Course Description

This course provides a broad overview of mountain weather and climate. We investigate how mountains help control the weather and climate throughout the western United States and other places around the world. The course provides an advanced survey of synoptic, mesoscale, and microscale meteorology in complex terrain explaining how terrain and thermally driven flows, mountain waves, downslope winds, gap winds, and orographic precipitation form. Class discussions and course work address topics including:

  • What causes snow in the Rocky Mountains to be "the greatest snow on earth”?
  • How can the best places for paragliding and wind surfing be determined?
  • Can clouds be used to estimate winds and stability over nearby mountain peaks?
  • Climate effects on snowpack and water availability in Colorado and the entire western United States.

Course Format

This is a low-resident hybrid course that includes elements of both online learning and lab study:

  • December 23, 2018-January 7, 2019: Online component offered through CU Boulder's student portal, Canvas.
  • January 8-13, 2019: Lab experience component at CU Boulder's new SEEC research campus.

The two-week online course consists of online lectures, homework assignments, quizzes, and exercises. During the one-week lab experience you perform laboratory experiments and data analysis to help you better understand complex processes in mountain meteorology taught in the online course.