Meteorology: An Introduction to the Wonders of the Weather

Course No. 1796
Professor Robert G. Fovell, Ph.D.
University of California, Los Angeles
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Course No. 1796
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Course Overview

Famed physicist Richard Feynman once said, "Anyone who has been in a thunderstorm has enjoyed it, or has been frightened by it, or at least has had some emotion. And in those places in nature where we get an emotion, we find there is generally a corresponding complexity and mystery about it."

In the world of weather, you don't have to look far for that complexity, that mystery, or that heart-pounding emotion.

Consider, for example, the rushing Santa Ana winds that sweep into the Los Angeles basin with startling force. They descend from the cold heights of the mountains, yet they are dry and hot as any desert, bringing with them the smell of fire and parched summer days. What drives these powerful winds, and what is the source of their searing heat?

Or imagine that symbol of fierce prairie weather, the tornado. How do these intense swirling winds acquire their spin? And why do we find these twisting winds in the flat lands of the Midwest, but in few other places?

Pursuing the answers to questions like these is more than just an interesting intellectual exercise. Weather affects our lives each and every day, often determining where we can go and what we can do. But meteorology—the study of weather—is also a grand puzzle. From the swirling winds to the transformation of water vapor into clouds, each meteorological event is a tremendously complex interaction of forces and factors. To grasp the mystery of these phenomena is to understand a remarkably complex system and, ultimately, to gain a glimpse into the way all complex systems work.

In Meteorology: An Introduction to the Wonders of the Weather, you embark on a fascinating foray into this complex and enthralling field of study. In 24 engaging lectures, you explore the often surprising, always intriguing workings of the weather, guided by expert atmospheric scientist and Professor Robert G. Fovell. Bringing together geography, chemistry, physics, and other scientific disciplines, the study of weather offers insights into the world around you while also providing an opportunity to grasp the complex interactions that make up our world's climate.

A Complex Subject Made Accessible

Why is it often cooler by the shore than it is inland? Why are there deserts in some regions and rainforests in others? What makes the sky blue, clouds white, and the setting sun red?

With Professor Fovell's guidance, you'll probe the reasons behind everyday phenomena and gain a comprehensive understanding of the dynamic relationships and physical laws that shape our planet's climate. Professor Fovell takes a practical approach to weather, providing explanations that draw on common sense and everyday experience to make intricate interactions clear and accessible.

The course opens with a series of lectures that introduce the fundamental concepts of meteorology:

  • the structure of the atmosphere
  • the physics of gases, liquids, and solids
  • the impact of the Earth's shape and movement on weather
  • the factors that drive winds and affect the ability of air to hold moisture
  • the effect of solar radiation on the Earth and its atmosphere
  • the processes that create clouds

In later lectures, you build on these fundamental concepts to develop a full understanding of large-scale weather events, such as tornadoes and hurricanes, and global climate patterns.

Along the way, Professor Fovell brings these concepts to life with concrete demonstrations, illustrative examples, and compelling videos and images. With each explanation, Professor Fovell describes these complicated phenomena in down-to-earth, easy-to-understand terms to create an accessible picture of the Earth's weather.

Probing Weather's Mysteries

As you build your knowledge of how weather works, you'll delve into remarkable meteorological phenomena that offer a window into the mysterious force of nature. With Professor Fovell's lucid commentary, you'll grow to appreciate the complex patterns that create the weather around us.

You'll learn, for example, how hurricanes are the result of complex but comprehensible forces that can be mapped, studied, and understood. The extreme weather of El Niño, the towering swirl of the cyclone, the crash of thunder that follows the lightning—each mystery is unveiled as you investigate the science behind these remarkable phenomena.

You'll also encounter a treasure trove of intriguing and often surprising facts and insights, including these fascinating tidbits:

  • To the casual observer, lightning appears to be one quick stroke from cloud to ground, but a typical lightning stroke actually has four parts—two strokes down, two up—and the upward strokes pack the biggest punch.
  • Our perception of "dry" and "moist" does not reflect the actual amount of moisture in the air. There may be more water vapor contained in the air on a hot, dry, early summer day in Death Valley than on a cold, foggy, winter day in Minnesota.
  • Although the build-up of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere could have deleterious effects on the world's climate, if the atmosphere contained no greenhouse gases, the Earth's surface would likely be frozen everywhere, including in the tropics.
  • One of the most influential impacts on the weather is that seething reservoir of energy, the ocean. Because of the ocean's movement, waters off the coast of California are much cooler than those at the same latitude off the coast of Asia.

