ATMS442/504: Atmospheric Motions II
Instructors: Prof. Gregory Hakim (685.2439) (www)
            Dr. Lynn McMurdie (685.9405)

Department of Atmospheric Sciences; University of Washington


This course surveys the dynamics of synoptic- and meso-scale disturbances including extratropical cyclones and fronts, inertia-gravity waves, and topographically forced flows. We will also consider atmospheric adjustment to geostrophy in extratropical latitudes and normal modes of the tropical atmosphere. Insight into the dynamics of these features is gained through systematic simplification of the governing equations applied to idealized, but realistic, approximations of atmospheric structure.

Final Exam review page

Prerequisites:  ATMS 441 (503).
Class meets:  M W F 1:30-2:20 p.m. JHN 111 (lecture) and T 1:30-4:20 p.m. ATG610 (laboratory).
 Lab home page

Text:  An Introduction to Dynamic Meteorology, by J. R. Holton (Academic Press, 2004, fourth edition)

GJH Office hours:  , or by appointment.

Syllabus ("Q" = Friday quiz):

Week 1    Math background; wave properties 
Week 2    Q   Waves in rotating shallow water. 
Week 3    Shallow water waves; geostrophic adjustment  
Week 4    Q   Geostrophic adjustment; quasi-geostrophic (QG) equations 
Week 5    QG equations and cyclogenesis 
Week 6    Q   Baroclinic instability 
Week 7    Frontogenesis 
Week 8    Q   The energy cycle 
Week 9    Internal gravity waves and mountain flows 
Week 10    Q   Tropical waves & hurricanes 

Holidays: 17 January (Martin Luther King Day); 21 February (Presidents Day).

Final Exam: Monday 14 March 2:30--4:20 pm

Grading: Homework: 25%; Laboratory 25%; Quizes 25%; Final exam 25%.


Notes on baroclinic instability


Additional resources:

Real-time QG diagnostics

500 hPa spectrally decomposed

CDC OLR and tropical modes

442 equations.

wave properties.

Group velocity
Cyclone climatology and preferred tracks.

Eady most unstable growing mode.

Eady most unstable decaying mode.


Observations of baroclinic waves

Idealized cyclone development in Eady's model

Downstream development

Hovmoeller of an observed case of downstream development

Hovmoeller of tropical modes in outgoing longwave radiation

Tropical beta-plane dispersion diagram

Kelvin wave

Eastward gravity wave

Westward gravity wave

Rossby wave (n=1)

Rossby wave (n=2)

Mixed Rossy-gravity wave

Western Pacific satellite image

Hurricane maximum potential intensity
Hurricane structure images:
cross section 1

cross section 2


The "stadium effect" (thermal wind balance)