METEO 470: Climate Dynamics

Instructor: Michael E. Mann Meeting Time/Place: TuTh 8:00-9:15 AM (103 Walker) TA: Andra Reed

Michael E. Mann
Department of Meteorology
514 Walker Building

Meeting Time/Place:

TuTh 8:00-9:15 AM (103 Walker)

TA: Andra Reed

Office Hours:

You are encouraged to use email for questions when possible. You are welcome to visit my office for questions during scheduled office hours (Wed 1:00-2:15 PM), or by appointment.


In order to under and model the climate system, we need to understand the dynamics of the underlying components, including the atmosphere and ocean, and the mechanisms by which they are coupled.

In this course, we will model the dynamics and thermodynamics governing the ocean and atmosphere on spatial and temporal scales appropriate for climate studies. We will investigate the processes by which the dynamics of the ocean and atmosphere are coupled on these timescales, with the goal of understanding the basic mechanisms of climate variability. Topics discussed will include the thermohaline and wind-driven ocean circulation, energy balance, the El Nino/Southern Oscillation (ENSO), internal and forced climate variability, and climate change.


We will regularly draw upon the course homepage METEO 470 SP16 as a resource for the course:

Aside from links to the course syllabus, there will be links to the readings, problem sets, slides from the lectures, and other course-related materials.


Attendance of all lectures is expected. You are strongly encouraged to ask questions and participate constructively in class. Copies of slides from the lectures will usually be made available electronically through the course website before or shortly following the lecture.


There is no required textbook.

I recommend as a reference: Peixoto and Oort (1992), Physics of Climate, 2nd Edition, American Institute of Physics Press, 564pp. (suggested sections indicated in lecture schedule below).

Where appropriate, supplementary readings taken from various sources will be posted on the course website.


Problem Sets (40%): There will be several (4) problem sets assigned that will involve applications of topics covered in class.  You may discuss the problems with each other, but the problem set you turn in should reflect your own individual effort.

“Up In the Air” Project (10%): You will participate in a project (in teams of 2-3 students) aimed at producing content (related to some aspect of the course) for use in the Meteorology Department’s new “Up In the Air” Television program. Projects are **DUE MARCH 22**. Each project team will give a short presentation sometime after Spring Break (late March through late April).

Mid-Term Exam (20%): There will be an in-class mid-term examination roughly mid-way through the semester (March 3).

Final Exam (30%): There will a final examination for the course at the scheduled time and date.