An Intriguing Glimpse into the Meteorologist's Art

With so many forces interacting, how do meteorologists make sense of the weather happening around us? How do they comprehend these patterns on a regional and global level? And how do they use their knowledge to forecast tomorrow's weather?

Professor Fovell sheds light on the art and science of meteorology, describing the tools scientists use to explain and predict the weather. You'll examine weather maps to see how meteorologists create a picture of conditions at any given moment and learn about advanced computer models that allow scientists to forecast how storms may develop over time. As you explore the meteorologist's art, you'll gain a deep appreciation for the fascinating work done to try to explicate the ongoing mystery of the world's weather.

You'll find no better guide than Dr. Fovell. An experienced instructor and noted meteorological researcher, Professor Fovell provides a comprehensive introduction to this fascinating field. Using everyday examples, vivid demonstrations, and visual aids, Professor Fovell conveys his excitement about the intriguing puzzle of the natural world while making this complex topic accessible to all viewers.

Join Professor Fovell as he explicates one of nature's most compelling mysteries. Guided by his expertise, you'll never look at the weather in the same way again.

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24 lectures
 |  Average 30 minutes each
  • 1
    Nature Abhors Extremes
    From thunderstorms to typhoons to driving winds, the world's weather is often tumultuous, destructive, and surprising. And yet, all these phenomena represent Nature's attempt to mitigate extreme conditions. In this introduction, begin to explore some of these extremes as you examine the great complexity of the world weather system. x
  • 2
    Temperature, Pressure, and Density
    Why do cold and warm fronts exist? Can you dig a well so deep you cannot pump water from it? Find the answer to these and other questions as you explore three key concepts of weather—temperature, pressure, and density—and the equation that sums up their relationship: the ideal gas law. x
  • 3
    Atmosphere—Composition and Origin
    What is air made of? Is it always true that hot air rises and cold air sinks? Learn more about the air that surrounds us and cushions us from the outer reaches of space, and examine the various layers that make up the earth's atmosphere. x
  • 4
    Radiation and the Greenhouse Effect
    Energy radiates all around us, streaming in from sunbeams and emanating from every object on Earth. Investigate the various kinds of radiation represented on the electromagnetic spectrum, and see how these forms of energy—assisted by the greenhouse effect—make life possible on our planet. x
  • 5
    Sphericity, Conduction, and Convection
    If all the Earth receives energy from the sun, why are there such wide temperature differences across the planet? Why do we have seasons? Answer these questions while learning about how heat moves through the atmosphere via two basic processes: conduction and convection. x
  • 6
    Sea Breezes and Santa Anas
    Gain an understanding of how wind works as you explore the way temperature and pressure drive sea breezes during the day and land breezes at night. Then apply these findings to a dramatic wind condition, the famous Santa Ana winds of California. x
  • 7
    An Introduction to Atmospheric Moisture
    Add a new element to your understanding of the atmosphere—water—and learn some basic facts about air's capacity to hold water vapor, including the impact of temperature on atmospheric moisture and the implications for weather. x
  • 8
    Bringing Air to Saturation
    Why does dew form on some mornings? Why does it take longer to cook food at higher elevations? Discover the answer to these questions as you learn about saturation: the point where air holds the highest amount of water vapor that it can contain. x
  • 9
    Clouds, Stability, and Buoyancy, Part 1
    One of the most familiar and beautiful features of weather is the cloud. In this lecture, examine different kinds of clouds, learn how clouds are born, why and how they take their distinctive shapes, and what kinds of conditions are likely to produce clouds. x
  • 10
    Clouds, Stability, and Buoyancy, Part 2
