pre/Corequisite: ATMS 103 or 113.  Spring.

ATMS 251 Mathematics in Meteorology (1 hr)

An introductory lab course to study fundamental meteorological equations and applications of mathematics in meteorology.  Prerequisites: ATMS 103 or 113, MATH 191.  Spring

ATMS 261 Computer Applications in Meteorology (1 hr)

An introductory lab course to familiarize students with computer applications and meteorological software packages, such as McIDAS and GEMPAK.  Prerequisites: ATMS 103 or 113, MATH 191.  Spring.

Core Meteorology Courses

ATMS 305 Atmospheric Thermodynamics and Statics (3 hrs)

A study of the gaseous composition of the earth's atmosphere, its modification by radiative processes, and the application of the gas laws to atmospheric statics.  Prerequisites: ATMS 251, 261, PHYS 221.  Corequisite: MATH 192.  Fall.

ATMS 310 Atmospheric Kinematics and Dynamics (3 hrs)

The study of motions in the earth's atmosphere in relation to the forces acting upon the fluid.  Equations of motion, circulation, vorticity, divergence, viscosity, turbulence, and atmospheric energy are explained.  Prerequisite: ATMS 305; Pre- or Co-requisite: MATH 291.  Spring.

ATMS 320 Meteorological Instruments (3 hrs)

The history, operation, and use of instruments that monitor the atmosphere, with emphasis on practical applications.  Prerequisites: ATMS 103 or 113; or equivalent training.  See department chair.

ATMS 410 Synoptic Meteorology I (3 hrs)

A synthesis of the mathematical and analytical aspects of meteorology designed to explain fundamental weather processes and systems; practical application of the diagnostic and predictive equations through the use of weather maps; topics include upper-level systems, jet streams, and surface pressure systems. Pre- or Co-requisite: ATMS 305.

ATMS 411 Synoptic Meteorology II (3 hrs)

A continuation of ATMS 410, topics include frontal systems, mid-latitude convective systems, tropical meteorology, numerical weather prediction and oral competency.  Prerequisite: ATMS 410.  Corequisite: ATMS 310.  Spring. 

ATMS 455 Physical Meteorology

Study of the physical processes of condensation, radiation, radiative transfer, atmospheric sound and light propagation, electrical phenomena, and principles of weather modification.  Prerequisite: ATMS 305.  Spring

ATMS 464 Scientific Writing (3 hrs)

Writing and research strategies, particularly for meteorological applications.  Topics include literature reveiws, critical reading, improving writing practices, various types of scientific writing, and presentation skills.  Prerequisites: ATMS 103 or 113, Junior or Senior standing.  Fall.

Climatology and Statistics Courses

ATMS 223 Physical Climatology (3 hrs)

Physical causes of spatial and temporal climate variation, with special emphasis on energy and water balance for regions of the earth and its atmosphere.  Consequences of anthropogenic climate change will be explored.  Odd years Fall.

ATMS 405 Meteorological Statistics (3 hrs)

Statistical methods used in climatology, operational weather forecasting, and meteorological research applications.  Topics include statistical characteristics of meteorological data - particularly probability distributions and correlation structures - hypothesis testing, forecast evaluation techniques, and other research topics.  Prerequisites: ATMS 251, 261; MATH 291.  See department chair.

ATMS 420 Applied Climatology (3 hrs)

Application of climatological and statistical principles to weather and climate sensitive fields such as agriculture, construction, transportation, human health, and the energy sector.  Prerequisite: ATMS 405; or permission of the instructor.  See department chair.

Elective Courses

ATMS 273 Diverse Climates in a Diverse World (3 hrs)

A course to study climate change, the impact of climate change to the countries of the world, and the strategies and actions taken by diverse countries to deal with climate change.  The emphasis will also be on the dire consequences of climate change ot the the ethnic minority groups around the world.  Additionally, student will learn geographical, political, and economical features of the countries.  Satisfies the Liberal Arts Core (LAC) Diversity Intensive requirement.  See department chair.

ATMS 315 Radar and Satellite Meteorology (3 hrs)

Theory and application of radar and satellite remote sensing to atmospheric sciences.  Weather analysis, forecasting, and climatological implications are approached.  Prerequisites: ATMS 251, 261; PHYS 222.  See department chair.

