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METEO 361 - Fundamentals of Mesoscale Weather Forecasting

This is a sample syllabus.

This sample syllabus is a representative example of the information and materials included in this course. Information about course assignments, materials, and dates listed here is subject to change at any time. Definitive course details and materials will be available in the official course syllabus, in Canvas, when the course begins.


METEO 361: FUNDAMENTALS OF MESOSCALE WEATHER FORECASTING (3 credits) - Applying atmospheric principles to small-scale weather systems, with an emphasis on the conceptual modeling and short-range prediction of severe thunderstorms.

METEO 361 is designed specifically for adult students seeking a Certificate of Achievement in Weather Forecasting. The course will build off of general atmospheric principles covered in METEO 101 in order to draw connections between large-scale (synoptic) weather patterns and smaller-scale (mesoscale) weather. While many topics in METEO 361 relate to the development, evolution, and prediction of various types of deep, moist convection, other topics such as winter mesoscale weather and fire weather are also covered.



When you successfully complete this course, you will be prepared to:

  • describe how the vertical structure of the atmosphere controls the onset and evolution of convective phenomena
  • describe how various indices and maps derived from atmospheric soundings can reveal the potential for severe convection to occur in the atmosphere
  • describe the role of Convective Available Potential Energy and vertical wind shear in determining the evolution of mesoscale phenomena
  • analyze atmospheric radar returns to diagnose the structure of precipitating systems and the potential for such severe weather such as flash flooding, hail formation, tornadoes, and damaging straight-line winds
  • create and disseminate a useful real-time mesoscale weather prediction given certain time constraints, based on current observations and numerical forecasts of the atmosphere
  • apply analyses and forecasts routinely issued by the Storm Prediction Center

Required Materials

Typically, there are no required materials for this course. If this changes, students will find a definitive list in the course syllabus, in Canvas, when the course begins.




We have worked hard to make this the most effective and convenient educational experience possible. How much and how well you learn is dependent on your attitude, diligence, and willingness to ask for clarifications or help when you need them. We are here to help you succeed. Please keep up with the class schedule and take advantage of opportunities to communicate with us and with your fellow students. You can expect to spend an average of 8 - 10 hours per week on class work.

Major Assignments

Three components of assessment will comprise your final grade in METEO 361:

  • 10 Promotion Quizzes (20% of final grade)
  • 10 Lab Exercises (30% of final grade)
  • 3 Projects (50% of final grade)

Course Schedule

All assignment deadlines will be available in Canvas at the start of the semester.

Course Schedule
1Meeting the Mesoscale
2Tools for Mesoscale Forecasting and Analysis
3Sizing up the Synoptic Scale
4Advanced Tools for Assessing DMC
5Discrete and Semi-Discrete Thunderstorms
6Organized Convective Systems
7Mesoscale Air-Mass Boundaries
8Terrain Effects
9A Closer Look at Supercells
10Storm Hazards