    Continue your discussion of clouds as you take a closer look at the climates and precipitation relating to this weather phenomenon. Discover why some clouds produce rain while others do not and see why deserts are often found on the lee side of mountains. x
  • 11
    Whence and Whither the Wind, Part 1
    Move from clouds to wind as you begin to explore how and why air is transported around the globe. Examine how conditions, including differences in air pressure and temperature as well as the rotation of the Earth, determine where winds arise and the direction in which they blow. x
  • 12
    Whence and Whither the Wind, Part 2
    In addition to pressure differences and the Earth's rotational movement, two other forces help to determine the winds' strength and direction: friction and centripetal force. Learn about these two forces and examine how they shape the winds the world over. x
  • 13
    The Global Atmospheric Circulation
    After mastering the four forces that affect wind, step back to view their patterns of flow across the Earth's hemispheres. Examine the two models of air circulation that help account for large-scale air-circulation patterns and variations in temperature from the poles to the equator. x
  • 14
    Fronts and Extratropical Cyclones
    In this lecture, you encounter some of the most dramatic air-flow patterns found in nature, the swift, turning winds of the cyclone. Trace the lifecycle of the extratropical cyclone, which draws its power from the huge energy generated when different air masses meet. x
  • 15
    Middle Troposphere—Troughs and Ridges
    Shift your eyes to the sky and examine what happens in a higher level of the atmosphere called the middle troposphere. With this examination, you discover two new features in large weather systems—troughs and ridges that occur in areas of very low and very high pressure—and see how these features affect the weather. x
  • 16
    Wind Shear—Horizontal and Vertical
    Expand your understanding of how air moves by taking a three-dimensional view of atmospheric circulation. Discover what happens when winds change direction and what conditions cause these changes in wind shear. x
  • 17
    Mountain Influences on the Atmosphere
    In this lecture, investigate how mountains can disturb the atmosphere into which they intrude from below. Also, learn how these disturbances can be felt far and wide. x
  • 18
    Thunderstorms, Squall Lines, and Radar
    That familiar crash of thunder and the torrential rains that often accompany it are common weather during the warm season. Learn how these noisy storms can form near cold fronts associated with extratropical cyclones and see how scientists use radar to study these storms. x
  • 19
    Supercells, Tornadoes, and Dry Lines
    Delve deeper into tumultuous weather as you learn about the formation of towering supercell storms. You also take a detailed look at how the conditions that produce these storms can lead to deadly tornadoes. x
  • 20
    Ocean Influences on Weather and Climate
    With their massive volume and constantly moving currents, oceans provide a vast reservoir of energy. Explore how the winds help generate movement in the ocean and, in turn, how the oceans affect weather all over the world, creating a huge feedback loop that helps create our climate. x
  • 21
    Tropical Cyclones
    Building on your understanding of how the ocean affects weather, turn your attention to the tropical cyclone, generally known as the hurricane or typhoon. Examine the typical structures of the tropical cyclone, and investigate the conditions needed to unleash these dangerous storms. x
  • 22
    Light and Lightning
    Here, you bring together all you've learned in earlier lectures about the composition of air, the electromagnetic spectrum, the condensation of liquid, and the role of oceans in our climate, and use that information to explore two dazzling phenomena: light and lightning. x
  • 23
    Prediction and Predictability
    Scientists have learned a lot about how weather works and have developed sophisticated tools to predict what may happen in our weather. You learn about the sophisticated numerical models these experts use, as well as the inevitable limitations of those models. x
  • 24
    The Imperfect Forecast
    Despite all their knowledge and tools, scientists cannot make perfect predictions. Find out why, using the example of Hurricane Rita in 2005, and explore the deep complexity of weather and climate that makes the subject of meteorology one that continues to fascinate. x

