Site Navigation

Section Navigation

Courses : Syllabi : 103

Geography 103 Weather and Climate


Dr. Molly Pohl-Costello

Course Description

Weather and Climate offers the opportunity to learn about the nature of the atmosphere and how it shapes both short-term phenomenon such as thunderstorms and hurricanes (weather) and longer-term meteorological trends such as extended drought or glacial-interglacial cycles (climate.) Although there are no prerequisites for the class, meteorology is an applied physical science and some of the material cannot be adequately covered without reference to some basic mathematical equations. An understanding of these equations will be required, although there will be only minimal problem solving on the exams. This class offers General Education credit under “Natural Sciences and Quantitative Reasoning: Physical Sciences.” See SDSU General Catalog for more information.




Your grade in this course will be based on the following elements:

Grade breakdown:
This scale may be curved at the end of the semester if a reasonable distribution of grades is not obtained from the straight scale.

There will be three non-cumulative examinations and three assignments in this course. The exams will consist of essays, problems, multiple choice and short answer questions. Make-up exams will only be allowed for special circumstances and should be arranged before the regular exam is given. A study guide will be available on Blackboard prior to each exam.

Assignments will be constructed as appropriate to further understanding of weather and climate principles and students will be given notice of assignment due dates.

Books and Materials

Edward Aguado and J. E. Burt 2009.Understanding Weather and Climate, Fifth edition. Prentice Hall.

The book comes with a useful CD-ROM containing several types of learning modules. Many chapters have Tutorials and Interactive Exercises, while every chapter has some combination of movies (Weather in Motion), and Weather Images. The tutorials, interactive exercises, movies and images are an important component of the Text/CD-ROM package and you should refer to these while reading the text. Appropriate CD modules are highlighted throughout the text by icons in the page margins. Please be aware that if you buy a used copy of a former edition, you will have to pay a substantial fee to access the textbook website and your CD-ROM may be missing and/or outdated.

Weekly Topics

The following schedule is tentitive, the pacing of the lectures is determined by class dynamics. The exam dates are also tentitive. However, up-to-date information will be posted on Blackboard as the class progresses.

Week Topic
Week One Introduction to course
Composition and Structure of Atmosphere
Week Two Solar Radiation and the Seasons
Week Three Energy Balance and Temperature
Week Four Atmospheric Pressure and Wind
Week Five Exam One
Atmospheric Moisture
Week Six Atmospheric Moisture (cont)
Week Seven Cloud Development and Forms
Week Eight Precipitation Processes
Week Nine Exam Two
Atmospheric Circulation and Pressure Distributions
Week Ten Atmospheric Circulation and Pressure Distributions (cont)
Week Eleven Air Masses and Fronts
Week Twelve Midlatitude Cyclones
Week Thirteen Lightning, Thunder and Tornadoes
Week Fourteen Lightning, Thunder and Tornadoes (cont)
Tropical Storms and Hurricanes
Week Fifteen Exam Three
Tropical Storms and Hurricanes (cont)

The statements found on this page/site are for informational purposes only. While every effort is made to ensure that this information is up to date and accurate, official information can be found in the university publications.