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METEO 410 - Advanced Topics in 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 410: ADVANCED TOPICS IN WEATHER FORECASTING (3 credits) - Exploring highly specialized topics and techniques in weather forecasting that span from mesoscale to planetary spatial scales, and short-term to long-range time scales.

METEO 410 is the capstone course in Penn State's online program that confers a Certificate of Achievement in Weather Forecasting). It is offered every semester, Fall (August - December) and Spring (January - May).

METEO 410 is designed for adult students seeking a Certificate of Achievement in Weather Forecasting. The course will review and expand upon major topics and themes in its prerequisite courses, and it will emphasize the application of conceptual models and advanced forecasting strategies in making deterministic weather forecasts. Student participation in the national collegiate weather forecasting competition, WxChallenge, is required and will be the foundation of various types of course assessment. The course lessons, activities, and assignments have been developed with the following objectives and outcomes in mind.


Objectives for METEO 410

  • Students will demonstrate the ability to produce real-time forecasts of a variety of weather variables for atmospheric systems that span the mesoscale to the planetary scale.
  • Students will demonstrate the ability to use the output from numerical weather prediction models to guide the creation of short-term weather forecasts.

Outcomes for METEO 410

  • Students will demonstrate knowledge of the Norwegian cyclone model and its use as a conceptual framework for the creation of a weather forecast.
  • Students will demonstrate knowledge of the roles of both the upper-level flow (e.g., the jet stream) and the thermodynamic structure in determining the expected evolution of the atmosphere at various locations.
  • Students will demonstrate knowledge of orographic influences on precipitation.
  • Students will demonstrate the ability to use dynamic, statistical, and ensemble numerical forecasts of the atmosphere to diagnose quantitatively the likely atmospheric conditions at a specific location.
  • Students will demonstrate the ability to create and disseminate, in a timely fashion, a useful weather forecast based on current observations and numerical forecasts of the atmosphere.

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.


METEO 101, METEO 241, and METEO 361


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

Five components will comprise your final grade in METEO 410:

  • Lesson Quizzes: 10%
  • Lab Exercises and WxChallenge City Climatologies: 30%
  • Your standing in each of the final 3 WxChallenge cities: 20%
  • 3 Post-Mortem Assignments: 30%
  • Class Participation: 10%

Course Schedule

Course Schedule
  • Introduce yourself
  • Submit the "Your WxChallenge Information" Survey
2Lesson 1. Forecasting Fundamentals
  • Lesson 1 Quiz
  • Lab Exercise 1
3Lesson 2. Ensemble Forecasting
  • Lesson 2 Quiz
  • Lab Exercise 2
4Lesson 3. Statistical Models
  • Lesson 3 Quiz
  • Lab Exercise 3
5Lesson 4. Forecasting Temperature: Controllers and Strategies
  • Lesson 4 Quiz
  • Lab Exercise 4
6Lesson 5. Forecasting Wind: Controllers and Strategies
  • Lesson 5 Quiz
  • Lab Exercise 5
7Lesson 6. Forecasting Precipitation: Controllers and Strategies
  • Lesson 6 Quiz
  • Lab Exercise 6
  • Climatology for WxChallenge City 3
8WxChallenge City 3
  • WxChallenge forecasts for City 3
  • Discussion
  • Climatology for WxChallenge City 4
9WxChallenge City 4
  • WxChallenge forecasts for City 4
  • Discussion
  • Post-Mortem 1
10WxChallenge City 5
  • WxChallenge forecasts for City 5
  • Post-Mortem 2
11Post-Mortem 3
  • Post-Mortem 3
12Lesson 7. Introduction to Medium- and Long-Range Forecasting
  • No official assignments this week