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Your professor

Robert G. Fovell

About Your Professor

Robert G. Fovell, Ph.D.
University of California, Los Angeles
Dr. Robert G. Fovell is Professor of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he serves as cofounder and cochair of the Interdepartmental Program in Mathematics/Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences. He earned his Ph.D. in Atmospheric Sciences from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. A committed classroom teacher, Professor Fovell teaches courses on topics including...
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Reviews

Meteorology: An Introduction to the Wonders of the Weather is rated 4.1 out of 5 by 186.
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Introduction toThe Wonders of the Weather The content was much too complicated for only 24 lectures and it was too easy to get lost in all the terms. I am a pilot and have had some instruction in the weather which helped me understand the course content, but it appeared to be a course primarily for students interested in majoring in weather. The lectures, though well laid out, were boring and done in a monotone by the professor reading from the prompt screen. He stood behind a desk and never moved.
Date published: 2017-07-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved It. I really enjoyed this course. The instructor really beats concepts into your head with repetitive instruction. Which is good. At least for me. It helped me keep in mind how all these concepts are tied together. I also find his dry humor hysterical.
Date published: 2017-07-01
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Useful but could have been more so As with other Great Courses, I did not rush through it but worked slowly, repeating lectures and supplementing with excursions to the National Weather Service and other websites. In the end, I came away with a much better understanding of the weather and the complexities of the field of meteorology. The course happily covers a lot of ground, from basic concepts of how temperature, pressure, and density are related to how hurricanes differ from severe land storms. This can be complicated and dense material, so those with little science background or whose science studies took place many years ago will likely have to go hit the pause button frequently. But in the end, I think the extensive coverage of material relating to weather makes the course worthwhile. Nevertheless, I think the course could have been more accessible if the lecturer had done more than read the material and provide limited and largely static graphics. By this I mean that in science, illustration is critical to understanding. If the lecturer wants to explain horizontal and vertical vortices or shear, uplifting air parcels, or pressure gradients, for example, he should use his hands or manipulate objects or actively use a pointer with the relevant graphic to show how these work. More graphics would have been welcome; better yet, animated graphics. This is particularly important in a situation like a Great Course where there is no interplay between audience and lecturer. True, I could find clearer explanations online of things like horizontal and vertical shear or the color organization of a rainbow. But it would have been better coming from the lecturer. In this regard, the course guide provided disappointing since it seemed mostly to select and compress portions of the lecture (generally without any illustrations) rather than explain or elaborate. So, in the end was the course worthwhile for me? Yes. Could it have been more accessible and useful? Yes.
Date published: 2017-06-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful course. You enjoy a course when you sense the instructor's enjoyment of the subject. This fellow loves the weather and shares his commitment to the science of it. I'm halfway through and make time even on busy evenings for this fascinating video. Thanks to Prof Fovell, and another good job by GC.
Date published: 2017-06-16
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Meteorology 101 - unfortunately. If you're looking for Meteorology 101 as it would be taught at almost any college this is your course. Although he's not bad at reading the course is delivered as read from a meteorological text which the professor probably wrote. And it is a faithful regurgitation of all he was taught complete with esoteric nomenclature and lots of graphs broken occasionally and thankfully by some good visuals and even a demo or two. If viewed by his former instructors I'm sure they would give him a pat on the head plant a gold star right on his forehead. However, if you're not seeking a meteorology degree but would just like a good basic understanding and have it taught by a true teacher you're out of luck, way out. This is the standard kind of instruction so prevalent in the classroom and so unnecessarily complicated and boring. I'm an honors math and science major and even I gave up. Not because I couldn't or didn't learn anything but because what I did learn wasn't worth the effort. The Teaching Company really needs to vet these so-called 'teachers' and separate the real ones from the mere instructors.
Date published: 2017-06-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Covers weather basics very well. This is not a reading course. Requires some study all the way, but you will understand the weather better than you ever did. The professor is an excellent teacher.
Date published: 2017-06-12
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not for the novice I have to agree with Cousindrew and Will C. This is not the course for one who has no prior knowledge of meteorology. Too much jargon, too many acronyms, etc. I have not been able to finish the course. I could recommend it only to someone who had a good grounding in the sciences involved.
Date published: 2017-06-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Presentation The instructor for this course is knowledgeable and presents facts in an easy to understand manner. Being a Physicist of course helps one appreciate it even more.
Date published: 2017-05-31
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Too Difficult for the Novice Based on the reviews to date, it certainly appears Prof. Fovell's course has struck a positive chord with many purchasers. For me, however, someone who is interested in better understanding the daily weather forecasts, radar and satellite imagery, etc., this course was much more in depth and complex than I needed or wanted. I found the course material extremely dense and dry, and Prof. Fovell's presentation style tedious and dull. I have tried several times over the years since I purchased the course to get past the first 10 lectures or so, but I can't get there. If you want a deep dive into the science of meteorology, you will probably like this course. For my taste and interests, however, which are more toward better understanding the daily drama on the Weather Channel, the Great Courses's recent course, Science of Extreme Weather, really fits the bill and, I think, is a far superior option.
