The course is modular in nature, comprising 180 credits, 120 from MSc-dedicated taught modules and 60 from a dissertation. In line with University Regulations it is intended that 60 credits be the equivalent of a Certificate, 120 credits a Diploma and 180 credits the MSc. All taught courses are compulsory for non-maths and physics graduates.
M1a - Theoretical Meteorology: Atmospheric Composition and Physics
M1a provides students with theoretical training in the fundamental laws of thermodynamics, microphysics and radiation and their implications for a range of meteorological processes and air pollution phenomena, coupled with an introduction to the controls on atmospheric composition. Specifics include: (1) to review the basic nature of the atmosphere in terms of its physical properties; (2) to introduce mass balance modelling of atmospheric composition and its time evolution; (3) to introduce a range of physical laws relevant to meteorology such as the first and second laws of thermodynamics and the equation of state; (4) to review cloud microphysics and cloud formation processes; and (5) to introduce basic radiation laws and radiative transfer processes in the atmosphere.
This module is assessed by three practical exercises (40%) and a two-hour exam (60%). For each of the three practical exercises, a one-hour tutorial class is provided to help students to further understand concepts and processes and to develop analytical and problem-solving skills.
M1b - Theoretical Meteorology: Atmospheric Dynamics
M1b provides an understanding of governing equations, fundamental theories of atmospheric dynamics at a variety of scales. At the end of this course, students should be able to: (1) understand the fundamentals of atmospheric dynamics; (2) have knowledge of conservation laws of mass, momentum, and energy; (3) analyse force balance using dynamics equations; (4) quantify geostrophic wind, gradient wind, potential vorticity, thermal wind, surface fluxes, gravity waves, etc.; (5) interpret physical meaning of important parameters such as Rossby number, Richardson number, etc.; (6) identify dominating processes at micro-, meso-, and synoptic-scales.
M1b is assessed by a two-hour exam (100%)
M2 - Weather Forecasting and Climate Modelling
This module aims to provide an understanding of practical and theoretical aspects of weather forecasting and climate modelling. It covers traditional forecasting from weather maps as well as numerical weather forecasting. Global climate simulations for the past, present and future with General Circulation Models and with Earth System Models of Intermediate Complexity, as well as regional simulations are discussed. An in depth appreciation of the nature and physical foundations of numerical weather prediction products and climate simulations is developed, which provides the requisite skills for assessing the quality and relevance of weather forecasts and climate predictions.
The weather forecasting part of this module is assessed by practical exercises (50%) and the climate modelling part by exam (35%) and coursework (15%).
M3 - Atmospheric Data Processing and Statistics
The course aims to provide students with analytical skills necessary for the collection, processing and analysis of meteorological and climatological data sets. In addition, the module provides an understanding of programming in a UNIX environment as a basis for developing computer programming skills for the extraction, collation and organisation of data. The statistical software packages R and SPSS will be taught in this module. The fundamentals of statistical hypothesis testing are introduced and developed further in the context of advanced statistical techniques for the fitting of statistical models, identifying the main modes of variation in large data sets and time series analysis.
- A multiple-choice examination paper lasting 1 hour and 30 minutes. The examination will contain 50 questions and will test the entire Statistics syllabus (32.5% of the final module mark).
- A project entitled Daily summer rainfall variations over Devon and Cornwall. This project requires a student to conduct principal component analysis and cluster analysis on a data set (32.5% of the final module mark).
Atmospheric Data Processing
- A one hour examination (17% of the final module mark).
- Three worksheets that collectively account for 18% of a student’s final module mark, that is, each worksheet is worth 6%.
M5 - Physical Climatology and Climate Change
The understanding of the variability of the climate system and its inherent changes in time will be a major component to address any questions of natural or anthropogenic climate change. This module will help students to become familiar with the underlying physical concepts as well as with its applications to attribute and detect anthropogenic climate change. The module will cover the basic physical laws, their application in the climate system, basics of the observed atmosphere and ocean general circulation, its 3-dimensional features, and will focus on main modes of large scale variability (e.g. NAO, PNA, ENSO, etc.). The variability on different time scales will be addressed as well as anthropogenic climate change including an impact assessment and an introduction into actual political and social processes related to it.
The module will be assessed by a written exam (50%) and a combined student presentation and essay (50%).
M10 - Meteorological Applications and Services
This module aims to develop an understanding of (i) the organisation of national and private meteorological services around the world; (ii) the range of meteorological products and services that are available to the public and to commercial customers; (iii) of meteorology-derived financial products in insurance and risk assessment, and (iv) of how to market meteorological products including the production of marketing material.
The module is assessed by a written exam (60%) and the production of a business plan for a meteorological company (40%).
M6a - Research Proposal for Dissertation
This module aims to introduce students to the skills and methods required to undertake a research project and to produce a research proposal. Through the training components in the module, the student should be able to identify and select a research topic and write a research proposal that identifies hypotheses, data requirements, analysis techniques and applications for the research. Major contents include: (1) introduction to research in applied meteorology and climatology – discussion of previous dissertations; (2) how to write a research proposal; (3) data requirements and analysis techniques; (4) case studies from academic staff; and (5) PowerPoint presentations of proposals.
The module will be assessed by a research proposal (75%) and a PowerPoint presentation (25%).