ATMS 316 Mesoscale Meteorology (3 hrs)

Study of atmospheric processes on the scale of 10 to 1000 km including tornadoes, thunderstorms, and tropical cyclones; application of current data to mesoscale analysis and forecasting.  Prerequisite: ATMS 251, 261.  See department chair.

ATMS 325 Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in Meteorology (3 hrs)

Introduces students to the field of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and demonstrates its applications to meteorology, climatology, and hydrology.  Through a series of lectures and computer lab exercises, students will gain an understanding of basic GIS theory, principles, software, and data formats.  They will learn how GIS is being used in the meteorological community.  Prerequisite: ATMS 205 or permission of instructor.  See department chair.

ATMS 328 Broadcast Meteorology (3 hrs)

Introduction to weather basics, newswriting, reporting, and preparation and presentation of weathercasts.  Students will acquire communication and presentation skills and on-camera weather broadcasting experience.  Prerequisite: ATMS 205 or permission of instructor.  See department chair.

ATMS 345 Tropical Meteorology (3 hrs)

An introduction to tropical climatology, tropical cyclones, observation techniques, tropical waves, El Nino-Southern Oscillation, and connections between the tropics and mid-latitudes.  Corequisite: ATMS 305; or permission of instructor.  Even years Fall.

ATMS 350 Weather Forecasting (3 hrs)

Study of the science and techniques of weather forecasting, applications of map analysis, and numerical guidance.  Special emphasis is placed on forecast evaluation and ensemble/probabilistic forecasting.  Prerequisite: ATMS 205.  Spring.

ATMS 355 Physical Oceanography (3 hrs)

An examination of the world's ocean from a physical perspective, with a particular focus on how oceans interact with the atmosphere.  Topics include ocean structure, observation techniques, energy budget, surface and deep water currents, Ekman theory, coastal processes and tides, wave theory, and numerical modeling.  Prerequisites: MATH 167; one course from ATMS 103, 113, or ENVR 130.  Odd years Fall.

ATMS 373 Advanced Computing Techniques in Meteorology (3 hrs)

Information technology skills in a Linux environment with empahsis on atmospheric science applications.  HTML, Python, GrADS, CGI scripting, LaTex, Google maps, graphics, data manipulation.  Prerequisites: ATMS 103 or 113, ATMS 230 or CSCI 183; or permission of instructor.  See department chair.

ATMS 373 Severe Weather Field Experience (3 hrs)

Participants travel to the Great Plains to forecast and observe severe weather.  Operations are based in Norman, Oklahoma, in the heart of tornado alley and close to the location of the climatological maximum in tornado frequency during mid-May.  Norman is the home of the National Weather Center, which houses twenty NOAA and University of Oklahoma weather and climate programs including the Storm Prediction Center, the National Severe Storms Laboratory, and a National Weather Service forecast office.  Participants receive tours of these and many other facilities, including television studios and private companies, and hear prominent speakers discuss important aspects of severe weather forecasting, graduate school applications, and internship opportunities.  Prerequisite: ATMS 103 or 113 and application.  Summer.

ATMS 171-173, 271-273, 371-373, 471-473 (1-3 hrs)

Courses not otherwise included in the catalog listing but for which there may be special needs.  May be repeated as often as permitted and as subject matter changes.  See department chair.

Research and Internship

ATMS 381-383 Cooperative Education (1-3 hrs)

Majors with at least sophomore status may apply for part-time positions at firms dealing with meteorology.  Prerequisite: permission of department chair.  May be repeated for a total of six hours of credit.  Fall, Spring, and Summer.

ATMS 490 Professional and Technical Internship (6 hrs)

Majors with a GPA of 3.0 or better within the major and at least junior status may apply for a semester-long internship with a participating host agency.  May not take ATMS 381, 382, or 383 concurrently with this course.  May not take more than 3 hours of ATMS 381, 382, or 383 in addition to this course.  Student must work at least 280 hours for full credit.  Prerequisite: permission of department chair.  Fall, Spring, and Summer.

ATMS 499 Atmospheric Sciences Research (1-6 hrs)

Independent research under the direct supervision of an ATMS faculty member.  May be repeated for a total of 6 hours of credit.  Fall, Spring, and Summer.