Date published: 2017-03-24
Rated 2 out of 5 by from A Little Disappointing I bought this course with the hope of learning something about the weather. All of the science and technical terms are there. The instructor presents them in an organized fashion. But, his teaching style is so dry and uninspired I lost interest after the first few lectures. I tried to persevere but couldn't finish. I own a lot of courses from The Great Courses, this was the first I couldn,t finisn
Date published: 2017-03-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great lectures These lectures have given me some real insight into the weather. I can recommend this course.
Date published: 2017-02-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from God sent! I'm retired with a A.S. degree, and love to learn . I made the mistake of allowing this course material to collect dust because I thought that it would be a simple generic review found in a typical bookstore format. Wow, was I really mistaken, this course, truly is a magnificent masterpiece! The course begins with the more simple foundation building blocks and then each subsequent lecture builds on the previous one. The course offers illustrations that are both graphical and interactive, no book can do. The Professor delves in deeply for an introductory course that actually covers complex topics. I believe this course is worth every penny and more, and you simply will not find this anywhere else. My personal view is that some people are just plain negative and let's face it they think that they know everything and suffer from something greater than any course could provide.
Date published: 2017-02-03
Rated 2 out of 5 by from The course would be much improved if the instructor had not used so many acronyms--just use plain English, please.
Date published: 2016-11-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Initial Comment Haven't finished the course yet. But can't wait to comment on disliking the dark panels and glass that surround the presenter. Why make this video so depressing to look at? Lighten up in presentation environment or count me out as a subscriber. Even a classroom with natural light would be better, not some dark, dumb looking set.
Date published: 2016-11-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Weather The course was very good. It was quite a bit more than what I have expected. This is a good college level class.
Date published: 2016-10-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A lot here ! I love finding courses about how nature moves, works ands operates, not many out there. So finding this course on weather is a gem. I am learning this from an outdoors persons perspective, "what can I learn that I can use when I am outdoors?". I was totally fascinated by seeing the big picture of how it's all moving and interacting. I feel it has deepened my outdoor experiences. Please make more courses about nature !
Date published: 2016-10-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Missed the Mark For Me First, let me say the Professor Fovell is more than knowledgeable on the subject of weather. I, on the other hand, was a complete neophyte on this subject and was hoping to gain enough knowledge to understand why weather events happen, don’t happen, and why weather predictions are so often wrong. I found the stationary position of the lecturer quite disconcerting. As a frequent lecturer myself I have learned to be more mobile, engaging, and enthusiastic. That being said I was immediately snowed under by the blizzard (pun intended) of acronyms presented in the early lectures. By the time Professor Fovell put them to use in later lectures, I had to spend much frustrating time trying to learn them again. I would have preferred immediate utilization of the concepts represented by these acronyms in explaining real world situations based on weather events, forecasts, and outcomes. The course guidebook was no help and absolutely skimpy considering the material being presented. There was a glossary that would be useful for reference later, but not for immediate learning. There were many diagrams during the lectures that would have been useful in the guidebook. Even the available transcript would offer no help there. There were map symbols that should have been contained, along with explanations, in the guidebook. I did like the lecture on modeling but he spoke of a difference between weather of climate, but alas, did not elaborate. My purpose in taking this course was to get a thorough, high level, grounding on the nature of weather, but alas, I cannot say I met my goal. I think this course could have really benefited with 45 minute lectures and a more robust course guidebook.
Date published: 2016-10-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Intro for Curious Students This course was an excellent introduction to the basic relationships of weather patterns, terminology, and observable physics / mechanics of meteorology and atmospheric sciences. I would recommend that everyone interested start with this series and continue on to the Extreme Weather course which will recycle some of the concepts from this course but expand your exposure from concepts to historical extremes and graphic imaging. Both courses are complementary to the new student.
Date published: 2016-10-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An Introduction but then becomes complicated First, some words of caution. It seems this course is comprised of two parts. First 12 lectures deal with the basics and the physical science governing atmospheric phenomena. But, after 13th lecture it becomes more and more complicated, I had to listen some lectures several times. Professor's presentation is engaging, but I think there should have been another 12 lectures between these two. Also, I wish I could learn something more practical especially about reading clouds and instant weather forecast by it (internet and cultural wisdom are full of such anectodes). But in general, it is a very good course and I highly recommend it.
Date published: 2016-09-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Exactly what I was looking for As an aviation instructor, I'm always working to add to my knowledge base to increase the value of what I can offer to my students. Weather is a major focus of my instruction and this course has added to my toolbox. This is definitely a college-level course. Prof. Fovell takes complex concepts and breaks them down into understandable blocks. He's easy to listen to, provides great examples, and obviously has a passion for the subject. Highly recommend this course if you want to understand the hows and whys of weather.
