Meteorology 101                Introduction to the Atmosphere                     Course Syllabus

                                                Olympic College



Instructor: Dr. David Fong  (Dr. Dave)




Office Hours: Mon/Wed 3:45-4:15pm (ST-148), Mon/Wed 9:40-10:00pm (OCP-105),

                        Tue/Thu 3:15-4:55pm (Art-103)


Textbook: "Essentials of Meteorology 6th Edition " by C. Donald Ahrens


Course Objectives

_      Understand the evolution, composition, structure, and functions of the Earth's atmosphere

_      Understand temperature, heat, and heat transfer processes that operate in the atmosphere

_      Learn about the Earth’s annual energy budget and seasons

_      Understand the processes related to humidity, condensation, clouds and precipitation

_      Learn about air pressure and how it relates to global and local wind patterns

_      Learn about air masses, fronts, cyclones, thunderstorms, tornadoes and hurricanes

_      Learn about the basics of weather forecasting and global climate

_      Understand the science behind climate change and air pollution


Homework: Homework assignments are handed out on Tuesday and collected the following Tuesday.  One point will be deducted each day that the assignment is late. 


Extra Credit: Additional observing reports can be turned in each week to earn extra credit.  Once you have gathered at least four weeks of observations, you can write up a summary report to earn more extra credit. The final summary report is due by the last regular day of class.



Homework  - 90 points   (10-15 points each, the lowest HW score will be dropped)

Quizzes       - 90 points   (10-15 points each, the lowest quiz score will be dropped)

Final Exam - 60 points   (Comprehensive Exam)

Total         - 240 points


Grade Points:


Decimal Grade

Letter Grade


Decimal Grade

Letter Grade

94% - 100%

3.9 - 4.0


74% - 76%

1.9 - 2.1


90% - 93%

3.5 - 3.8


70% - 73%

1.5 - 1.8


87% - 89%

3.2 - 3.4


67% - 69%

1.2 - 1.4


84% - 86%

2.9 - 3.1


64% - 66%

0.9 - 1.1


80% - 83%

2.5 - 2.8


60% - 63%

0.7 - 0.8


77% - 79%

2.2 - 2.4


0% - 59%




Students must formally withdraw through the Admissions Office to receive the "W" grade.  I do not assign “WP” or “WF” grades.



Class Policy

_      Attendance is highly encouraged, but not mandatory.

_      Students are responsible for all the material covered in the lecture and the material covered in the relevant chapters of the textbook 

_      No late makeup Quizzes will be allowed

_      Prior arrangements must be made to take an early Quiz/Exam and other accommodations

_      In cases where you experience an unexpected illness or emergency during a Quiz/Exam day, contact me as soon as you can

_      Please turn off your cell phone, computer and camera during class


Academic Honesty: Cheating is a serious offense and may be punished by failure on an exam and/or expulsion from the college.  For more information, see the Student Code of Conduct at


Learning Disabilities and Special Needs: Any student who thinks he or she may need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact Access Services in HSS 204, or call 475-7540 for information. Information may also be found at


Disclaimer: Please be aware that certain aspects of the course may be modified in order to meet the needs of the class. You are responsible for knowing about all announcements made in class.



Tentative Class Schedule



Topics & Events


Week 1 (4/4-4/6)


Earth’s Atmosphere

Warming the Earth and the Atmosphere


Ch 1

Ch 2

Week 2 (4/11-4/13)

Light, Color and Atmospheric Optics

Air Temperature


Ch 15

Ch 3

Week 3 (4/18-4/20)


Humidity, Condensation and Clouds


Ch 4 


Week 4 (4/25-4/27)

Cloud Development and Precipitation


Ch 5

Week 5 (5/2-5/4)

Air Pressure and Winds


Ch 6

Week 6 (5/9-5/11)

Atmospheric Circulations


Ch 7


Week 7 (5/16-5/18)


Air Masses, Fronts and Cyclones

Weather Forecasting


Ch 8

Ch 9


Week 8 (5/23-5/25)


Thunderstorms and Tornadoes


Ch 10

Week 9 (5/30-6/1)


Global Climate


Ch 11

Ch 12

Week 10 (6/6-6/8)


Climate Change

Air Pollution

Quiz #9

Ch 13

Ch 14

Week 11 (6/13-6/15)

Final Exam Thr, Jun 15 1:00-3:00p