M6b - Dissertation
This module aims to develop a student’s ability: (i) to carry out an independent piece of research; (ii) to gain experience of using field, laboratory or documentary sources; (iii) to interpret the results of previously published research; (iv) to make original observations or obtain secondary data; (v) to present results clearly and concisely in the form of text, maps, diagrams and other illustrations, and (vi) to appreciate the limitation and success of their efforts. Students are encouraged to choose the topic for which they have conducted literature review and submitted a proposal in M6a.
The module will be assessed 100% based on a 10,000-word dissertation.
Optional MSc Modules
M4 - Foundation Mathematics
This course is a foundation Mathematics course for students who have not specialised in Mathematics as an undergraduate. This module aims to provide students with knowledge and understanding of fundamental areas of Mathematics such as algebra, calculus and trigonometry. After completing this module, students will have a better understanding of the Mathematics that is taught during other MSc modules such as Theoretical Meteorology.
The module is assessed entirely by an examination lasting one hour and 30 minutes.
M7 - Weather, Climate and Society
The module is designed to make students familiar with basic aspects of mid-latitude weather (observations, analysis, forecasts), and the way operational information will be used for benefit for society. This will include interfaces between scientific knowledge and end users in economy and society on climate scales. Specific applications will be highlighted: the potential of wind and solar power; the cost/benefit of the use of weather information by industry; understanding of climate variability; the two way relationship between climate and society and the methods of climate impact assessment.
The module will be assessed by exam (100%).
M8 - Applied Micrometeorology
This module will provide students with an understanding of: (i) the principles of meteorology at small scales (metres to kilometres), (ii) the meteorological processes near the earth's surface (e.g., over a range of different surfaces/environments) associated with the exchange of heat, mass and momentum, and (iii) transport and dispersion of pollutants in the atmospheric boundary layer. By the end of the module the student should be able to: (i) demonstrate a knowledge of meteorological processes near the earth's surface and the exchange of heat, mass and momentum between the earth’s surface and the atmosphere; (ii) transfer this knowledge to applied micrometeorological problems in different environments e.g., urban/rural climate and air quality; (iii) become familiar with methods for analysing near-surface meteorological data: (a) to derive quantities such as heat and moisture fluxes; (b) to estimate energy budgets for a range of natural and human-made surfaces and so predict local climate; and (c) to assess the effects of micrometeorological processes upon air quality.
The module is assessed by a 3000-word project (100%).
M9 - Atmospheric Observations
The module encompasses all aspects of observing the atmosphere through direct and indirect measurements/observations. There are three main components to the module; conventional in-situ measurements, field observations and remote sensing methods (satellite and ground-based). By completing the module, students will gain knowledge of meteorological instrumentation and observations, appreciation of observation accuracies and requirements, interpretation of meteorological data, understanding of satellite systems and subsequent observations, and knowledge of applications of satellite data sets.
The module is assessed by a field observation presentation (33%) and an exam (67%).
M11 - Air Pollution Chemistry
Students will study the basic principles underlying the chemistry of the atmosphere and gain detailed knowledge of the chemical processes involved in important air pollution phenomena such as urban smog, acid rain and stratospheric ozone depletion. The key role of transient reactive intermediate species will be emphasised. The implications for air pollution control will be considered in depth.
The module is assessed by a computer-based atmospheric chemistry modelling exercise (15%), a written coursework exercise (35%), and a final exam (50%).
M12 - Causes and Effects of Air Pollution
The module sets out to highlight the major anthropogenic factors influencing air quality, and to consider the adverse consequences of air pollutants on health and the environment from the local to the global scale. It moves on to explore the physical basis for describing and modelling the movement of air pollutants through the environment. Personal exposure, including the contribution of microenvironment to a person’s total exposure to air pollutants, is considered. The module also considers the ways in which air pollution can be monitored, how these ways may be integrated to give representative and reliable information, and how measured and modelled data may be integrated to produce an air quality assessment.
The module is assessed by a multi-problem coursework exercise (3000-word essay equivalent; 50%) and one two-hour examination (50%).
M13 - Carbon Management
Carbon Management is an increasingly important consideration for individual organisations through to national governments, with recognition that responsible management and sustainable development require minimising carbon emissions where feasible. This module provides an introduction to all aspects of carbon management. Topics covered include the overall scientific context of the global carbon cycle, global policy aspects (Kyoto, Copenhagen and current UK / EU targets), carbon offsetting and emissions trading, geoengineering, the impact of changing energy sources (biofuels and renewable energy resources, including impacts on air quality) and local carbon management, with a focus on the techniques used by local authorities and individual organisations. The module concludes with a realistic review of the likely near-future global emissions trajectory, considering economic trends in the BRIC nations, and the scope for renewable energy on a national level.
The module will be assessed by two items of individual student work.
|Semester 1: Oct-Dec
||Lectures, course work
||Christmas Vacation (4 weeks)
|Semester 2: Jan-Mar
||Lectures, course work
||Easter Vacation (4 weeks); work placement
|Exam Period: May-Jun
||Exams (4 weeks)
|Semester 3: Jun-Sep
||Work on dissertation (~3 months)
|1st Friday in Sep
||Hand in dissertation (date subject to change)