Date published: 2016-06-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Read the booklet One isn't going to remember all the info on the slides, so read the booklet & take notes. Too many new acronyms. Also, the slide showing the wavelengths of light is not correct. The horizontal axis indicates millionths of a meter (microns), it should be billionths of a meter (nanometers). Visible light is ~450-700 nanometers not micrometers. Or 4500 -7000 angstroms. But I think Prof Fovell knows this and probably wishes he had more time to preview the slides. Re: presentation. Glancing back & forth to the wrong camera was somewhat distracting. I needed to pretend he was addressing other students in "my classroom". And if they are going to place a coffee cup (or water) on his podium, all him to be human & take a sip from time to time. I lived in the San Fernando Valley & can relate to the weather he explains for that area. He is spot on. I now understand the Santa Ana winds. Didn't know they originated in Nevada.
Date published: 2016-06-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Spectacularly Good Course I took this course three years ago and was highly impressed. Since then, I tried to flesh out my understanding of the contents of Prof Fovell's course through reading and other sources. Guess what? ...........Compared to him everything I could find to read was highly disappointing. So........what I did was to go back into the course for specific topicws and enjoy having Prof Fovell straighten me out. Finally, a month ago, I re-viewed the entire course, beginning to end. When I needed to, I would play certain segments two or three times. Make no mistake, please, this is not a simple topic. However, I testify that in a not-small effort over three years I have never found anything even close to the quality of Prof. Fovell's wonderful effort. Thanks!
Date published: 2016-03-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Top notch Very enjoyable, interesting and just plain fun. The professor does a nice job with explanations and visual aids. Like to meet him sometime.
Date published: 2016-01-28
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Meteorology I have no quibbles with the presentation or the information or the professor who does an excellent job as a presenter. The problem is the depth of the content--it is way too detailed for what I would consider a "survey" course of meteorology. If the course was confined to 12 lectures then I believe it would be more comprehensible and interesting for the average person.. I finally gave up after 12 lectures and donated it to the local library.
Date published: 2016-01-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good, but.......... I agree with others that say this is somewhat more than what they were hoping for. It is a good course for meteorology or even science majors, but not so much for the neophyte.
Date published: 2016-01-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Excellent Value Professor does a great job in each of the chapters.. really like that he reviews his previous chapter and chapters before beginning the current one. All chapters build towards understanding how weather works.
Date published: 2016-01-21
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Unexpected Take on Meteorology I've always been fascinated by storms, hurricanes, tornados and other extremes of weather so already had a certain popular perception of meteorology. But, I did not want to do the work and learn about dry adiabatic lapse rate or environmental lapse rate and how they would ultimately tell us if clouds are positively or negatively buoyant. This kind of take on meteorology is just not for me. However, I've never taken a meteorology course before so I'm not exactly sure how it's suppose to be taught. Maybe it is taught this way, but the professor didn't break a sweat to make it even remotely exciting. Basically, the presenter was dry and the content was even drier.
Date published: 2016-01-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fathoming the most complex phenomena Yo! Weather is so complex that massive supercomputers can fully wrap their electrodes around it. In this course, however, you will get a belly-full of concepts that can HELP you begin to understand what the heck is happening up there. I found the course to be exciting and I respect, admire, and enjoy the prof. You'll need some cranial capacity to grok this one but for most, this course is money well spent.
Date published: 2015-11-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Just what I wanted! This course was well presented in every way. The graphics were well done with just the right level of complexity to demonstrate the concepts without having so much detail as to be confusing when watching on DVD. I would have liked the course to be 12 lectures longer to add to the more complex topics. But I found the course just what I wanted - I learned enough to understand most of the terminology I read in the detailed weather service forecasts with the talk of "troughs" and "ridges" and "CAPE" and "lifting" etc. One thing that would have improved the course would have been to have had all the graphics in the course guide book.
Date published: 2015-11-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Like the Weather, Not What I Predicted I am really struggling with this review. The bottom line is that this course did not deliver the material I was hoping it would cover. The professor teaches the course in a highly technical manner, often delving deep into the physics and science behind weather phenomenon such as cloud formation and rotational spin. He clearly understands the topic very well and does a good job of presenting the material. The problem is that I was really expecting the course to focus less on the detailed science behind the formation of different weather events and focus more on topics like identifying different types of cloud formations and what those formations portend for the forecast. I was hoping for more lectures on phenomena like hail, snow, tornadoes and hurricanes. While all of these topics come up, this course spends far more time on the underlying causation of these phenomena than teaching about how they manifest to the casual observer. For instance, the professor covered tornadoes for only about fifteen minutes in the latter half of one lecture. He covered different types of lightening in less than five minutes. In struggling with the best way to describe the experience, I felt this course was intended to be an introduction for meteorology majors rather than a course for non-majors simply interested in learning more about basic topics. I am definitely in the "non-major" category when it comes to meteorology and was really hoping for something more basic. So, if your goal is to delve into the nitty-gritty of the science of weather, then this is probably a fantastic course. If your goal, like mine, is just to learn more about common weather phenomena and how forecasting is done, then this course is probably not a great fit.
Date published: 2015-09-18
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