GEOL-G 339: Weather Analysis & Forecasting


Introduction to the Course

[Note: hi there. This page has been largely dormant since the Fall 2015 version of the course.  Over the summer, I will work on updating everything.  -- ck 5/1/17]

How are weather maps created?  How do we interpret the data on these complex maps?  What knowledge of past weather events do we need to use as a guide in forecasting?  Why and how are conditions miles above the Earth's surface related to the "sensible weather" that we experience daily?  These questions and more, answered in G339.

General Details -- Fall 2015 version

Class meetings: Tuesday & Thursday, 11:15-12:30, in Geology 522

Instructor: Dr. Cody Kirkpatrick (

Office hours: Thursday, 2-4, in the IMU Food Court (Pizza Hut/Charleston Market)

Prerequisite Work

Any one of these: GEOL-G122, GEOG-G109, GEOG-G107, or GEOL-G 144.  It's important that you've had a first course related to the atmosphere/climate system; if you don't meet this requirement, please come see me before committing to the course.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the semester, students who actively participate in the course should be able to:

  • Analyze current weather maps (UA and surface) [Weeks 1 & 2]
  • Identify the major synoptic-scale features on those maps [3]
  • Describe conceptual models of certain atmospheric phenomena [4 & 5]
  • Use satellite data to help confirm the current local weather at a place [6]
  • Apply conceptual models to describe the “sensible weather” that is occurring [7 & 8]
  • Infer the likely weather at a place by using the Skew-T diagram [10 & 11]
  • Place a Skew-T into its proper synoptic context, and be able to explain why [12 & 13]
  • Diagnose winter and severe weather environments using all the tools we've developed in the course [14 & 15]

(Week 9 isn't missing, that's the week of the midterm.)

This Website

We will use a combination of Canvas, this website, and email for the course.  If that gets to be too confusing or cumbersome, we can make adjustments.  Right now, the only things I ancitipate putting on Canvas are grades and other secure information (class slides with copyright images, etc.).

Course Text

Required:  Operational Weather Analysis by McNulty.  Get your free copy here:

Required:  your own set of colored pencils (erasable, preferably).  I’d go to Hobby Lobby or Michael’s instead of buying them at the campu$ book$tore.

I will also put multiple copies of two other useful texts on reserve at the Wells Library Reserve Desk.  There you can read, scan, or do whatever you need.

Staying on for G437 in the spring?  Please see this note.


  • 40%    Customary homeworks and quizzes
  • 10%    Team map/case analysis and presentation
  • 10%    Participation in the national forecast contest
  • 20%    Midterm Exam (Thursday, October 22)
  • 20%    Comprehensive Final Exam (Thursday, December 17, 12:30-2:30)

Graduate students enrolling under the G700 section may have a different distribution of percentages and/or different assignments.

Last Updated on  May 1st, 2017